When fashion becomes art

Fashion and art have paradoxically a complicated yet simple relationship. Could be fashion considered art? The nature of its relationship has been questioned many times, and opinions still differ. Yet without a clear answer to this sensitive issue, we have found the Spanish designer who literally makes fashion art.

Arena Martínez, the talent behind her eponymous brand, has recently launched “Serendipia”; a colourful and delicate collection of reversible kimonos that represent artworks in her designs and, as she says, “brings art to another dimension”. Martínez wanted to integrate her two passions –art and fashion– into one single and inseparable concept in which the dialogue between the artist and the designer “clashes and connects” equally. The idea is that each collection pays tribute to one of her favourite artists, whose artworks are the motif, and the kimonos work as canvas. This way, the Spanish designer honours their pieces at the same time that she creates a long-lasting relation between fashion and art.

Kimono: Arena Martínez | Photography: Claudia Peris | Model: Claudia Peris

This concept was clearly patent in the presentation of the brand, where the models that wore her designs came to life and walked around the location, making fashion and art more alive than ever. These fashion-forward, original and bold ideas definitely surprised the attendees, who enjoyed a performance we are not very used to here in Spain. And this is not that we are unaware of the latest trends in fashion, but sometimes we are a bit reticent to show our craziest and most creative ideas, even if they are great.

Kimono: Arena Martínez | Photography: Claudia Peris | Model: Lucía H. Peris

Having a young designer bringing to the table daring ideas is a breadth of fresh air for the Spanish fashion industry. But Arena Martínez is no strange to avant-garde movements and fashion-forward ideas at all. Raised in a family of artists, she has breathed art from a very young age. Her education and international background definitely is playing a fundamental role in her work as a designer. She has lived abroad 13 years (keep in mind that she is only 24), visited different and far-away countries, and studied in prestigious schools like Central Saint Martins in London. It was during her university years when the idea of creating her own brand started to take shape, although it wasn’t until Dubai when this adventure really kicked off. Following her passion for contemporary art, Martínez landed in that city and surprisingly ended up coming across the perfect product for her future brand: the kimono.

Kimono: Arena Martínez | Photography: Claudia Peris | Models: Claudia and Lucía H. Peris

Currently based in Madrid, where she works surrounded by her art collection, the Spanish designer couldn’t be happier of being back home. You can tell that Martínez enjoys every bit of her job, in particular seeing her thoughts taking form in her designs.

However, she is also aware of the difficulties her brand may face here in Spain because she admits Spanish fashion is “less bold”, and that’s why her target audience is international and willing to purchase online.

Nonetheless, it seems that we are witnessing a shift in the traditional Spanish style, advocating now for more arresting looks. Everything seems to indicate that in the near future we will probably see more of the “daring, cosmopolitan, confident and contemporary woman” Arena Martínez artistically designs for, making fashion art.

Kimono: Arena Martínez | Photography: Claudia Peris | Models: Claudia and Lucía H. Peris