The 'tiny' handbag: statement or art?

Jo Bloodworth, lecturer in Fashion & Textiles, considers the latest catwalk trend.

"Sometimes what can appear completely impractical can make the biggest statement and set a trend. The Jacquemus Mini Le Chiquito 'tiny' handbag  is a statement. It’s more of an extension of the artist and a projection of ideas."

A place for the artist/designer to experiment. Consider that  the catwalk is an art gallery and the collections an extension of the artist. Fashion can be used as a vehicle to cause discourse and discussion and create a little chaos and there are many designers that do this. Because of the media frenzy around the ‘tiny’ bag we may see it being picked up across different market levels and interpretations of this in the form of necklaces, keychains or simply smaller bags as opposed to oversized.

It is important to look at Fashion as an art form as well as something to follow, so we are ok to question it and be playful with how we wear it too. As with art it is open to interpretation and tongue in cheek but more importantly it is a vehicle to address real social issues. Designers that make statements, push boundaries and experiment through their work (Katherine Hamnett, Mcqueen, Viviene Westwood etc). Graduate fashion week in London showcases up and coming designers who are testing the waters, being playful and developing new techniques. This does not necessarily mean we will see it all on the high street but just an element.

Not all pieces we see on the catwalk would or could be produced on a mass level as would need refining and the clothing we see on the high street is generally around practicality and the way people live. The industry tends to follow trends, particularly on the high street but there are always factors, news and issues that add to this. We see cycles of things once worn by our parents or grandparents as well (90s at the moment).

You only have to look at Victor and Rolfs latest collection that has been all over the internet and fashion magazines with messaging on oversized layered tulle dresses. We will more than likely see some similar messages on T-shirt or tulle used in high street collections.  We tend to see a fast response from catwalk to high street now as fast fashion/production turns over much quicker than 20 years ago. This allows for quick responses while we are all talking about the latest statements/shocks from the catwalk, somewhere someone has sent an image and developed something that feeds this interest for their customer/market level.

One of the interesting parts of our course is when we start to see our students develop ideas from an artistic statement to a product someone wants to wear. This is part of design.

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