I’ve been inspired by everything lately. I find my eyes lingering on a wall of graffiti I’ve passed countless times before, on tile patterns on ceilings or floors, on paintings in UMMA. However, there’s one medium that I find on my mind for hours and inspires me in my everyday choices: fashion.

If you’re an Ann Arbor resident, unless your home is a below-ground hole, you’ve undoubtedly been exposed to the people-watching this city has to offer. I urge everyone reading this to find some time in their schedules every week to sit at the window of Lab Café or Starbucks and just look at the people who walk by. You’ll see some old men in suits, probably a few bums, but the longer you linger, the more you’ll notice the small quirks in a person’s appearance that will give you a hint of the person they are.

Art is how an individual expresses themselves through a medium, an extension of the creative process in their minds. This medium can be traditional, like marble or a canvas, or contemporary, like performance art or installation.

Whether conscious or not, the clothes we put on our bodies are the simplest display of creativity we can express with materials we already have in our closets. We can put on something nice and let the world know that we feel important today; we can accessorize with jewelry or watches in a beautiful combination; we can wear sweatpants and a pullover and tell the world that we’re tired of its shit and are trying our best to get through the day. None of these options are less expressive than the others, they just express different sentiments.

The intersection of art and clothing is perhaps most apparent in the world of high fashion. Artist collaborations in fashion have been relevant and profitable for ages, and often become iconic pieces of history for an aficionado in either sect.

There have been innumerable designer collections that have found inspiration from art and art that finds inspiration from the runway, so much so that it becomes difficult to distinguish between which is which. Take the case of Jean-Michel Basquiat, a prolific 1980s contemporary artist who became a style icon in his own right. Basquiat, with his striking features and towering stance, modeled in shows for emerging fashion houses like Comme des Garçons and had a signature style that helped fuel his fame until his death at 27. Since his passing, Basquiat’s signature artistic style has inspired high-top sneakers, a collaboration between UNIQLO and MoMA and as of late a Forever 21 collection that features the artist’s signature prints on inexpensive T-shirts for the Lollapalooza crowd.

We’re certainly not all Basquiats, and while we may not have the ability to control the path of runway shows we can still be influenced by them. Art is supposed to move and inspire us. We’re supposed to look at a piece, whether 400 years old or just four, and feel something inside of us, a passion that starts in our bellies and grows into inspiration for our own artistry.

Even for the artistically uninclined (like myself), we can all be artists every morning when we wake up. We can look in the mirror and say, how do I want to express myself today? Who do I want to be today? Most of us fall into the same general style day after day, a look that makes us feel comfortable, which either contrasts or pulls from the people we associate with day after day. Our bodies are the canvases, our minds are the mediums and our outfits are the finished products. We are all art in motion.

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