Did you ever wonder what a fashion designer finds so fascinating about designing? Since I am married to a designer and that my business partner is also a designer, and since designing was part of my every life I never fully understood until recently when I started to really pay attention as I watched them work at their craft. Paying special notice as they worked, (my part in fashion designing revolves around shopping for pleasure). I asked them the question.
My business partner Nicole gave me some food for thought with her quick response of it when it came to designing she enjoys it immensely. One of her passions is leather handbags. Designing for her has nothing to do with trend setting. It is more like having fun letting the color, fabric, shapes come together to express an idea or a set of mind she may be in. Lines are of great interest to her, they can change much of the design with a slight degree of modification or a curve. The materials she chooses to use are for her interesting, if you use pastel color chiffon in designing a dress you get a dress that has a lot of fluidity and moves with the woman wearing it. Try the same design with a different fabric and you have fashioned a totally different look. Even if the lines are the same the final result will not be the same I guess it comes down to creating and how we all see things in our own way.
She went on to say that at least for her the creating part of it is hard to explain because it is subjective, it can be related to a given time, a certain place, your temperament and what your idea about what fashion should be. Anything that she created at any specific time would probably not be created the same now today since we all evolve and grow.
On the other hand my husband Renald who tends to be a little eccentric believes that some aspects of designing are based solely on inspiration. Example: the specific shape may not be the first source of inspiration for him but a color may be his inspiration.
If we take a look at fashion from the past, we can somewhat understand how the sixties and seventies were inspired by the need to shock. Remember the flower children during the sixties how they dressed. With such artists as John Lennon and Yoko Ono doing such things as a “Bed In” the young people took notice and had a need to show solidarity with them.
The designers of the time in his opinion knew that this generation needed and wanted very Peace oriented clothing. This to him was their way of making a statement about the war in Vietnam and he believes this to be one way of sticking it to the establishment. Designers used a lot of bright, vibrant colors and shapes that were non conventional. Haircuts went from clean cut to long and hanging and a bit greasy. The women’s movement had a huge impact on the direction that society took. Women were part of the working force unlike their mothers who stayed home and took care of the children and their husbands. These women became a consumer that earned their own wages and whose time had come to make a difference. The nineties brought back some more refined design ideas. Even traditions like getting married instead of living in communes or living with different partners was back in style. The fashion designers of today brought back styles from that specific era. When we are out shopping we cannot count the times we have looked at a piece of clothing only to say to each other do you remember wearing this? How very retro. Without doing a profound and elaborate study we can easily understand how it works. If Coco Channel lived in this specific time her designs would not be the same as they were when she was the most famous designer in the world. Her designs would probably be just as contradictory as they were back then.
From what I believe to be in my humble opinion that whether one is creating a handbag, a purse, a leather jacket, an evening gown, fashion jewelry, or even a building I believe that the process is the same. It is impacted and guided by the same reasons such as specific events and the times in which we live. The item being designed is not the most important factor. To my understanding it is a choice of a specific. It is guided by personal interests. The person designing a building for example is influenced by the same events as the clothing designer. Society has the same needs and reacts to the changes taking course which in turn also influence the designer. If the designer was not in harmony with his surroundings he has to know the needs of society. If this is true then would the designers have more difficulty in working their magic to create if they were not in touch? Is a painter or sculptor not inspired by many of the same things? It would be fascinating to find out the answer. Maybe next time I will ask one or two of them these same questions and maybe compare answers