Fashion and Art Conference Paper uri icon


  • In this paper I examine two quite polarised views on the relation between fashion and art. On the one hand, Kantian inspired aesthetics has sought to exclude fashion from the realm of art, placing it outside of the purview of philosophical aesthetics. On the other hand, there are those who argue that fashion should be seen as a form of art and seek to apply the philosophical concepts of aesthetics and the methodology of art history to the analysis of fashion. However, as I argue, while this latter approach quite rightly draws attention to the importance of the aesthetic dimension of fashion, its attempt to assimilate fashion to the realm of art is equally as problematic as the endeavour to draw a sharp distinction between them. For it accepts uncritically, the Kantian definition of aesthetics as the disinterested contemplation of form, differing from the latter only insofar as it claims that this can be applied to fashion as well as more traditional art forms such as painting and sculpture. In doing so, it fails to do justice to fashion by treating it as a purely visual form, severing its links with the body and lived experience. As will be proposed, rather than seeking to re-define fashion as art, what needs to be interrogated is the narrow conception of the aesthetic on which its defence as art has been based.

publication date

  • 2010

published in

  • ACUADS 2010 Annual Conference


  • University of Tasmania

presented at

  • ACUADS 2010 Annual Conference, Launceston, Tasmania