Bolton School Girls’ Division Newspaper


Minimalism vs Maximalism: Too Little or Too Much?

The movements: Minimalism and Maximalism, have been alongside one another throughout art history, acting as polar opposites. They practically are their own philosophies; minimalism is an advocate for sustainability and timelessness—quality over quantity—to inspire others to create a wardrobe that transcends temporary trends and to battle against our world’s current era of excessive consumerism. Contrarily, maximalism advocates for abundance and boldness, promoting empowerment of not conforming to social norms, promoting uniqueness and complexity in life and art. Splashes of pattern and colour is greatly celebrated, the dare to be different inspiring many.

But, with these two drastically different goals, how did these movements come to be?

 Initially, maximalism was created as a rebellious reaction against its countermovement: minimalism, taking the world by storm and banding all types of artists together. So, from there a powerful rivalry was born.

Minimalism—the aesthetic of moderation

Minimalist design is characterised by impactful simplicity and a monochromatic palette, inspiring many artistic careers, from graphic design to architecture to high-end fashion. Nearly the entirety of modern interior design has depended on the minimalistic style, where lack of clutter creates spaciousness, elevating a room. This movement has become increasingly popular among a female audience, as it focuses on functionality and cleanliness—which in turn is proclaimed to liberate and ‘declutter’ one’s mind. Minimalism has also dominated the cosmetic industry for quite some time, as social media presents trends like ‘the clean girl’ look. To put it simply, these types of looks pride on the notion that unseen makeup is effective makeup, which stays appropriate for daily life or in any public scenario, avoiding overly colourful palettes and unnecessary texture (especially on skin, hence the rise in popularity of skincare-like makeup). Regarding the fashion industry, iconic pieces have emerged from the idea of minimalism.  Haute couture and minimalism cannot live without the other. Celebrities who champion the minimalist aesthetic of ‘less is more’ includes Sophia Richie, Meghan Markle, Calvin Klein, and even Steve Jobs (his aesthetic shown in his legacy of Apple products).

minmalist art
interior design minimalism


maximalism trends
lady gaga and elto john

Maximalism— the aesthetic of excess

Maximalism is a style that embraces extravagance and even a little controlled chaos. In this case, quantity is quality, and maximalists use lots of ornamentation, patterns and textures. This wide range of graphic elements allow Design Technology based careers to thrive.  Nowadays, people are attempting to stray away from the leading art movement of minimalism to go towards more textured, elaborate art. Popularity is increasing of the style, showing within fashion influence and makeup trends, going back to the perfect imperfections of Y2K (early 2000’s) clothing and makeup. This daring style of makeup incorporates a plethora of vibrancy which heavily supports niche brands who benefit off of these pigmented colour palettes (eyeshadow, lipstick and blush alike).

Clothing brands like Gucci are well-renowned for their maximalist aesthetic, and like many new and unique things, criticism in addition to praise arose from critics and consumers. Celebrities who champion this aesthetic are Lady Gaga and Elton John— who are most famous for their colourful individuality and boldness (both in personality and style). Equally, cultural icons like Frida Kahlo widely influenced maximalist pop culture, providing revolutionary references to photography, painting, interior furnishings and fashion trends.

I, as an impartial third party,(and a GSCE Art student) believe this topic has much relevance today, as both opposing movements in 2024 have clashed against each other more than ever.  These art movements, although extreme, impel their separate followers to explore new types of perspectives. It makes the world a much more interesting place. So…

What would you choose: Minimalism or Maximalism?


By Astrid King

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