Its ori­gins

When we think of Graf­fi­ti we imag­ine writ­ing and spray paint illic­it­ly scrib­bled on walls. Com­mon­ly, graf­fi­ti con­veys a state­ment, polit­i­cal, soci­o­log­i­cal ide­al, or just sim­ply some­one’s artis­tic abil­i­ty. Graf­fi­ti has been around since the days of ancient civ­i­liza­tions. It can be found on the walls of ancient ruins, as in the Cat­a­combs, or in Pompeii.

The term Graf­fi­ti is bor­rowed from the Greek word Graphein, which means writ­ing or scrib­bling. It uses the Latin mean­ing “graf­fi­ti” to refer to a cul­tur­al and artis­tic move­ment. In addi­tion to the ide­o­log­i­cal artis­tic expres­sion of graf­fi­ti, its expres­sion can also denote own­er­ship. The artist can sign his work, called tag­ging, and owns up to his ‘art-work’ most com­mon­ly using symbols.

Graf­fi­ti in Fashion

The begin­ning of a state­ment on a wall, In the 1960s, two young men, “Corn­bread” and “Cool Earl” began an unstop­pable trend, in Philadel­phia. They start­ed writ­ing their names in pub­lic places hop­ing to attract girls. Soon this began to attract pub­lic atten­tion and the press and gain­ing pop­u­lar­i­ty in oth­er cities.

In 1971, one of the first famous graf­fi­ti illus­tra­tion artists signed TAKI 183 was inter­viewed by The New York Times. He was a young Greek who worked as a mes­sen­ger in New York. He paint­ed his sig­na­ture every­where where he deliv­ered doc­u­ments and pack­ages. Even­tu­al­ly, becom­ing famous and imi­tat­ed by others.

Def­i­nite­ly, graf­fi­ti is an art all of its own that recent­ly has made its mark in the fash­ion world. Graf­fit­ti, which start­ed off as an art state­ment on grit­ty street build­ings and walls has slow­ly evolved to make a fash­ion state­ment. It is now dis­played in gal­leries, art exhibits, and fashion.

Today you can wear graf­fi­ti on your t‑shirts, den­ims, and oth­er arti­cles of cloth­ing. Fash­ion design­ers such as Marc Ecko and Paul Bud­nitz incor­po­rate graf­fi­ti in their designs. Some of these design­ers sell their wear­able ‘works of art’ at aston­ish­ing prices. Not long ago, a pair of graf­fi­ti enhanced vin­tage Levis sold in Japan for US $16,000.

Oth­er design­ers who began their careers as graf­fi­ti artists took their cre­ative work to cloth and can­vas and became impor­tant par­a­digms in the fash­ion world. One of these design­ers is Erni Vales who now designs lim­it­ed-edi­tion fash­ion items embell­ished with his inspi­ra­tion. His work can be seen any­where from posters to t‑shirts.


The cre­ative asso­ci­a­tion between graf­fi­ti and fash­ion is var­ied, and goes beyond a sim­ple trans­fer­ring of graf­fi­ti to cloth­ing. This form of expres­sion pre­sent­ed in vivid, graph­ic writ­ing, draw­ings and scrib­bles in pub­lic walls can sup­port and enhance the envi­ron­ment with indi­vid­ual expres­sion that con­veys unre­strict­ed and lim­it­less ideals and social issues.