Fashion and social culture will always be interdependent spheres. Our clothing and jewellery offers us a platform, not only for self-expression, but to comment on political, social or economic issues. In 2017, Tommy Hilfiger adorned his models with white bandannas to promote inclusion and unity during a time of political unrest. At the 2018 Golden Globes, women wore black as a statement of solidarity with the #MeToo movement. Vetements’ AW19 Menswear collection reflected on the dark web and the sinister underbelly of the Internet that cryptocurrency warrants. Designers make active efforts to create these dialogues so that the industry may feel motivated to tackle modern inequalities.
This process can also be viewed in reverse. Fashion influences. But fashion is always influenced. Yes, fashion has the power to discuss radical or taboo concepts. But fashion is also a blank canvas by which social trends are absorbed and showcased. Social media is a prime example. Victor & Rolf’s Spring 2019 Couture show - featuring slogans such as ‘sorry I’m late I didn’t wanna come’ - reflects today’s technological ennui which unfortunately inspires social disconnect and disparity. However, it’s not all cynicism and suspicion. Art has always been one of fashion’s most powerful influences. When art and fashion collide, it truly is a spectacle to behold.
Collaborations between artists and fashion designers date back to the early twentieth century. Salvador Dali was commissioned to create a lobster dress for Italian fashion designer Elsa Schiaparelli. Dali also created a number of jewellery pieces for the fashion house in his typical surrealist style. Piet Mondrian’s powerful influence remained long after his death. In 1965, Yves Saint Laurent released the Fall Mondrian Collection featuring six cocktail dresses printed with Mondrian’s art. And who could forget Versace’s 1991 homage to Andy Warhol? High fashion can become synonymous with high art, and the fusion of the two is often sublime. Yet, in the typical manner of rebellion, there is always a gritty and uncensored force that resides in the shadows of elitist spheres. For high art, this is street art.
Imagine what’s concealed within the layers of paint you see on buildings, roadsides, club toilets. Temporary by nature, yet profound in import, urban art remains an insightful source of inspiration in fashion and social culture. Living in Bristol, street art is a significant aspect of the urban culture here. Not only does it enhance and unify the community. But every day, one has the pleasure of being faced with a provoking and alluring piece of art. Many jewellery designers seek inspiration in the city. The architecture, the lights, the people - urban landscapes harbour an array of objects to be inspired by. @inspiringcity offers a visual feast of the UK’s best street art. To celebrate this beautiful medium of artistic expression, discover my curation of jewellery inspired by some of the greatest street art of today.
From concrete jungles to glass houses. The city is full of texture. Street art is all about the relationship between the the city and its people. The city becomes the canvas. Whether brick, wood, metal, once the paint hits the surface, that texture is transformed. This Blackburn wall captured by @inspiringcity playfully distorts our perception of urban textures. Mimicking ripped paper, artist @addfuel creates a beautiful mural of tiled delight. The patterned blue facade of the tiles blends beautifully with the serene sky. This shows how street art can often work with nature to form sights of beauty such as these. Inspired by this piece, I have chosen Murkani’s Moroccan Silver Bangle. The jewellery designer sought inspiration in Moroccan architecture and the renowned tiled designs found in the city.
Glance to the past
The Renaissance was the golden age of art for many. In this evocative piece found in Bedminster, artist @pietrodriguez revitalises classical art on a wooden entryway. Whilst the subject is a sculpture, so much emotion and movement is captured within this artwork. Placing a visibly Renaissance aesthetic in a modern context creates a piece one cannot pass by without observing. Inspired by Piet Rodriguez’s transformation of a 14th century artwork, I have chosen Vintouch Italy’s Cherubino Flautist Cameo Necklace. The designer shares Rodriguez’s passion for classical art and imagery. Imbue the present with the delicate touch of the past with this unique and elegant piece.
Words, words, words
They say actions speak louder than words… but words equally have the power to stop you in your tracks. The genius of Banksy arguable lies in the pithy and provocative lines painted alongside his artwork. Jean Michel Basquiat started as a graffiti artist. Under the name SAMO, he would pepper the streets of New York with short and poignant poetry. With street art, words can powerfully enhance the visual. Or, on an aesthetic level, typography alone can command attention. This picture captured by @inspiringcity features the name of a nail salon in Shoreditch. This area is a great place to walk and peruse renowned street art within the nooks and crannies of the east end. Vera Vega’s slogan necklace (dritkul - meaning ‘super cool’ in Norwegian) similarly slows how a simple typeface can create an alluring aesthetic. Plus, the word ‘dritkul’ just has a nice ring to it, right?
The eyes are the windows to the soul… perhaps this is why eyes make such striking street art. The gaze of street art eyes can be chilling, comforting, reflective. There is something so personal about this piece by @mydogsighs. Renowned for the captivating eyes he creates, the artist is able to pack endless emotion into each gaze. The vivid blue colour invigorates the artwork against its blanched surroundings. Inspired by this sensual piece, I have chosen the Eye Necklace with Tsavorites by Maria Kovadi Fine Jewellery. Like all great artists, Maria Kovadi seeks inspiration in emotion, relationships, and interactions. Like @mydogsighs eye, this penetrating stare of the necklace is both playful and provoking.
The darker side
ROA was one of the first street artists I was ever acquainted with. His dark and gritty subject matter intrigued me as a young girl. It was amazing to me that even rats and beasts could be beautiful in an unconventional way. ROA is a huge name within street art culture. People seem drawn to dark, uncanny and mythical beings. If, you too like to seek inspiration in the darker side of life, then Russell Lownsbrough’s Swanmaid Brooch is the piece for you. The designer takes Anglo-Saxon influences and crafts them into beautiful and intriguing jewellery. Adorned with freshwater pearls, one can imagine this brooch as the dark co-creation of Botticelli’s Birth of Venus.
If you're not yet inspired with my jewellery street art picks, discover your own urban style in our incredible range of jewellery. Every designer on JewelStreet is independent. Support their brand and their artistic creations today!