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Fashion design: inspiration and concept.

Designers can be inspired by many different things. Usually it is something they have seen. Maybe in the studio or at the book store or while waiting for a bus or sitting in a dentist's office. Inspiration can also come from a song or a situation or a great lunch. Whatever it is and wherever it comes from, it isn't inspiration until it triggers some kind of response and forces you to the drawing board.

When I began designing my first line of handbags, my inspirations were color and the beach. Hoping to find new and interesting ways of putting colors and prints together, I set out to make a collection of summer tote bags. I decided to keep the outside of the bags simple, saving the printed fabric for the inside lining. Since I was making a collection for summer, I had to choose materials and colors that were fitting to that time of year.

For materials, I had to make sure that I used something that was not uncomfortable to wear in hot weather and something that would be durable whether you are bringing your bag to the beach or using it on a daily basis.

When thinking about the colors I should use, I wanted to go with brighter shades instead of dark colors that may be more appropriate for a fall or winter collection. The color palette is very important when you are trying to represent a season.

With the season and color palette set, I began making sketches of various designs. I found myself covering the walls of my studio with pages I had torn from magazines, old receipts, cards from friends, in fact, anything I came across that I thought might inspire me along the way. I remember, one day getting a receipt at a nearby store. This was no ordinary receipt. When the paper in a receipt printer starts to run out it makes pinkish-red lines on the white paper. I saw pink and white stripes. This immediately made it to the wall. I could already see the receipt as one of my prints.

Often, designers will also create a "concept board" which includes the same types of materials they hang on their walls. A concept board is a collection of images and can be a great way to present your ideas to others. Not only will it show your inspiration, it will also describe the thinking behind each design as well as the colors you want to use.

After sketching many ideas, I finally chose the one I liked the most and the one I thought made the most sense. A designer should always think about the person who will use what they create and who better to test it on than yourself. How would I feel wearing or carrying this bag? And how would it feel against my shoulder? When I'm happy with the final product, I'm fairly confident that others will enjoy it as well.

Although creating designs can be exciting and rewarding, it takes dedication and a great deal of hard work. However, when you see that first finished bag and more importantly see someone you don't even know carrying it around, all the effort is more than worth it. This is one of the best parts of being a designer.

So, now, I leave it up to you. Find something that inspires you and hit the drawing board. Carry around a small sketch book so that you can jot down your ideas when they occur to you. If you believe in your vision, with hard work and dedication, you can turn your ideas into something truly great!
COPYRIGHT 2006 International Child Art Foundation
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Copyright 2006, Gale Group. All rights reserved. Gale Group is a Thomson Corporation Company.

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Author:Macaulay, Charlotte
Date:Jan 1, 2006
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