Order Now

American Pop Art Influence on Fashion

Pop art is an art style of the 20th century, which appealed to the material realities of everyday life, popular culture (hence, actually it’s the word pop).

Pop Art movement emerged in England in the mid 1950’s and in the United States – in the late 50’s. Artists wanted to challenge the traditional art, believing that the use of visual elements of media could also be considered as art. Pop art derived from the majority of the visual pleasures of people, such as TV, magazines and comics.

In this paper it is necessary to consider the history of pop-art culture, its main characteristics, main representatives and trends. Next it is important to speak about the influence of pop art culture on fashion.

The history of pop art

After the World War II in America was formed a large social stratum of people, who earned enough money to buy goods that were not particularly important. For example the use of such products as Coca cola or Levi’s jeans has become an important attribute of that society. A person using one or the other product showed his affiliation with a particular social group – thus was formed a popular culture, in which things became symbols, stereotypes. In Pop art stereotypes and symbols play the main role.

Pop Art as a movement was formed in England in the mid 1950’s and in the United States – in the late 50’s. Pop art artists wanted to challenge the traditional art of assuming that artists use visual elements of the media can also be considered art. The emergence of Pop Art coincided with the appearance of the phenomenon of pop music of 50’s and 60’s, and was very like the spirit of swing, fashionable coterie of London and America of that time. (Madoff 1997)

Popular Art (or “pop art” as it is called), embodied the creative search of new Americans, who relied on the creative principles of Duchamp. They are: Jasper Johns, C. Oldenburg, Andy Warhol, and others. Pop Art got the value of mass culture, so it is not surprising that it was formed and became the main trend in America. Their associates: Gamelton P, Hue, China as an authority chose Kurt Shviters. (Madoff 1997)
In most cases pop-art interacts with objects drawn from popular mass culture and everyday life. Pop art is a kind of a reaction to abstract impressionism, which by definition was considered to belong to certain elite culture. Pop art deliberately emphasizes the banal elements of any culture, but does this with humor. The main colors used in the pop art works are yellow, red and bright blue. Famous pop art painter Roy Lichtenstein developed a unique style: black outlines, bold colors and shades, as well as the characteristic halftone pattern of dots. Pop artists were fond of making fun of the widespread enthusiasm for mass consumption goods and to bring this trend to their works to the absurd, satirical sizes. (Doris 2007)

Pop art had a peculiar product – the illusion of the game, explaining the essence of an object. Example can be “Floor cake” or “Hamburger” by C. Oldenburg, depicted in different variants.

An artist tried not just depict the pie, but made the illusion, to make audience see the real thing.
It is important to speak about J. Jones, one of the first artists to use for his picture “Flag” the state symbols. It accurately depicts the U.S. flag and nothing more. Later he created the work “Three Flags” where he images three flags USA, located one on another. That are also typical pop-art works, characterized by their simplicity, bright colors and impressive (Hopkins 2000)

Jasper Jones: “Flag” (MoMA – New York)
It is important to mention the works of well-known A. Warhol, who is considered among the “fathers” of pop art. In his works he used numerous images of tin bottles of COCA COLA, portraits of Elvis Presley and other artists. Thus, he drew attention to the formed stereotypes and symbols. In his works he uses such symbol of democracy as Coca cola, or picture of M. Monroe as a symbol of sexuality and beauty. Such work made in pop art style were interesting and understandable to people, although many Pop Art works are on the verge of absurd and irony.

Sure, the name of Andy Warhol embodies the Pop Art movement. His famous painting of Marilyn Monroe has become an icon of pop art. Warhol was obsessed with fame and glamour of Hollywood, so in his paintings he showed mainly the stars of cinema and music, whom he believed to be products of mass production. In his works Warhol used photographic silkscreen technique, which creates a large number of print, like made by him portraits of Mick Jagger, ElvisPresley, Marilyn Monroe and Jacqueline Kennedy.

