Minimalism Architecture and Fashion
“Fashion is not exclusively for fashion designers only, and architecture is not only for architects.” This is a phrase that demonstrates that the two disciplines are interrelated. In spite of fashion being totally different from architecture, it is apparent that the two have substantial connections. Indeed, each of these elements seems to rely on the other, demonstrating a symbiotic relationship. As it is commonly known, designers enjoy using elements borrowed from people’s lifestyles. For this reason, minimalism has developed into an exceptionally important element among designers thereby raising their interests in integrating various traits of minimalism architecture to design. Therefore, this essay will be assessing the link between fashion and minimalism architecture while also exploring the influences of minimalism architecture on fashion and vice versa.
History of Minimalism and Fashion
Although fashion and minimalism started many years ago, their relationship started during the early periods of the 1960s (Walker 9). The relationship between the two phenomena began in the 1960s, when materials were used for both sheltering and clothing. Since then, the relation has continued developing over the years into a vast area of fashion. The 1960s and 1970s have been considered as the media age among many scholars when there was media mass production and speedy consumption, among other areas. Indeed, the 60s comprised of the age when rapid technological developments occurred. Fashion among the young people took a new direction during the 60s such that young women adopted the mini skirts thus making it the most popular dressing during the period. The older periods affected the styles of the 60s such as Art deco, Victorian and Art Nouveau. Following the blending of such arts, designers developed modern fashion for that era. Along with such new influences, modernism developed and matured based on the early period of the 20th century. Similarly, town centre transformed during the 60s while the cities damaged by bombs were occupied by the prevailing future vision.
Link between Minimalism Architecture and Fashion
Over the centuries, technological changes have played a key role in transforming people’s lifestyles. As a result, most areas of people’s lives have been influenced in diverse ways. Links between minimalism architecture and fashion especially has been growing stronger every day. The two disciplines are strongly related such that fashion has not been entirely for fashion designers and neither is architecture for architects only. Both employ style in representing attitude, feelings and time character. Interior designs, for instance, normally reflects brand image while also connecting consumers to the brand. From the history, designers acknowledge what fashion and architecture symbolize across populations starting from the ancient Greeks to the Egyptians as well as during the periods of the first and second world wars. Indeed, it is true to state that both fashion and minimalism architecture influences one another. In other words, minimalism architecture helps in developing fashion designs while fashion helps in developing minimalism architecture as well (Dimant 12).
Architects frequently adopt techniques and strategies applied in dressmaking including printing, pleating, wearing, and draping. Alternatively, fashion designers apply ideas from architects related to engineering or building thereby following their structure and volume ideas. From an imagery and visual perspective, fashion and architecture have numerous things in common linked to digital methods and material. Such may include pliable building materials, high technology textiles and software for computer assisted designs amongst many other programs that are commonly applied in architecture and fashion (Dimant 11).
Similarly, fashion and architecture influence furniture graphics, interior designs, as well as artwork. In this case, every form of a design is for a reason in assisting consumers in their choices thus serving as a connection between consumers and designers. Indeed, the two disciplines express ideas associated with personal, cultural and social identity. As such, they reflect users’ concerns as well as age ambition. Fashion and architecture, therefore, have a symbiotic relationship in that historical trends demonstrate that buildings and clothing echo one another in both form and appearance (Duncan 1). The two elements share the core function of availing protection and shelter for the body as well as create volume and space from flat, 2-dimensional materials. Besides such shared similarities, fashion and architecture also have basic differences. For example, both tackle issues of human scale yet the sizes, proportions and shapes vary immensely. Similarly, while fashion naturally is short-lived, architecture conventionally holds a strong, monumental and a lasting presence.
History of the Minimalism Architecture
Minimalism movement emerged during the early periods of the 1960s and stopped during the late 1960s. Nonetheless, the minimalism idea had already started by the time of the Second World War. The war triggered people to try and make all things simpler than before. Moreover, this was demonstrated in Hitler’s buildings that were strict and dark demonstrating the dictatorship power. This was also connected to his uniform that had dark and strict color illustrating his strictness and power. The term ‘minimalism’ formerly developed in the 1960s during the period when an artists’ group rejected the conventional representations in sculpture and painting opting to pursue another mode that had very limited affiliations to an existing object (Walker 9).
Modern minimalist fashion is greatly indebted to the 1920s and 1960s visual culture of avant-garde. During this era, clean streamlined shapes were crucial and were linked to today’s geometric paintings related to the art of Kasimic Malevich. All such are related to the architecture of Le Corbusier, who designed spheres, cubes, pyramids and cylinders. Similarly, the iron grid façade of the PanAm building mechanistic re-appeared in fashion permanently changing the face of fashion. The 20s and 60s watershed styles including Chanel’s unfussy black dress, Cardin’s and Courreges’s pared-down, futuristic shifts folded the current artistic values comprising of simplicity, progress and sleekness into the easy dressing vocabulary, which would later define modern fashionability. Although minimalism can exist in various forms including the primitive art’s juxtaposed shapes plus the 1920s Art Moderne’s sleek lines, it is frequently understood via modernity. All the Italian, Bauhaus and Dadaism futurism have made contributions towards the view of minimalism (Dimant 9).
