You’re bored with what you see in the shops around you and want to create your own fashion. Or even go on to study fashion at school. Yet, where d you start?
Create your own Fashion: How do you get started?
Fashion is an interesting thing. As an industry, there are between 60 and 75 million people employed around the world (as of 2014 – view report here!)
The fashion industry as a whole is worth around $1.7 trillion for the world economy as of 2012. The winners are of course the retailers and not the small scale designers, such as myself. And with mass production, it can be hard to stand out from the crowd when you shop on the high street.
If you’re interested in designing a fashion collection for a school or university application, or maybe you just want to create your own fashion pieces for yourself, in order to be more individual, you need to start with some research. This visual research will inspire you, and lead you down the path of creating a fashion wardrobe or collection. And what a merry path it is too! 🙂
The starting point when it comes to creating your own fashion item or fashion collection is research. It may be visual research for an entire collection based on a place you travelled to. It may be garment research for one particular garment – a winter overcoat with a difference maybe. It could even be construction research after you’ve opted to buy a leather pant pattern but have no idea how to move forward with making it up. Research is a very important first step in the process. Yet, before you can start to research, what you really need is inspiration…
Maybe there is a jacket in a store you love, but it doesn’t fit you properly. Or the colour is just not flattering for your skin. Of the length is just a little too long. Yes, you can take it to someone who will adjust it, recolour it or even shorten it. But it’s not quite the same as making something perfect for you, something that fits so well that you feel amazingly confident wearing it.
It could be that you saw a dress style in a magazine which you’d love to wear for your next hot date / friend’s wedding / Christmas party. But you know that you’ll never be able find the perfect fit or the right colour.
What if you could take that researched image or that photo of a store find, and make your own?
Saving these images as inspiration is the first step in research. There will be other things to add in, maybe the zip style isn’t your favourite but you saw a zipper on a jacket at another store that you love. How do you switch it out to make it perfect?
All these little pieces of information – zippers, seam finishes, colours, lengths, style lines – add up to inspiration and research.
This all needs to be complied somewhere so you can easily take it all in, and develop further. If you’re planning on a school application, you’ll want to make it into a design sketchbook. If you’re making some pieces for yourself, a few loose sheets from the printer will work well. (This is what I do, I like to tape them up on a wall in my studio or the desk in my sitting room.)
A mood board is an overall feel of the collection / wardrobe. You’ll pull images from your research which convey a theme or a mood. Maybe it’s quite brightly coloured and Moroccan feeling? Or dark and minimal. These visuals don’t have to be fashion related. They can be an interior shot pulled from a magazine, or a phot from a travel book or a photo you’ve taken while out and about. There’ll be a collection of images that have a certain feeling to them.
Why use a mood board?
Using a mood board helps to keep the overall theme or mood in the front of your mind. If you know that you want a certain feel to the collection, and you have the mood board in front of you, you’re less likely to go off-piste and design something that doesn’t fit with what you want. It’s a great way of staying on track, because with all the visual information we are bombarded with everyday, it can be really hard to stay focused and not change our paths. Too many changes make for a diluted idea, and we don’t want that! Strong collections and individual wardrobes are the aim of this game! 🙂
And then there’s color…
There’s also color to consider. When you’re designing your wardrobe piece or pieces, or that fashion collection for your school portfolio, you really need to consider color early on. A fixed color palette will help you in the same way a good mood board does. If you’re working based on color that suit your skin tone, choose a couple of colors and stick to them. If you’re building a collection, take inspiration from your mood board, or an image in your sketchbook. In a future blog post, I’ll show you how to pull colours from an image to build a color palette. 🙂
Template or Croquis
Finally, you’ll need a template or croquis. This is a line drawing, at a realistic scale – approximately 8 head lengths long! – which you will use to design your collection / wardrobe. For me, I find a relatively naked body in a magazine. Maybe the model is wearing a tigh fitting dress or a swimsuit / underwear. She’s in good proportion and the outline of her body is visible. Using this image, and a sheet of tracing paper, trace over to get a ‘template’ to design on. It will be a rather crude technique, but with practise we get better. We’re really just looking for a proportionate body to design on, to get our ideas generated from all the research out of our heads and onto paper.
These are the very first steps if you want to create your own fashion. Next post, we’ll look at at developing a colour palette for your collection.