Sunday, May 17, 2009

Off the Walls and Onto Your Clothing

The organization that I am a part of, Bridge (the Pilipino Outreach and Retention Program) does a weekly mentorship program for high school students. We put on different workshops for them and we recently did one on expression through different forms of art. One of the mediums we talked about was graffiti. Graffiti was most often associated with territorial markers and vandalism, but we looked at it as a form of expression and as an outlet to convey a message. The image to the right, for example, illustrates how graffiti can be used as a form of protest and social commentary.

However, graffiti has gone beyond the walls and subways. You can now find it on clothing. You will not just see it on streetwear designs; these graffiti adorned pieces can be found on Louis Vuitton designs. In an article by the Los Angeles Times, Booth Moore describes Louis Vuitton’s graffiti-inspired pieces. Nine years ago, artist, Stephen Sprouse’s “original Monogram Graffiti purses became ironic icons by ‘defacing’ the Louis Vuitton logo for the first time.” I found this very interesting because Louis Vuitton, which is considered to be very high-class borrowed from an art form associated with a lower class. In Fashion-ology, Yuniya Kawamura states, "When low-standing individuals began to borrow high-standing status markers, high standing individuals were forced to move on to new status markers" (Kawamura 96). However, Louis Vuitton's new line illustrates how high-standing individuals borrowed from lower class status markers. This shows that even street art can influence fashion and not only the upper class can dictate what is considered fashionable.

Graffiti can be used to transform your own clothing. Stenciling and painting on t-shirts is a way to take your regular old piece of clothing and turn it into something new. The clothes can be your own personal statement and a reflection of a message you want to convey. You don't have to use spray paint because it is harmful to the environment, you can just stick to fabric paint and get similar effects. Here is a video on stenciling, if you're interested:

By: Melaniy Santa Ana
Blog #3

-LA Times:,0,4073809.story
-Fashionology by Yuniya Kawamura
-Picture 1:
-Picture 2:

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