How Inspiration Works

I have always felt that Inspiration is the key to any good design. Obviously, you need good design and practicality and colors and fabrics, but without a good source of inspiration a design couldn’t tell a story. Design can come from any source: Nature, architecture, other people’s designs, photographs, or memories. Big things can inspire one to do big things.

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A seemingly normal stairway that can inspire you for shapes and color blocking.

Little things can inspire one to do little things. But then little and big get mixed and suddenly you don’t really know where this idea came from, but you like it and know how to achieve it. That’s what Inspiration is.

My particular method of collecting Inspiration is extensive. I start with written stories.

Obviously I want to tell my own story but reading a little fairy tale can give me an idea for a particular aesthetic. After I decide what I want to portray, I go on extensive searches using various corners of the internet. I love using the primary colors in a photograph to inspire me for the fabrics I’ll be using. If I find a picture that has gold lighting I will want to use a warm, shiny fabric.

Once I have chosen my color scheme and found picture of fabrics I would like to use, I start collecting silhouettes and details. I will use magazines, old runway shows, new runway shows, and Tumblr to collect a wide variety of silhouettes and detail. Then, once I have a basic sketch based off my collection of images, I will make a yard count. Then I’ll finally get to go fabric shopping.

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A skirt-shirt combination I’m currently draping

Once I come home, I will start to look for more detailed images of higher fashion and then I’ll start draping. I like to buy the fabric before I finish the sketch, that way I have more freedom to experiment with the fabrics I bought. Because I don’t exactly have a high budget – I buy what I can get, and because of this sometimes a sketch will look nothing like itself on the dress form. Then I’ll sew and finish it.

The one thing that stays the same throughout all these steps is the aesthetic.

My aesthetic could be described as fairytale Avant Garde. I love weird silhouettes and shapes, with a more soft and romantic feel. My Inspiration usually comes from a mixture of the greats, like Alexander McQueen, and old styles from the 90s and the 50s. I love the silhouettes and textures from these two decades. So whenever I’m searching for some basic Inspiration, not just for a specific line or design, I’ll go through old designs from then.

My favorite part about Inspiration is that it doesn’t need to make sense. A random collection of completely unrelated photographs from the seventies can be the key to a fashion designer’s career. As artists, it’s our job to use Inspiration, not just let it use us. It’s so easy to get caught in a wave of perfect pictures, even if those perfect pictures have nothing to do with what you want to make. Inspiration is literally an artist’s best friend. Because no matter how talented you are in your field, Inspiration shows you what you want to do. What’s your favorite stage when you create something?

Sissi

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