stndrd Style: Keith Haring

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For this episode of stndrd Style we wanted to focus on a different kind of artist. An artist who spread his word in the early 80’s using a paintbrush instead of a microphone—that guy was Keith Haring. Known for his vibrant and colorful art, Keith created a legacy in the early 80’s underground art scene along with fellow artists Jean Michel Basquiat, Kenny Scharf and Andy Warhol by using subway walls as his canvas. Widely known for his tribal inspired art, Keith commonly used barking dogs, hearts and babies as symbols in his artwork to build awareness around drug abuse, AIDS, love and social issues. In honor of Keith Haring we want to highlight 4 style tips we can take away from the man, the legend and artist.

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The Classic Frames

Before the Big Bang Theory, nerdy style was cool. Keith was the first to capitalize and own it. Choosing the right frames that match with your face structure is critical to pulling off any frames. So, no matter what designer frames you try to pull off you will always fall short sighted if it doesn’t compliment your face structure. Round frames in particular worked in Keith’s favor as they matched his face and preppy style perfectly. Much like how the top hat is synonymous with Abraham Lincoln, round frames will forever be identified with Keith Haring (at least in the art world).

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Mixing Prep With Street

Even though skinny jeans and fitted tee’s are common right now, it was the early generation from the late 70’s to early 80’s that ushered in the style that we still love today. In fact, photos from the 80’s art scene in the Lower Eastside are so comparable to today’s style that the images look current. What made Keith Haring’s style so transparent was his ability to perfectly blend street-wear and prep to create his own signature look. And of course his style looks normal now but at that time—his style was somewhat revolutionary.

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Gotta Be The Shoes

The obsession Keith Haring had with sneakers was no secret. You can’t help but wonder if he was a true sneaker head? While that’s up for debate, what isn’t up for debate is his love for a pair of dope kicks. Generally spotted in Nikes, Converse and Jordan’s—it’s no surprise that The Keith Haring foundation later teamed up with brands such as Adidas, Tommy Hilfiger and Reebok for numerous shoe collaborations that really highlighted Keith’s love for sneakers. And it’s a love that connects with both the older and younger generations from the sneaker community.

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Keep It Graphic!

Dull graphic tees are something that’s commonly frowned upon in fashion and often associated with rebellious teenagers and sport fanatic college students. But when designed and worn correctly, a simple graphic tee can be an essential piece that adds character to your outfit while being expressive. Always seen wearing vibrant tees, Keith knew how to create the perfect balance when it came to pulling off the look. Seeing the influence of his art very early, Keith was one of the first street artists to design and make his art accessible. This was in the form of fashion and novelty items through the boutique he later opened called “The Pop Up Shop.” Even though the shop closed in 2005 you can still get your hands on Keith shirts, baseball caps and buttons at his online pop-up store.

Although Keith Haring has passed, his art and influence can still been seen today in the art and fashion world. Ahead of his time like many artists from that era, Keith’s legacy lives on through his work and influence. Keith is a prime example of someone who changed the world and style one canvas at a time. 

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