Architecture and Fashion

Recently I visited Dover Street Market where the work of fashion designers such as Kei Ninomiya of Comme des Garcons can be seen borrowing from architectural language as a means to express structure, volume, and proportion and I was reminded of how many correlations can be made between the disciplines of architecture and fashion.


 
 Image: Design by Kei Ninomiya/Comme des Garcons

 Image: Design by Kei Ninomiya/Comme des Garcons

 Image: Li Xiaodong Atelier

 Image: Li Xiaodong Atelier

 

Both architecture and fashion must address human scale while also emphasizing identity and aspirations through form and materiality. However, some argue that fashion is far too temperamental and fleeting while architecture is far too stable and respectable for the two to be compared.

Sketches by Carmen Potter and Design by Kei Ninomiya.jpg

I believe both can be quite cyclical in their relevance. Both are inherently grounded and necessary in the present and equally dependent on traditions, context, and environments. Both have become increasingly dependent on technology to become more fluid. And in my opinion, neither has to be cutting edge for one to appreciate the similarities between the two and those similarities are not limited to what is seen as the end result. However, first, it all has to be planned, measured, drawn, and put together.


Getting to the finished product is a process that designers on both sides can relate to. One important part of this process for both architects and fashion designers to consider is whether or not to use honesty in construction and visible details. The decision to take this approach lies in what the designer finds valuable and can also be influenced by many other outside factors.  Designers Amy Revier and Carlos Scarpa are examples of those who have decided to take such an approach.


 
Detail by Carlos Scarpa

Detail by Carlos Scarpa

Image: Design by Amy Revier

Image: Design by Amy Revier

 

While the observations detailed here are not new, they are ones I like to consider given my interest in multidisciplinary design and the creative processes of designers outside of the field of architecture.  

Carmen Potter, Senior Designer