Creative Inspiration: Where Does This Come From?

Oct 21, 2019

Creative Inspiration: Where Does This Come From?

As a designer, as a creative, do you find you are asked the same questions asked over and over?

What is your brand?

Where do you sell?

Would I like it?

Is this your brand? (& gestures to your clothing)

What designers do you follow?

The one question that comes up regularly during conversation that I don’t have a seemingly satisfactory answer for.


What designers do you follow?

I love this question because basically they are asking what inspires me.  

The why behind what I do.

 Oooh. how I love this!

And so, I indulge myself.

I start out with, ‘No, I don’t really follow any specific designers…’

A look of horror slowly starts to spread across their face.

But how can that be?  I hear them ask themselves, isn’t that what fashion is all about?  Following trends, following fellow designers and creating your own version of?

‘…There are stores and a few brands that I follow on social media, but it’s more to see what type of content they are posting…’

The horror begins to be replaced with confusion.

And before they can ask where do I find inspiration,

‘…I people watch.  I love to wander and watch and see what people are wearing on the street, how they are wearing it, and look for patterns, or similarities.  Especially tourists…’

Then it seems to kind of make sense to them.

And so I continue.

‘… By patterns I mean, is there a detail that keeps popping up?  Details such as a distinctive leg shaping, the length of a shirt sleeve, or the placement of a pocket.  Tourists will usually be wearing clothing purchased from their home city.  Sometimes that clothing is not available in my city, or the city I’m visiting. 

For example, I saw a Japanese tourist earlier today and she was wearing a North Face Jacket which had a specific taping.  That taping had NORTH FACE JPN woven into it.  You wouldn’t see that here in Vancouver.  The taping caught my attention and then I looked more closely at the jacket.  It had some great detailing on it.  And it was probably only produced for the Japanese market.  Inspiration is everywhere! …’

It is looking and searching for these types of details that intrigue me.  If I see taping detail on a North Face jacket, and then again on pair of trousers and again on a blouse, I can see that taping has become a trend.   There is a pattern to this. 

When you look closer at the detailing (without appearing overly obvious!), you can pick out the tape quality, the actual detail and if it is for function, or fashion.

Please note, that I am not averse to approaching people on the street (or in a bar – see previous blog post! to ask about their clothing.

And, yes, I could also find this whilst flipping through the pages of a glossy magazine or at WGSN, but these garments have already been interpreted by a stylist, for a specific market, and in a certain theme, that is then labelled Streetwear.

Brooklyn Bridge, NYC. A great place for people watching!

I want to see the street version.  The street version where individuals have put their own spin on their clothing.

And so this is who I follow.  I follow the people around us, as they go about their day-to-day.

Any and every city I go to, my eyes are constantly on the look out for something new, something that I see several times such as a new trouser leg shape or a pleated detail that I can interpret into a new way.

This is raw inspiration. 

So, after the horror and the confused facial expressions subside, I am greeted with surprise and knowing and interest.  I’ve piqued their curiosity.

And this starts a deeper conversation about why we do what we do.

So tell me, what designers/fellow creatives do you follow?