It is clear that critics spoke of that art in different ways, some people said about the degeneration of art or, at worst, an updated form of naturalism, while others spoke of a new stage in the development of art, calling the pop-art “new realism” or “super-realism”. Many art critics pointed at the International Aesthetic Congresses “deprofessionalization” of many contemporary artists. Democracy pop art critics noted that the viewer can become the hero of the work, when he comes inside of it, sits down on it, or sees his reflection in the mirror, that is involved in the game of pop art works. (Madoff 1997)

Pop art must be taken as a reality and it is necessary to point the ingenuity of the creators of the works of contemporary art, as for their works artists used new advances in science and technology. Art pop art was also closely connected with the art of commercial advertising, which has become an integral part of American life. Advertising brightly and busily promoted certain commodity standards. As in advertising, the main subjects of pop art became cars, refrigerators, vacuum cleaners, hair dryers, hot dogs, ice cream, cakes, mannequins, etc. Some well-known artists helped brands to sell merchandise, for example when the idol of industrialists became Andy Warhol, who raised the image of goods to the level of icons. To create his paintings Warhol used cans of Coke bottle, banknotes, etc.

Undoubtedly, popular art influenced other areas of culture and life of the society: the design, architecture, fashion. The main idea of pop art are used by contemporary designers and artists: very often you can find really creative illustrations, prints and posters with the characteristic of bitmaps, rich colors, with a series of images with faces of famous people, household goods and appliances. Pop art and its vibrant colors are certainly in demand in the production of postcards, t-shirts, badges, calendars, posters. Due to the characteristic bright palette of colors and print definition form, pop-art style is widely used in decoration of jewelry and accessories, as well as various articles of clothing in the form of prints.

Speaking about the impact of pop-art art on fashion, it must be said about Andy Warhol, who loved fashion and liked to draw it, doing it long before the era of pop art. In the 1950-s he worked as a commercial illustrator for magazines Glamour and Mademoiselle, as well as for the New York department store Neiman Marcus and shoe company I. Miller. That were harmless humorous sketches in the technique similar to ink blots. Warhol liked to paint women’s shoes and wrote funny rhymed captions in English: “Look at this shoe, put it on, and the day will be successful” – something like that. In a creative sense the fiftieth were, perhaps, the most romantic period in the life of Warhol, when he was as romantic, as the very fashion of that time, just beginning to move from elitism to mass production. (Doonan 2004)

Style pop-art was an absolute hit in 1960-s. The effect of pop art was based on the lighting effects of bright colors and the contrast of black and white. Works by pop-art artists often provoked dizzy in the audience because of subtle changes in color and black and white contrast. At the heart of bright, catchy pop-art patterns became distorted geometric shapes. Clothes were characterized by simplicity of cut, which was complemented by black and white spirals or curved stripes, stylized circles or rectangles. (Mackrell 2005)

In the 1960’s there was a real cult of synthetic and artificial , synthetic fabrics were widely used in popular fashion: they seemed most comfortable and practical (easy to wash and clean), and were cheap. Names of new material sounded like music: PVC, plastic, tinsel, aluminum foil, vinyl, Crimple, nylon, lycra for stretch underwear, swimwear and sportswear, lingerie to terylene, acrylic, orlon, polyester. In the U.S. woven fabrics of synthetic fibers produced firm Du Pont, in the UK the company “Courtalain.” Du Pont also offered a substitute for leather shoes – Corfu. (Mackrell 2005)

Passion for the development of new materials has led to experimentation with paper and even paper dresses. In 1966 – 1968 years. U.S. firm «Scott Paper Company» produced paper dresses with prints, which cost $ 1, 25. For the six months was sold half a million of that”disposable” clothing. They were sold in special boutiques, and the first was called “boutique of paper waste.” Fashion of 1960 preferred artificial materials in everything: artificial eyelashes and streaks (wigs and hairpieces), costume jewelry, which was much more popular than jewels. It was pop art and visual simplicity that influenced the design of accessories.

