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Toward the end of the 1990s The Houston based performance artists Michael Galbreth and Jack Massing, ‘The Art Guys’, embarked on the SUITS project. A project involving a two year exploration of the relationship between art, fashion and marketing which resulted in the publication of the book ”SUITS: The Clothes Make the Man.” Through this project the Art Guys were drawn into a journey through branding, image construction, fashion, performance, sponsorship, marketing and the multiple layers of a consumer culture. The Suits project and in particular the documentation of their journey, provided in the book, are an interesting vehicle for reflection on the suit and branding in contemporary male dress. The business suit is commonly seen as a symbol of masculinity and corporate identity. The Art Guys subvert conventional readings of the suit, using the traditional grey business suit as corporate billboard to attract and market sponsorship for their project. This paper reviews the SUITS project with a particular focus on the challenges to conventional reading of the suit presented by the project.
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