Clothing and architecture structures are occupied with our bodies; reinforced fabrications used as shelters. They reflect the values, economic security and norms of society. From the primitive time period to the twenty-first century, they have yet to decrease in value.

Growing up, design was always interesting to me, whether it was decorating the interior of a home, drawing the layout of various rooms or even modifying clothing to reflect a certain purpose and aesthetic. It was not until later in my childhood that there was an understanding and realization that this imagination and creativity was connected to a passion for architecture. At the same time, I experienced a blossoming interest in dressing and making clothing, and with a few seasons of watching America’s Next Top Model, my passion grew even more.

The magical, juxtaposed passion of fashion and architecture came to fruition as I was studying architecture. I was required to select an architecture thesis topic, and later was advised to choose something I love. My thought was, “why not explore my two loves together?” They cross-pollinated in so many ways that I found extremely fascinating. Through studying and research, I found that there were very obvious similarities between the two disciplines as it relates to function, construction techniques and style. To give a better understanding of these similarities, it’s helpful to describe them, not only through words, but also through a visual analysis to gain a better understanding of their relationship.

FUNCTION

Both fashion and architecture do the following:

  • shelter human beings and are designed around their proportions
  • they are composed of skin and structure [needle, threads, materials, columns, paneling etc.], and entrances and exits [zippers, holes, doors, windows etc.]
  • they pay close attention to details and progress, just as technology does

CONSTRUCTION TECHNIQUES

Although construction technique terms vary between both fashion and architecture, they result in similar geometries. Box pleating, flouncing and knife pleating are some of these techniques in both fashion and architectural forms.

STYLE

In some instances, both fashion and architecture share the same stylistic terms. The below “terms” of Architecture – De Stijl, Deconstructivism, Baroque – are technically time periods which depend entirely on the background of where it originated. In this case, De Stijl, Deconstructivism and Baroque are used across both disciplines.

This blog only illustrates three basic elements that connect fashion and architecture; there are still many other similarities such as history, culture, weather and others that connect the two. There are also designers in both fashion and architecture, such as the late Zaha Hadid, Tom Ford, Raf Simons, etc., who gained inspiration from these concepts and blended them creatively to design buildings and clothing. Some of this was accomplished by taking the idea of form and applying them not only to what we inhabit, but what we wear as well. Zaha Hadid specifically collaborated with jewelry designer Atelier Swarovski to design jewelry that reflected a complex form related to the way she designed architecture. This opportunity led her to create many more pieces of jewelry, footwear and handbags, with inspiration from her major design moves such as light and shadow and form. She was truly what we called “a lady who created curves.”

Design is a common thing we can all appreciate. Whether it is fashion, architecture, art, furniture, graphic design, etc., we can cross-pollinate almost any two disciplines to create something that is both functional and aesthetically pleasing. Although when we hear the word “design,” we automatically think of how something looks, but there is always more to it than aesthetics. How design functions and makes us feel is also important, and which is why design will always matter.