Global Studio / Thesis

Elizabeth Gordon Thesis Statement

Elizabeth Gordon

Global Now Studio Thesis


Every artist faces the question: Design to sell or design to express your vision? Through my studio work at Parsons I have struggled to find a happy medium to this ever-present dilemma. As a fashion design major, the basis of the art is products to sell. The fashion industry would not exist if it relied on the avant-garde designers making wearable art. It is the company that designs for the everyday woman, which is the most successful and carries the industry. The latest assignment was to design for Banana Republic, one of the most classic American companies designing for an average woman. This posed a great challenge, as it was a lower end market. This project was all about the salability of clothes and much less about high quality details and innovative design. I struggled in finding a balance between my aesthetic and Banana Republic’s look. I began catering more to the Banana Republic style than my own. According to David Harvey and Arjun Apparadurai, Americans cannot help themselves but to want to make everything a commodity. I fell into this trap in this work as I was sacrificing myself to try to sell a product. Being completely innovative and having a free imagination is what most artist desire. Anne Balsamo refers to the “technological imagination” and says we should “transform what we know into what is possible.” Although being creative is so important in fashion design, looking at the work of others is also important. If everyone used the type of “imagination” Balsamo describes, there would be no trends in fashion. Designers must work together and steal from each other in order to keep the entire industry successful. Steven Johnson explains the need for feedback and connectivity in Emergence. Being an artist in this day in age is difficult; with new software anyone can be a designer. In order to keep the handmade aspect of clothing designers must work together and find a balance between designing art and designing a commodity. 


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