People always ask me where I get my inspiration from, and if I ever run out of ideas. The answers are: from everywhere, and running out of ideas is not the problem. The problem is having too many ideas, and not enough time to make them come alive “just so”.
As a professional designer for over a decade, the thing I (still) find the most challenging is the element of choice. To choose where to focus my creative efforts, choose what direction to move froward with, to push and to refine, leaving all the unexplored possibilites behind by necessity.
The truth is that as a creative, my mind is always on, always seeking out inspiration, always spinning new ideas and connections, and always ready to make something new and put it out in the world. I am literally bursting with ideas most of the time, and am always struggling against time, because I never seem to have enough of it to explore all of the ideas in my head and sketchbook.
Let me take you on a quick tour of the design process involved in making The Italian.
STEP 1: THE TRAVEL (AKA, THE EASY PART)
I can’t really convey the essence of a place just by looking at pictures – I have to go there, breathe the air, dig my feet in the sand, eat all the food and immerse myself so totally IN it that it becomes imprinted both in my mind and my heart.
I’ve been to Italy many times, but for this design I wanted to conjure up the feeling of its seaside: driving along its coasts, swimming along its shorelines, and experiencing the feeling of pure joy every time you turn a corner and spot a new beach at the bottom of a cliff, a beautiful little town and the sunlight reflecting off the perfect blue waters.
STEP 2: THE CREATIVE PROCESS (IDEATION)
The first step in my creative process is pulling out my pictures and travel journals for reference, then making inspiration moodboards that capture the general feeling I wish to convey: colours, light, mood, shapes and compositions. I go back to my travel sketchbook for ideas, sketches and notes I made along my travels.
I then allow myself a wide exploration phase, where I play with various mediums, techniques and materials, without getting too attached to the final outcome.
There’s no right or wrong here. The creative process is just that: a process where you must stay open to happy accidents, and where you eventually realize that nothing you think will turn out “just-so”, actually does.
STEP 3: THE CREATIVE PROCESS (DESIGN)
The design phase is where I start making decisions, eliminating parts of my exploration, pushing other parts further, trying out hundreds of variations on colour, composition and details until I get to the final design.
Don’t be fooled by simplicity, folks. Simple ain’t easy. Behind most designs that take only a few seconds for the eye to scan, lie hundreds of hours of work.
STEP 4: PRE-PRODUCTION AND SAMPLING
After finalizing the design, there is a pre-production and sampling phase, where print colours are matched to textile colours, the artwork is prepared for technical production, and I sample the final design onto a variety of fabrics and weaves, until I find the perfect one.
STEP 5: THE FINAL PRODUCT
Whether I’m designing for clients or for myself, there is always an emotional rollercoaster and a process of highs and lows attached to any project. This rollercoaster ride IS the creative process.
It’s made up the highs of the inspiration and creative possibilitIes, the lows of your ideas sometimes not working and having to restart, the stress of feeling blocked and overwhelmed, and the joy of breaking through your fears, doubts and looming deadlines to produce something you truly love and that actually works.
With each new creation, you are putting something new out into the world – something that started out as an abstract flicker of an idea, that you have shared an emotional process with, to which you have an emotional attachment and that is now a real, tangible thing in that actually exists.
I can’t even describe the amazing feeling of bringing one of my Italian babies, inspired by Italy, back to Italy this year.
She is less than one year old, since this time last year he was only a vague idea somewhere in my mind. This year I was able to bring her to the places that inspired me to make her, and she showed her appreciation by keeping my terrible beach-hat hair in check. Win-win 🙂
To see the final collection, visit us below: