Fashion is art – full stop. Why? Just like a painter or sculptor, a fashion designer conceptualizes, sketches and builds art which captures attention and evokes conversation. For fashion designers, clothes and accessories are their medium and can be worn and utilized much easier than a painting.
Where am I going with this? The Ontario Ministry of Tourism, Culture and Sport is re-evaluating their culture strategy and wants to hear from the public so they can “set a vision for arts and culture, define priorities and guide support for the sector in the years to come.” This call for public input has sparked two women – Anjli Patel and Ashlee Froese – to start two separate online petitions asking the ministry to recognize fashion as art and introduce funding for fashion designers.
The two petitions ask the ministry to support fashion in slightly different ways, but the end goal is recognition, support and funding. They’ve also amassed different groups of supporters; the Toronto Fashion Incubator, designer Bojana Sentaler and Fashion magazine’s editor-in-chief Bernadette Morra have attached their names to these petitions to strengthen them.
The fashion industry in Canada, particularly in Ontario, has long been neglected by the government as a form of art and culture. The reasons why this has gone on for so long has always puzzled me. Directly, fashion employs hundreds, if not, thousands of people who create wearable art. Indirectly it creates additional jobs in the areas of media and marketing.
Cultural institutions such as the Royal Ontario Museum, Design Exchange and the Bata Shoe Museum, who are supported by the government, have also held numerous exhibitions which speak to the importance and impact fashion has on our culture and society. And still Canada’s fashion industry has received minimal recognition and no funding. NOW’s fashion writer, Sabrina Maddeaux, has long documented the short comings of the Canadian industry and articulates this in her latest piece.
As of today, December 5, the petitions have obtained strong support but more is needed for the fashion industry’s voice to be heard. Which petition should you sign? I leave the decision up to you, but I strongly urge you to sign at least one whose objectives and goals speak to you.
The government deadline for the submission of these petitions is December 7. Please sign and spread the word.
Sign the petitions:
- Ontario government: Introduce fashion funding
- Fashion Advocacy: Petition the Ontario Government to fund and support the fashion industry