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Appropriation by Richard Prince and Shane Bradford and the topic of plagiarism in fashion.

The Age of Appropriation

Last week, at a lecture in which David Wolfe, creative director of The Doneger Group, spoke about Spring 2009 trends, he began with the topic of appropriation. Nothing new can come of fashion, he warned us, and consequentially appropriation will be a great battle in the years to come. Also touched upon, was Wolfe's articulation that one of the most interesting ways for designers to find newness is to look to art and architecture for inspiration. There, he said, newness is abundant.


A parallel story, in this narrative of appropriation, are artists like Richard Prince (who recently collaborated with Marc Jacobs, a designer not free of appropriation scrutiny) who recycles cultural material to make his own (even if it simply involves enlargement). Prince is not alone, that is, hundreds of Parson's and Chelsea College graduates are investing in their pop-saturated upbringing in this way (Parson's is also notorious for lecturing it's fashion students on the impossibility of newness, and the delicacies of fashion plagiarism), by openly sampling images or media to use as the basis of their work. The trick, it seems, is appropriating content from another medium.


Today we discovered another young artist in the Prince/Warhol gamut, Shane Bradford, pointed to us by our London-based Coutorture partner, StyleBubble. Bradford gives us more evidence of the entwining concept of property in art, where if only designers appropriated art (and not other designs), they'd be off the hook.

Vogue, British edition March 2003, Nick Knight, model: Natasha Vojnovic

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