Where does inspiration come from? How does inspiration provide the seeds to create something with the potential of greatness? Creative minds exist in almost every industry, otherwise there would be nothing to show for human ingenuity. It is an interesting experience to see how various worlds can come together and merge into one inspiring abyss of imagination. So when the fashion and art worlds combine, inspiration for daily style is a masterpiece in the making. That’s why I looked to the works of some of the most innovative Black artists to create some artistic looks.
Lynette Yiadom-Boakye is a British artist whose work combines the Western expressive techniques of classical portraiture and the idea of the multifaceted nature of blackness. The subdued minimalism of Yiadom-Boakye’s painting inspired this classic ensemble of stripes, loafers and cigarette pants. The main figure’s prominent human qualities make it seem as if they can walk off the canvas and into the real world.
In the language of lines, creatures, characters and messages, British artist Shantell Martin’s stream-of-conscious drawings make for a light-hearted visual experience. In the simplicity of her use of black ink and white surfaces, it is easy to find street style influences. The relaxed cool of her art easily translates into a pair of distressed denim, graphic tee and high tops.
One of the most innovative American artists of the 20th century, Basquiat merged the styles of street graffiti with the classic techniques of cubism and surrealism. His work was not only eye-catching, but also contained provocative social commentary that forced the mind to see the messages beyond the image. The rugged maximalism and layered technique of his crown piece inspired an outfit that takes the same effect. The sweater vest layered on top of a flowy blouse, ankle boots and skort reminiscent of the shape of the crown are all inspired by the Basquiat artistry.
Up-and-coming mixed media artist from Trinidad and Tobago, Brianna McCarthy’s, work vividly addresses issues of beauty, stereotypes, and representation. She creatively uses mask imagery to evoke the ethereal beauty of her subjects. The layered technique of her artistry inspired this look that reflects mixed textures and shapes. The outfit follows the three-tiered dimension of the drawing. The ruffled gray top plays into the multidimensional gray of the figure’s face. The bright yellow cut-out pants reflect the pattern of the floral-esque shapes that decorate the figure’s neck. Following the line of the drawing, the platform brogues are reminiscent of the black and white pattern forming the shoulders of the subject.
As the mastermind behind The Great Migration Series, Jacob Lawrence Inspired by the daily experiences of African Americans in the early-mid 20th century, Lawrence had a special talent of depicting the shapes and textures of the city spaces that Blacks occupied. His “dynamic cubism” style expresses so many emotions that capture the sentiment of such a critical time in American history. The hues of his color-blocked city scape in this piece inspired an urban chic look. The structure of the vest complements the abstract print of the pants and references the geometric structure of the city block. This cropped sweater is a great layering piece to the vest which also plays a tongue-in-cheek reference to the city in the statement of “You Are Here”. The urban chic look would be incomplete without a pair of healed ankle boots.
Charity Gates, Digital Content Director