Last year I did a 30-day challenge to draw a new design based on a random object. I found photos of items, such as a vacuum cleaner or a lipstick, and quickly sketched a garment. I decided to take this challenge further in 2015 and am currently sketching a new dress everyday.
Below are just a few examples of my work. And what a fun quick activity! I usually do my sketch in the evening and it is proving to be a lovely end to a busy day. I open my sketchbook and instead of being intimidated by the blankness of the page, I am excited with what is going to come up as my design for the day.
So, while this is a scheduled activity, I find that my creativity does not suffer. Rather, the opposite is true. I review my designs and push myself to focus on details more or to design a more complex silhouette. I also test out different tools - some sketches are done in illustration markers, others are in colored pencils. Yes, some of them combine both of those with a black pen for the sketch outline.
Innovation in fashion design is essential as designers push the boundaries of creativity. One of such designers, a personal favorite of mine, is Iris van Herpen.
This Dutch fashion designer studied at Artez Institute of the Arts Arnhem and interned at Alexander McQueen in London, and Claudy Jongstra in Amsterdam. She has many design awards and is a guest member of the prestigious Parisian Chambre Syndicale de la Haute Couture.
Herpen is known for exploring the latest technology (e.g., she has a collection of 3D printed shoes) and investigating how to implement innovation into her work. My favorite endeavor of hers is the water dress project. Herpen worked with Daphne Guiness and Nick Knight and they studied how water acts when thrown on a body. The varied shapes were captured by camera and computerized. You can see a photo from the project below. In the end, Herpen created a dress in which she ultimately 'crystallized' water and turned it into a dress.
SHOWstudio made a lovely short documentary about this project called "Splash! - Iris Van Herpen: Process Film." You can view it here.
I love when elements of our lives and our surroundings inspire new ideas and push creative adventures forward. Herpen's water dress is indeed a huge push into the future of fashion design.
I love walking and hiking in local parks is one of my favorite weekend afternoon activities. As I wander through woods and across meadows, I take in colors and shapes around me. I often take photos of an interesting detail, such as a shape of a leaf or a texture on a tree's bark.
As the weather is getting warmer, I am venturing out more often. I just took a lovely relaxing walk at the Seneca Creek State Park and took a photo of the sun setting. Photos such as these often drive my fashion design work. I am constantly amazed by the color combinations found in nature and the interaction of horizontal and vertical shapes.
I got home and while sipping tea, I sketched a new dress inspired by the picture. The sun's round shape informs the cut of the neckline. The line of the trees that breaks up the sky and the water is the waist line. The hazy look of the cloudy sky and the shimmer of the water are reflected in the gathers around the neckline, bottom of the top and the skirt. I also added lace insert around the armholes. And the color scheme? It is also inspired by the colors from the photo - I used black and dark blue.
One can never really escape creativity, right? I just love to be enjoying an activity, such as hiking, and at the same time to keep my creative mood top of mind.
As a fashion designer, I need to be able to communicate my ideas visually. I draw and redraw a design constantly to arrive at the best idea and solution. I study fabrics and sketch them using various media to properly capture the drape, texture, and color.
It is also essential to draw the fashion figure in a way that best expresses the design idea and the mood of the garment or the whole collection. I have been focusing on developing my fashion illustration and for the past several months I have attended a weekly live model painting sessions at a local college.
Below are several of my sketches. I so enjoy the class! It is quiet as all attendees focus on the model's pose and capturing it on paper. The models - both female and male - do a lot of poses for various lengths of time. Some last a minute; others 30 minutes.
I enjoy taking a moment to just watch the body, the pose, and the tension of the muscles. I then outline the general shape and carefully start filling in the shades and shadows of the lamps above the model.
A lot of the time I spend on capturing the whole body. Sometimes, however, I just draw a body part, such as an arm of a leg. In the time allotted for a particular pose, I may do two or three sketches of the arm and try to use a different technique to draw the same elements.
I am looking forward to many more sessions in this art class. And I am looking forward to see my progress over time. And ultimately, I believe my sketching skills will translate well into my fashion design work.
Box pleats are one of the most treasured details in fashion design. They can be adjusted to different sizes; the wider the pleat, the more fabric gets folded over and the stronger the effect of each pleat.
I often incorporate box pleats in my design work. And this dress is an example of how the pleats can dress up a garment. I needed a dress for a formal afternoon event. I bought a nice medium-weight fabric in burgundy and black. The top of the dress meets two box pleats at waistline. The eye goes directly to these 3" pleats - they opened up away from the waist and provide a wonderful drape and movement to the bottom of the skirt.
