The Importance of Creative Research in Fashion.
All the steps in creating a fashion collection are important; the initial idea, the further development and research, the actual design process, and finishing everything into a nice product. On time, that is. And often with production causing a great deal of challenges.
We have previously discussed Trends quite thoroughly, which is perhaps a kind of layer that’s added to the entire process – but especially also the initial part, when many important decisions are made. So what is this ‘Creative Fashion Research’, and why is it so extremely important? Why is it so hard to explain how to go about, when people don’t really grasp it, and why is it sometimes so hard to get inspired?
In my five years as a tutor, explaining ‘Research’, and how to do it, was by far the most difficult thing. “Use your inspiration and imagination”, “Find inspiring images and put them together in a new context” and of course the whole thing about “Primary and Secondary Research”. All these things are relatively easy, when you know – or feel – how to go about it, but it’s very hard, when you’re doing it for the first time. The second time is easier, because you will know about it from the first, and replicate how you did.
But let’s start with the importance of creative research in fashion; something we at The Fashion Crowd are hugely interested in. Research, and the reasoning behind the choices, is where the creativity lies. Drawing may not be easy, and something you learn over many years of dedicated practising, but it’s still a technique, which is therefore easier to both teach and learn. Like pattern cutting, sewing, making a product plan etc. Creativity is still used and visible in these areas, alas, but it lies in the choices and reasoning, which is then absorbed into the actual drawing, pattern cutting etc. You can also say that the only unique thing about an art form, will be the artist behind and his or hers unique way of seeing the world. That’s also why the research books are the most important thing for fashion schools and in head hunting, when looking for candidates. If the thinking is good, relevant and unique, the rest is technique. The one strong card, we have on our hand, is our unique way of seeing the world. No one can replicate that.
Today you can find anything on the net, and copy/replicate anything – especially with the many advanced tools at your disposal. Today, with an Iphone and filters, it’s almost difficult to make a bad photo. Seeing a beautiful finished product doesn’t necessarily tell something about the quality or originality of it – the reasoning behind does.
Of course, you can even replicate a beautiful research that you see on Pinterest or a style that you see on Instagram, but I would argue that it’s very, very hard. There’s one thing, you can never cheat anybody with in art and fashion, and that is when you have been totally in love with your project. When it’s not the case, you can sniff it out straight away.
In our image-loving society and with all the tools at hand, the one question we need to keep asking is the why behind design or fashion objects. And what we need to keep looking at is also the research process – it says more about the actual quality than anything else. Today, with the world drowning in stuff, it’s about the narrative of something and the choices for making it. Without, it’s just another skirt or handbag.