In 2008, the popular company Calvin Klein operated the ready-to-wear collection that demonstrated the influence of structural design on fashion designs. The company operates as the most prominent brand that has a high level of minimalism in their designs. Its collection was dominated by the clean and sharp lines that were majorly founded on black and gray hues. This company developed the popular runaway show, Calvin Klein’s Read-to-Wear. The show demonstrated the simplest structure and color of clothes. All the cloths had sharp and clean lines in addition to the clear edges influenced by the minimalism architecture (O’Flaherty 1). Viktor and Rolf was another huge firm that had two fashion designers and demonstrated the gray and black colors on their collection dominating the Fall/Winter season. Models representing their fashion show walked through the runaway wearing stark minimalism looks. Further, the models’ boots showed strong architectural influences that were innovative and advanced. On their pants, there were pleats that further illustrated another fashion style that was embellished with the metallic accents. All such fashion designs were founded on the clear world of minimalism architecture.
The Technique and Minimalism Fashion Design’s Great Moments
The design of minimalist suffers great influences from the Japanese traditional architecture and design. The design stresses more on the elegance and simplicity of shapes. Japanese fashion designers regard black as a highly essential element within minimalism designs (O’Flaherty 1). In fact, people living around Yamamoto believe that black color is the only brilliant color. Architectural work stresses more on the idea of simplicity and pays more attention to the intrinsic feeling instead of appearance. In efforts to express the notion of simplicity, his architectural work is often built with concrete. In 2012, Miuccia Prada developed a fashion show that was founded on the traditional Japanese Architecture and style (Walker 1). The architect used this idea to demonstrate how modernity can be incorporated in cultural references. The black-colored runaway was made up in a square form, with squared-off columns. Indeed, Prada extends beyond a fashion house to include a whole cultural and design outlook.
Japanese designers similarly believe that ‘Less is more’. In this case, they try applying less designs and colors to illustrate more meanings. On the other hand, rather than focusing on the pattern and texture of clothes, the designers stress more on the sculpture and volume of clothes. This is equivalent to what happens in architecture. The Japanese perceive that it is more rewarding to make designs that have a shorter process but more functional. ‘Less is more’ was a major statement that was normally used by Mies Val Der-Rohe in expressing his thoughts and ideas. It is a phrase under which Der Rohe operated throughout his life time. The buildings developed by this individual represent the ideal blend of minimalist phrase of function and form related to aesthetics as well as practicality with every element operating in numerous guises whereby the floor acts as the radiator while the window serves as the wall (Walker 15).
Numerous popular brands demonstrate a similar value in minimalism, with many brands highly inspired by minimalism architecture. For instance, in Resort 2015, Chloe got inspired by a popular French minimalism architecture, Villa Savoye. Designers transformed Villa Savoye’s sculpture into simple lines, adding them to the garments (Walker 1). Besides contemplating on its aesthetics, Waight Keller (Chloe’s designer) also contemplated on the strong link between such aesthetics and the real interior and external designs done on the house. Others such designers include Jill Sander and Georgio Armani that are constantly professional and simple.
The discussion above has shown that fashion and minimalism architecture are increasingly vital elements in the modern society. Many similarities exist between fashion and minimalism architecture. In spite of their differences, the two disciplines have been influencing one another for improvement purposes. Therefore, both phenomena should be studied more and more.
Dimant, Elyssa. Minimalism and Fashion: Reduction in the Postmodern Era. Harper Design Publishers, 2010.
Duncan, Fiona. “15Moments in Minimalist Fashion History.” Bullett. May, 20, 2014. Accessed on May 5, 2015. http://bullettmedia.com/editorial/14-moments-in-minimalist-fashion-history/
O’Flaherty, Mark. “Japanese Minimalism Set to Reshape Fashion Once Again.” The Guardian. January, 7, 2011. Accessed on May 5, 2015. http://www.theguardian.com/lifeandstyle/2011/jan/07/japanese-minimalism-fashion-design
Walker, Harriet. “Less is More: The New Minimalism.” Independent UK. March, 13, 2011. Accessed on May 5, 2015. http://www.independent.co.uk/life-style/fashion/features/less-is-more-the-new-minimalism-2236966.html
Walker, Harriet. Less is More: Minimalism in Fashion. London: Merrell Publishers Limited, 2011.