Where do design ideas come from?
If you're interested in clothes you've probably, at one point or another, thought about an outfit you'd like to have but couldn't quite find. You've probably seen something in a magazine, and thought about how you'd like it if they could just change this or that about it. Maybe you've made something up completely out of your head, something beautiful. This is where it begins.
Fashion design is a field that is commercial, that is, it interacts with society. It's an art that people use every day. It effects the way people feel and react to one another, and in turn is effected by every part of human interaction.
So where do designers get their ideas? It's a complex interplay... a designer doesn't work entirely out of their imaginations, nor do they simply copy what they see in the latest magazines. If they did, the field would pretty stagnant, as opposed to the vital art form that it is.
As with other disciplines, inspirations come from a huge variety of sources in the world around us - from nature, from popular culture, from old movies, history, literature, architecture and world travel. It can come from comic books, or masterpieces of art, from teapots or motorcycle design. The possibilities are unlimited.
Planning a Theme for a Collection
Designers work in series of related outfits that are called Collections. It's important that these pieces need to hold together, not look like a bunch of unrelated clothes. A theme is what unifies the work. The way to create a theme is to come up with a source of inspiration that will carry through all the pieces.
Inspirational Themes in the History of Fashion
Sometimes the themes that have inspired designers can be really easy to see.
The early 1960's was period in which abstract art was popular, and associated with sophisticated taste. Yves St. Laurent's inspiration is easy to see.
Piet Mondrian, Composition in Blue, Red and Yellow, 1921
Yves St. Laurent, Dress, 1965
The Space Race was also heating up in the 1960's, as the U.S. and the U.S.S.R. both scrambled to get a man on the moon. That Space Age influence was evident in fashion.
Paco Rabanne, Dress, 1967
The inspiration of Vivienne Westwood in her Pirates Collection of the early 1980's is quite clear.
Vivienne Westwood, Pirates, 1982
Clarifying Your Inspiration
Designers create something that is called a concept or mood board to clarify their inspiration. It is a kind of visual brainstorming. Once the direction is determined, it helps define the color story, the fabric choices and the silhouette.
There are companies devoted entirely to forecasting upcoming moods, trends and colors in fashion. Have a look around their sites. They may give you ideas.
You will be doing a little forecasting of your own. I would like you to create a mood board for a collection to be created in the upcoming season. See the next post for details on your assignment.
Please see the next entry for your assignment.