Giclees will broaden your product line, give your work more price points, introduce your work to new customers, and more.

Giclee Prints of Reproductions from Original Art Can Be Spectacular

They said pret-a-porter will kill your name, and it saved me. – Pierre Cardin

If it were possible to protect the term giclee, more fine artists might use it.

pret a porter
Elizabeth Saab Couture

In France, the term haute couture is a protected term. To earn the right to call itself a couture house and to use the term haute couture in its advertising and any other way, members of the Chambre syndicale de la haute couture must follow explicit rules.

The Cow Is Out of the Barn

When it comes to what to do about the abuse of the term giclee, the adage “Don’t bother closing the barn door after the cow is gone.” applies to how giclee is used.

If you will pardon the pun, it’s spilled milk, so let’s not debate the issue. I find more artists and top-drawer printers have stopped using the term, but it is difficult since its use has passed in the lexicon of the average art buyer.

Giclee Prints As Pret-a-Porter

I suppose some artists will find the suggestion of comparing giclee prints to pret-a-porter offensive, which is okay. If you are not ruffling someone’s feathers with an opinion, you are not adding anything interesting to the conversation. Besides, its just as likely the comparison will provide a new, positive perspective on using reproductions. Your choice.

The comparison to me is valid. Haute couture is about one-of-a-kind original garments made with creativity and to the highest standards. Indeed, all self-respecting artists commit to such measures when they create their original works.

If nearly all the world’s top fashion designers also create ready-to-wear [pret-a-porter] work for the masses who cannot afford original designs made and explicitly hand-tailored for them, it seems visual artists should be just as confident in using fine art digital reproductions to help them reach collectors who do not have the budget for their originals.

Fine Art Reproductions Open Doors

Making giclees prints of your work is not a cure for original art that is not selling. However, if you find your work sells when seen by enough of the right buyers, then you are a great candidate to start adding giclee prints into the mix of what you offer to buyers.

Besides being able to offer sizes your buyer wants, and make unlimited copies (assuming you do not go down the road of limited editions), you also open the possibility of your work being picked up in the licensing, hospitality, design and healthcare markets.  There are numerous examples of artist entrepreneurs who have become wealthy and well known through their involvement in these markets.

I am not suggesting that adding to giclees to what you sell will save your business as the pret-a-porter did for Pierre Cardin. It might not need saving. Giclee prints will broaden your product line, give your work more price points, introduce your work to new customers, and more.


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  • Gary Kerr says:

    Well stated Barney, and spot on.

  • Thanks Gary,
    There is a correlation with art and fashion. They both involve creativity, color theory, taking risks and pushing the envelope.

  • I am want contacts to print on chiffon and silk for high end fashion.

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