Travelling and Fashion Design Inspiration
‘To travel is to live’, the famous writer Hans Christian Andersen once said. I’ve travelled quite a lot, and I agree. I’ve spoken to people, who have travelled quite a lot, and they agree too. In this, there’s actually nothing new, but I would like to emphasize just how important I think, it is, and why.
Let’s start with why (from the back – just because it’s more fun). When you travel, what you think about will change. Getting out of your rhythm and everyday life will leave your short view perspective of day-to-day tasks at home, and this will leave free space in your mind to be allowed to fill up with something else – and more important matters. What are the things in life, you really want to do? Often we have but a few, but really strong dreams, we wish to pursue. Are you on the path of doing this, and are you feeling satisfied? This voice is important to listen to, and you hear it only when you make space for it. It’s like leaning back and for a moment taking a good, thorough look at what is your life, and where is it heading.
Another reason is that when you travel, you get new inspiration, because you see and live new things. New inspiration is a crucial thing for a Fashion Designer, and often Fashion Designers start a new collection with going on an inspiration trip – to free the mind and open up the eyes to actually see. In life, no matter what you do, it’s important to continue to be stimulated and be curious about things, but for a Fashion Designer it’s really important, as these input are like food or building blocks for the creation process. There are a lot of ways to get inspiration and travelling and fashion design inspiration is just one of them, but when you travel, you always return home a little different. It may not be a lot but just a little bit. If you continue to take in new things and elaborate them, you will always have the material to create with, because you have yourself changed, and therefore your view on the world is new. New is another word for creating and being creative, as creating means something there isn’t yet.
It’s not always that you will have the possibility of going somewhere, and travelling is indeed a privilege and a luxury, and this is where mind travelling earns its right. What is called daydreaming or simply imagining things can sometimes allow you to feel a certain mood, which can be a way to continue a collection or other creative project. If you don’t have the possibility of actually going to Via Veneto in Rome to feel the allure of past times, when Anita Ekberg and Marcello Mastroianni filmed ‘La Dolce Vita’, then close your eyes and imagine it.
This is where the importance of research – which I will never stop to emphasize enough – plays its part. If you have read extensively, seen a lot of different movies, travelled to different places, visited different art exhibitions and spoken to a lot of different people, you have the necessary ingredients to imagine a lot of things. As in a lot of things. I’m sure you noticed the word ‘different’ appearing repeatedly, and the reason is that diversity will give you a broad perspective and many things to relate to, and this is one of the most crucial parts of making interesting design; having a vast knowledge to draw from. That is how important research is and in consequence travelling.
Another reason why travelling shouldn’t be underestimated is because, when you travel, you will meet new people, and see who they are, and how they live. Unless you’re the arrogant type, you will most likely see, how others too have something to offer, and how their habits and cultures are rich too. I’ve always found that the most narrow-minded people, I’ve met, were the ones, who had lived in a limited world with hardly any exploration. Being so restricted in your views, it’s very hard to create anything, and I would argue that being judgemental is the exact opposite of being creative, where you need to allow for something new, unknown and risky. This takes a lot of courage, and it’s different to living in a neatly defined world of right and wrong.
People who have travelled have often something to offer in terms of views, stories and experiences, which they do with humility and curiosity. This – if not used in a creative process – at least enriches the world.