How to Find Inspiration | Creative Thinking in Fashion Design


Where does inspiration come from?

One of the most fascinating topics of fashion design is where the inspiration comes from for a collection. From a fashion critic's perspective or even a customer’s, it can make or break how they feel about a collection. 

So where did I get my inspiration for my Fall/Winter 2020 collection?

Creative minds take inspiration from different places. I’ve had mentors who rely on the fabric to tell them what to do. 

Other designers may look at nature, their environment, the streets. You can find things we may not usually combine. Jeans and lace, fur and color, big boots and summer dresses. 

It could be one's own culture or someone else’s culture that they find inspiring. For example, the use of Japanese kimonos or African prints.

Designers can look at architectural sights and take inspiration from elegant lines to create airy silhouettes.

Fashion Design Architecture Inspiration. Emily Westenberger

Or interior design. I looked at a lot of modern vintage interiors for my personal collection. 

Modern Vintage Interior. Fashion Design Inspiration. Emily Westenberger Blog

Some people have crazy inspirations like dreams. Or art. Or photography. 

Some people deal with the past, traditional values, heritage, legacy, their country. Think Ralph Lauren or Alexander McQueen. 

Alexander McQueen Tartan. Fashion Design Inspiration. Emily Westenberger

They look at traditional clothes. It could be a kilt or kaftan and they modernize it or renew it. Or they embrace classics. 

Some deal with present time. They have their finger on the pulse. They know the zeitgeist or spirit of the times and use that to determine what they create.

Avant Garde designers who deal with the future and looking forward at what fashion may be. They make you question what you already think you know. They’re very artistic and innovative. 

You could get inspiration from texture, scents, everyday observations. We all perceive things differently and beautiful designs can be born out of making these connections. 

I think my personal creative process for my latest collection is somewhere in between all of this. I pull from very nostalgic photographs and old magazine ads from the 1960s and 70s. 

But I’m also inspired by the modern woman and how I can use what has worked in the past to fit her needs today. I think of this style as modern vintage, and I would say it is very much my brand. 

I would not consider the woman I dress to be Avant Garde. I focus on wearability, but I do consider the future of fashion in my creative process. 

When I began putting together my first collection, I was trying to find my niche. Throughout the process, I talked to a bunch of different women. I found that throughout all the chaos of over saturation of information, there is not a lot in fashion that you can do today that is off limits, but as far as what the average woman wants to wear, it can be very simple. Classic, timeless, and elegant silhouettes seem to be the most coveted. Trends will come and go, but a focus on what is wearable is very important. 

I kept this idea in my mind when developing each style and manifesting the collection. 

I also created mood board and pulled swatches after producing my sketches

Fashion Design Sketches Inspiration. Emily Westenberger Blog

I am inspired by this modern vintage woman who is so chic but yet simple and elegant. 

I focused on fit, fabrics, and colors that make a woman feel comfortable, but you could still look elegant and dress the styles up for daytime or night time. 

I lined the pieces with a silky soft satin that feels so good on the skin. I used woven fabrics with slightly oversized fits for movement. I dropped armholes seams and added pleats not only on the outside but in the lining as well. 

I decided to produce everything in Los Angeles in my own studio. There is too much going on in the fashion industry that makes me uneasy as far as people taking advantage of other people in sweatshop-like environments. But that’s a topic for another day. I wanted to have control over production. 

That’s where my inspiration came from. If you have questions about what I discussed today, I’d love to hear about it in the comments and start a new blog/video about it. Next week I will be discussing mood boards, how to make them, and what role they play in fashion design. 

You can watch the full video on YouTube:

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