Where do you find your inspiration? Here are a few pointers to get your inspiration going.
Who, What, Why, How
Ask yourself the question WHY. Why does this product exist, what should it do to the person who uses it and how should the person that wears it feel?
The human body itself plays a big role as well, because the garments you design will be used by a person/body. The garments should facilitate the wearer’s experience. For example, the pockets should be in the right place for you to be able to put your hands in, and the sleeves should be cut in a certain way so that you can move properly, etc.
Try to have a “no bullshit” approach in the design phase. Keep it simple and user-friendly.
Everything can inspire you. Life, simple things, a conversation on the bus between two strangers, architecture, the material itself, photography, behavioral patterns, and illustrated picture books. Try to see what’s NOT there as much as you see what is.
Are there opportunities and things that can easily be improved, for example the service in a shop, or the making and finishing on a product, or someone’s way to say hello? That’s when you go WTF…
Look And See!
Take a lot of pictures wherever you go. You don’t have to look at them all the time, but you know where to find them if you need to. Pics of shadows, materials, birds, flowers, faces, outfits, packaging, structures, patterns, nature itself, lighting, EVERYTHING that you go “OH” about. The only thing you need to do is to LOOK and SEE, it’s all out there and it’s free. Force yourself to look in other fields than apparel, otherwise your designs will end up looking like someone else’s…. and that you do not want! The products you design need to somehow “speak” YOU. You can draw your ideas first, with old-school pen on paper. The lines need to come freely and never be forced. If it feels forced, work on something else till the lines “come to you” naturally.
Keep a notebook with you at all times. Write stuff, draw stuff, and tape things in them. It can be very inspiring to flip through old notebooks from time to time.
Keep It Personal
Keep the designing personal. You are your own muse in a way. If you need to design a trail running short, you know what a trail runner needs from a short, since you are a trail runner yourself. If you are not your own customer then you are in deep trouble. You could argue that you will look at the product development with fresh eyes and see problems from different angles, but you can never put yourself in a trail runners state of mind and body, while running if you’ve never run on a trail. You will never be able to understand the features, the feeling someone needs to have in your garment or by using your product. Let your designs “speak” you and be your own customer.
Steal With Pride…
Everybody copies in one way or another. Nothing is new under the sun as they say. But what’s new is the way YOU combine things you have seen and registered. Hopefully you improve what you have seen, otherwise theres no point in doing it at all. So do “borrow” from others, tweak it, improve it, add the “you” to it and congratulations, you are an innovator!
If you get tired, learn to rest not to quit.
Stop Thinking And Start Doing
Get the hand going and start doodling. Just put those lines on the paper. Don’t overthink and let the hand do the drawing. It is always better to have more drawings than you end up using
Go For A Run Or A Walk
Of course, you get stuck from time to time. The design won’t “come” to you and you don’t know how to solve a problem or improve a solution. The best way to not force things, and open up your brain’s thinking, is to go for a run, or a bike ride, or for a walk, or something similar that you prefer. It works wonders! Maybe it is the fresh air, or the blood flow that gets going?
Make it a habit
Always look for inspiration around you. Make it habit to sketch and gather stuff you like. Keep a file of inspiration pics or drawing to have handy for new collections. This way you will have a flying start when it is time to design.
A designer’s brain is always on. It’s always registering and seeing things. The intake doesn’t run on a clock or in-between 9-5. It’s constantly on, looking and mixing things up, connecting different ends and sometimes puts them in new interesting outcomes. Ask yourself why you like or dislike stuff, and learn from the answer.
There you go, as you can see, it’s pretty simple. Just LOOK, SEE, SENSE, and REGISTER. Now go make amazing things with that information!