12 Ways to be Inspired by a Fashion Designer

I am so excited about participating in the Jean Paul Gaultier challenge hosted by the Dallas Bead Society! His exhibit at the Dallas Museum of Art was so inspiring, I went to see it twice! Since you can’t take pictures, I did my best to soak up inspiration and ideas like a sponge. The challenge is to create a piece of jewelry inspired by his designs, and we were given kits of lace, sequins, and shot gun shells as a jumping off point. Not sure where my design will take me, but I’m looking forward to the journey!

My amazingly inspiring coffee table book, The Fashion World of Jean Paul Gaultier: From the Sidewalk to the Catwalk

Here are my top 12 ways you can be inspired by your favorite fashion designer:

  1. Color Palette
  2. This is the most obvious, but look not only at the color choices, but at the proportions of each color. Also the texture and finishes of each color.

  3. Materials
  4. Take a look at what materials are used. maybe the buttons, zippers, or snaps are used in a unique way. You can interpret the fabric texture as well ex. lacy, thick, thin, smooth, rough etc.

  5. Coordinating Piece
  6. Take your favorite design and make a piece of jewelry that would go with it.

  7. Pattern
  8. Interpret their fabric pattern choices in literal and non-literal ways. ex. Gaultier used a lot of plaid in one of his collections, and I created a plaid, flat peyote cuff Maybe a pattern reminds you of a summer garden, so create a piece with that theme.

  9. Use their Muse
  10. Find out what your favorite designer is inspired by, and let those themes inspire you as well. Gaultier was inspired by Paris, fusions of culture that seemingly did not go together, the idea of multi-gendered clothes, and Metropolis.

  11. Styling
  12. Focus on the hair and make up of the model, and ponder what kind of girl she must be. Think about how her shoes or accessories add or take away from the image. Take literal and non-literal cues that inspire you, and create a piece for her.

  13. Cut
  14. Analyze the cut and silhouette of the garment and translate it into your design. ex. wide shoulders, deep v-neck, corset, a-line skirt etc.

  15. Trends
  16. View your favorite designers current collection and see what current trends you can find in their work. Current trends include stripes, pastels, all white, chunky bangles, lace, military, urban jungle/ethnic prints, and this summer we’ll see roaring 20s and track and field themes.

  17. Architecture/Structure
  18. Analyze the way the designer “builds” a garment. Wire, cardboard, pliable metal, flexible plastic, and lightweight glass are all appearing on the catwalk. Notice the fins, exaggerated collars, dramatic headpieces, shaped skirts and sleeves and create a piece inspired by fashion architecture.

  19. Combinations
  20. Analyze how the designer combines elements from different eras and puts his/her own unique twist on it. Create a piece of jewelry with your take on their combinations.

  21. Collections
  22. Fashion designers create in terms of a collection, and this idea opens the door for more designs to be created. For example, you can take a motif or component of a necklace, and recreate it/use it in a new way for a bracelet or earrings. The key in this area is play.

  23. Critique & Edit
  24. Fashion designers get all kinds of feedback and they accept some and dismiss some. Before a garment gets to the runway, the designer will edit out superfluous elements or add elements in to create a more cohesive look. I find the same approach helpful for jewelry designers. Stand back from your work and really look at it objectively. You can also show it to someone whose opinion you trust and who will be gentle with your blossoming idea. It’s good to improve on your idea, but don’t beat yourself up to the point where your piece never sees the light of day. Get it out there and show it off your awesome creativity!

    La Mariée wedding gown, Gaultier haute couture fall/winter 2002-2003 I love to get lost in this design, and I see something new every time I do.

    What do you think? Who’s your favorite fashion designer? Is there another way you get inspiration from him or her that I haven’t mentioned? Please share with us in the comments!

{ 3 comments… add one }
  • avatar Katrien May 2, 2012, 12:56 pm

    First of all I wish you lots of luck with this project!
    My favorite designer is a Belgian one; Nicky Vankets, he does dresses and jewelry.

  • avatar Mandi Ainsworth May 2, 2012, 12:58 pm

    Awesome, Katrien! I will check him out :) Thanks for stopping by and leaving a comment.

  • avatar Lisa May 20, 2012, 6:50 pm

    Hey Mandi, I’m new to the beading world and have made just a few projects and your post has been really inspiring…thanx a lot and keep up the goodwork.

  • avatar seragam sekolah September 13, 2016, 6:58 am

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