The motifs of pop art were used in fashion 60’s by famous couturier I. Saint Laurent, who was known for bright experiments with styles. With a brilliant gift of styling, he could turn into a modern garment virtually any creative picture or work. For example, in the collection of fall / winter 1966-1967 there were dresses in “pop art” style: knitted cloth with enormous applications in the form of lips, hearts, women’s profiles and body outlines. Their bright colors reminded acrylic paintings by artists of pop art as the most fashionable trends in the art of 1960, and the motives of applications were similar to the surreal models of E. Schiaparelli. (Breward 2003) м

The most iconic example of art meeting fashion in the1960s isYves Saint Laurent’s “Mondrian shift dress”

Yves Saint Laurent’s Mondrian Shift Dress

And while the indirect influence of Warhol on fashion of 1960-70-s is undoubted , also there is no doubt that he still affects it directly. He affects many of his friends, contemporaries, such as Diane von Furstenberg, who in released the cruise collections based on his paintings. As reported by the French ELLE, the new collection were presented dresses and tops, made in the style of Andy Warhol. Radical colors and prints were the main keynotes in the collection, with models combined femininity and vibrant sexuality, because Warhol was one of the symbols of the sexual revolution of the sixties. (Mackrell 2005; Breward 2003)

Also works of one of the most famous representatives of the pop art Andy Warhol are highly appreciated by fashionable brands, who are inspired by his art style to create new accessories . Among these brands can be called Urban Outfitters and Loop NYC, which use pictures from Warhol paintings for their accessories design . Loop NYC brand created a bag using the famous image of a banana from one of the works of pop artists, and even a bag in the shape of the banana itself. It is also necessary to admit that designers have fully retained the coloring of the picture on the bag.

Now it is possible to speak about the second era of pop art in fashion. This art is translated from the canvas to the clothes: there are a lot of T-shirts, mini-dresses with pictures of pop art. Examples of these prints are applications in the form of hearts, butterflies, lips, and various fruits and berries. It is important that the colors are bright and saturated, as the main idea is not to go unnoticed. Popular are also photos on t-shirts in several color variations, advertising, comics, psychedelic and exotic prints; such tops and dresses are worn with leggings, leather pants, colored tights, a light summer boots and sandals. Thus, the clothes in the style of pop art 60’s are mini-skirts, mini dresses, colored tights, tights with patterns, including geometric. Of the relevant accessories can be called plastic earrings, bracelets, necklaces, hair ornaments catchy colors, rims, barrettes, headbands. The style icon of 60’s remain a famous model Twiggy and Andy Warhol’s muse, the incomparable Edie Sedgwick. (Mackrell 2005)

Today pop art is still popular, and its influence can be seen in modern design, architechture and fashion. According to Jeff Jaffe, the co-owner of the International Gallery of Pop Art in New York, the pop art movement today is stronger than ever. A set of contemporary artists working in pop art style, such as Clemens Brills, James Rizzi, Romero Britto, Steve Kaufman – they all achieved success today in terms of competition. Art has always expressed ideas and mood of the society, but if the pop-art 50’s grew from the chaos of consumer advertising, television, comic books and fashion, now the story did turn, but pop art came back in a little more structured form.

Pop Art also had a huge influence on fashion, especially in the 1960s. The works, prints of Pop artists, such as Andy Warhol, were put on the clothing. Andy Warhol had no doubts the most influence on American pop culture and impacted the fashion trends all over the world. Bright colors of Andy Warhol’s style had an extreme interest in 1960-s, and are also prevalent in the fashion choices of today’s youth. Fashion is one of the influence that Andy Warhol has had on today’s generation. (Doonan 2004)
Works cited:

Breward k. Fashion (Oxford History of Art). USA Oxford University Press, 2003
Cunningham, Patricia A., and Susan Voso. Lab. Dress and Popular Culture. Bowling Green, OH: Bowling Green State University Popular, 1991. Print.
Doonan, Simon, and Andy Warhol. Andy Warhol: Fashion. London: Thames & Hudson, 2004. Print.
Doris, Sara. Pop Art and the Contest over American Culture. Cambridge: Cambridge UP, 2007. Print.
Hopkins D. After Modern Art 1945-2000 (Oxford History of Art). USA: Oxford University Press, 2000 . Print
Mackrell, Alice. Art and Fashion. London: Batsford, 2004. Print.
Mackrell, Alice. “Art and Fashion: The Impact of Art on Fashion and Fashion on Art”. Batsford 2005
Madoff, Steven H. Pop Art: A Critical History. University of California Press, 1997.