Fashion as public art: Strengthening communities through site-specific fashion collections

by Henry Navarro Delgado


Fashion design and public art can be perceived to inhabit almost opposite realms, yet both practices engage audiences in the social domain. Through the completion of three site-specific projects, I have found that combining both disciplines makes for a uniquely effective way to empower and strengthen communities. To wit, my most recent sited fashion project brought together the African American and Caucasian communities of Cincinnati, Ohio, transforming the city into a space for cultural discourse. The success of these in situ fashion projects underlines the advantages of such work over other forms of public art, as audiences normally intimidated by contemporary art become willing participants in fashion-based undertakings. This article introduces the concept of site-specific collections, explains the peculiarities of fashion-based public-art practice, and defines their objectives, features and theoretical framework.

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Henry Navarro Delgado



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Aesthetic Labor, Art history, Clothing and Adornment, Exhibitions

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