Tuesday, 23 March 2010

Keiron Vine - Animals in Fashion

Recently we came to the end of Autumn/Winter 10/11 Fashion Week in Paris, and it is perhaps appropriate that the work of Illustrator Keiron Vine is discussed on faceCULTURE.  Masks in fashion became particularly pertinent in the sixteenth century where they were used as a means of ‘protecting beauty’, that is protecting the face and make up from wind, sun and dust.  In France, this mask was called the loup meaning ‘wolf’ because it had a tendency to frighten children.  There was also a political advantage in wearing a mask, to be able to mingle and make a statement without fear of recognition and subsequent retribution.  Within the masks worn by Mexican wrestlers there still remains a political motivation as the mask chosen by each fighter represents a famous character according to the fashion of the moment.  This freedom to make a statement is seen in the work of Vine, whose anti-fur commentary within fashion is a reflection of the difficulty in making a stance in a world where moral positions have proved to be as changeable as the collections the fashion industry puts out each year.

Vine's project was initially  about the use of animals in fashion, specifically the fur trade but as the project went on he started to include references to other types of animal cruelty, welfare and conservation. As a result he created a series of collages based on these various topics, such as cruelty in the circus and animals that have been driven to extinction, developing them in the form of outfits or extensions of human bodies. 

All of the images are intended to expose negative aspects of human behaviour but at the same time he wanted examine the visual appeal of the animal influences in clothing without excusing the requirement for animals to die needlessly.  His response was to create a second set of collages which were a reversal of the role of animal and human, a kind of revenge where the humans were being worn by animals. This time the intention was to illustrate various animal welfare issues while presenting the images in the form of fashion magazine using glossy paper. 

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