Street Inspired Fashion: Graffiti Art by Apparel Search - Terms of Interest to the Fashion Industry

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Graffiti, an art form that was not recognized as "art" until more recent years, has made its mark on the fashion world. From the gritty streets of various cities worldwide to embellishing high-priced Louis Vuitton apparel, graffiti has certainly evolved. Once considered an act of vandalism, graffiti has now been accepted as an art form that is displayed in galleries and art exhibits worldwide.

Apparel Search believes there are a handful of fashion brands that have pioneered the graffiti movement. Among them is Marc Ecko. We all remember when Ecko won a court battle with New York City when he set out to launch a graffiti fest in New York City several years ago. Ecko, who built a successful apparel company that was founded in 1993, began with just six t-shirts and a can of spray paint. His empire now has approximately six brands under its fashion umbrella, and includes a range of fashions from contemporary styles to t-shirts, denim, fleece, and beyond.

Funky retail destination Kidrobot, which was founded by designer Paul Budnitz in 2002, also incorporates graffiti in its design. Budnitz started his first business, M.O.B., while still in college, selling clothing that he co-designed to museum stores worldwide. This business venture soon evolved into collecting, selling, and modifying vintage Levis and other wearable cultural artifacts, such as classic Air Jordans (which Budnitz sold in Japan for as much as $16,000 a pair).

Kidrobot represents a fusion of urban street trends, fashion, and pop art to produce limited edition collectible toys and apparel. Its products are the result of unique collaborations with top international artists from diverse backgrounds, which range from graffiti to fine art, fashion, industrial design, graphic design, illustration, and music. In fact, in 2007 The Museum of Modern Art acquired 13 Kidrobot toys to exhibit in its "Just In: Recent Acquisitions from the Collection" installation.

Renowned graffiti artist Erni Vales of New York City also artfully mixed a bit of creative inspiration with some paint and moved into the fashion category. His fashion resume includes the design of limited-edition handbags for Aleya NY, and will soon include a line of t-shirts that will sell under the Evl brand.

A wide range of artists' work also embellishes t-shirts and hats by MethodsNYC Clothing. Some of the vibrant designs are clearly influenced by the graffiti world while others reflect more of a graphic design sensibility. Apparel Search believes the fashion category will continue to draw inspiration from the world of art whether its graffiti, fine art, or another design aesthetic.

By Regina Cooper

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