Designing fashion
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Creative Fashion Research Part 2

Fashion collection theme

The Fashion Collection Theme

Lately I travelled to Turkey, and as always the travelling sparked my aesthetic side and imagination. As I’ve previously written about, getting out of your normal day-to-day life can be the source of new ideas (read more about that here).

I don’t think that the inspiration, I came home with, was particularly Turkish – I entitled it ‘Decorative Arts and Dusty Pink’ – or linked to the actual place, but this doesn’t matter. I saw things there that made sense in my mind with things, I’ve previously seen, and all of a sudden I had a new theme. This, I believe, is very much how the research process works. We see and hear a lot of things, and a lot of it we forget or don’t even notice. Some of it, though, is stored in our minds, and perhaps the situation arises where we pull it out from the storage, perhaps not.

Explaining how to research is one of the hardest things to teach students, and I think it’s very individual, how people work. It’s also very intuitive, and teaching someone to ‘trust their inner feeling’ is very intangible. Some times you simply can’t hear it, and sometimes you aren’t sure whether to trust it, but this becomes easier with time and experience. But let me explain to you, how this fashion collection theme took shape in my mind:

A couple of months ago, I went to a dinner in a quite experimental restaurant in Denmark. It’s called 1th, and the theme of the dinner was Metamorphosis (which is in itself a very exciting concept). I made the photo of the bubbling champagne, the sculptural shapes of the prawn crackers with the light and airy Hibiscus dust – all set on a beautiful Terrazzo table (you can find it on my Instagram). I found it so beautiful, stylish and a bit intellectual, and kept the photo in my phone.

I didn’t give the photo much thinking, and meanwhile I’ve been doing many others. Then I travelled to Turkey, and here I saw things that made sense to me with the first photo, and all of a sudden I liked the little story, the photos created together. I could feel the mood that took shape, which was – as before – beautiful, stylish, intellectual, but now also decorative, natural and perhaps a bit eccentric due to the new images, I took into consideration (you can find them on my Instagram too).

Mood is a word that you will hear over and over again, when you create fashion, because it’s the feeling, the universe, we aim to create and transmit. The mood can be made up by similar inputs or very different and conflicting concepts, but the important thing is that it’s crystal clear, what you try to create. What is the type of woman (or man) that lives in your imaginary world of your collection? You should be able to have a very clear feeling of what’s she’s like.

The result was the moodboard at the top. Moodboard refers to the assemble of images that you use as a starting point of a collection, and which you have to stay true to throughout the collection. There are many ways to create moodboards or research portfolios, but the essence is that you have chosen images, which you stick to. You use them as a guideline in order not to loose your focus, and as the main inspiration for designing your collection.

I named this theme ‘Decorative Arts and Dusty Pink’, because this time, right from the beginning, there was a very defined key colour: dusty pink. I like it with the graphic Terrazzo colours, as well as in combination with stronger colours, and with a hint of metal colour. I like the ornate and eccentric feel, and perhaps because of the exuberant and arty feel I find it quite intellectual. At least at this point, it doesn’t feel very commercial.

Having the vocabulary to describe your work is very useful, though not as important as the actual images. When I say stylish, I may have a different perception of what stylish is compared to someone else. When I show an image, everyone will see the same thing. Though our taste and culture is individual, we still have the same image in front of us. Perhaps what we get out of it is different, but we see the same thing. Therefore the most important language in fashion is made of images. The words are still useful, though, and you will find that when you articulate and put words to what your theme is about, it will be words that you are inspired by too – just as the images are.

Each theme and collection form your individual design DNA, and make who you are as a designer. Some moods you will flirt with briefly, and some you will come back to over and over again. When you come back to a theme over the years it can be describes as your style or design DNA. This takes time to find, and experimenting with different moods is the best way to understand the core DNA inside you.

The moodboard ‘Decorative Arts and Dusty Pink’ is substantial enough to form a clear idea in my mind, but if I were going to develop an entire collection from it, I would need more images. Then I would continue my research, and afterwards be able to make the actual fashion collection. But, as this article states, a moodboard is always the first step.

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