The view shows you how box pleats work from the side. The fabric is flat and close to the body but the fold still creates interesting design detail and visually elongates the body. On the body, I inserted a long dart to shape it along the spine curve. As on the front, the back has two large box pleats.
I very much enjoyed wearing this dress to the event! The dress was comfortable and the silhouette made me feel well put-together. The pleats just add such classy feel to it!
"I haven't been everywhere, but it's on my list."
That indeed is an ambitious goal but it summarizes wanderlust in the simplest, yet deepest way. Traveling is a great passion of mine and I find a simple change in my environment can significantly affect how I see the world around me. So, why do I travel?
I travel to open my eyes of the beauty of nature. The shapes, the colors, the textures - there is magic everywhere you look. My eyes and my heart, with its endless space for learning, fill up with the beauty to cherish forever.
I travel to look up at the sky and dream. As clouds travel across, I realize the passing of time and the need to care for each and every moment. When the sky is clear, I hold dear the ultimate simplicity of life.
I travel to get my feet wet. Stepping into a river and feeling the coolness of water on my feet makes me alert. Water - whether moving rapidly or resting lazily - is a source of life.
My travel bucket list does not seem to be shorter. Like Susan Sontag, I will keep it open to all possibilities. Why do you travel? Let me know!
Brrr ... It has been a cold winter! But Spring is coming and you can always celebrate it by dressing up in a colorful dress! So, here is another one of my designs - a little dress perfect for the warmer weather.
When I designed this dress, I wanted to let the fabric stand out. It is so lovely and full of vibrant energy. Hence, I choose to go with a simple, yet classic silhouette. The darts in the front and on the back accentuate the waist. The sleeves hit right above the elbows.
The fabric's pattern goes from darker to lighter - the top of the dress has the darker portion and right around the waist, the flower imprint gets less intense and slowly fades out towards the hem. I really like the visual interest this transition in the pattern gives to the dress and its shape.
But while I love for my designs to be uncluttered, I also love an interesting detail - something that sets the design apart from other dresses. I inserted imitation leather in brown, which goes nicely with the hints of brown in the fabric, into the front top and into the sleeves. The straight lines of the inserts contrast with the more fluid of the flower pattern and pull a viewer's eyes up to the neckline.
Are you ready for Spring? I am. And I will be wearing this dress!
Beige Silk Suit with Pleated Sleeves, a Bow, and Rhinestone Clip at Cuff (1940). Lilli Ann was a clothing company that was started in San Francisco, California in 1934 by Adolph Schuman, and named for his wife Lillian.
I inherited love for nature from my family. I love going for walks, enjoying the fresh air, looking up at the sun, and enjoying the great colors around me. I often bring my camera and document interesting textures and patterns - they inspire me in my fashion design work.
My parents enjoy trips to the forests around Prague. And like me, my Mom, often snatches a photo of her surroundings. And she sends these photos to me. So, today you can enjoy the wonderful colors of winter in the Czech republic. I can almost feel the cold air, the sun's rays on my face, and the sounds the ground makes when I walk on it.
Our surroundings are just so fascinating to me. Looking at these photos, I learn about how vertical elements (e.g., trees) interact with the horizontal elements (e.g., ground, sky) of the nature. The interaction inspires my thinking when it comes to fashion design. I can apply the elements I see in nature to designing a dress. For instance, balance of colors in these photos can affect how I design a color-blocking dress - how much each layer/color of fabric holds up within a design.
Do you go for a walk and are ever inspired by by shapes/colors in a project of your own? Do you paint? Or, work with wood? What inspires you?
Claude Monet certainly sealed his place in the art world - his 1872 painting "Impression, Sunrise" gave name to a whole artistic movement, his water lily paintings are admired around the world, and his Giverny estate opens its doors to about half a million visitors each year.
I am mostly interested in Monet's passion for light - he was both so patient in his study of this phenomenon and truly driven to capture it as his heart felt it and eyes saw it. And for me, sunrises and sunsets were crucial for his learning of light.
Don't we all love them too? A lovely sunrise makes our day, gives us energy and positive outlook. When we travel, we often venture to destinations known for breath-taking sunsets. We search for what Claude Monet was looking for during his own life - for that special moment when the natural light embraces its surroundings and brings them to life. So, let's take a look at how art is still alive through photos I took during my travels.
Sunrises ... When I went to Jamaica and later to Belize, I enjoyed the sunrises. I remember pausing on an early morning walk, looking up, and enjoying the sun breaking above the horizon and slowly moving up and warming up the land. I can imagine Monet standing on a river bank, with his brushes and paints, quickly capturing the flickering of sun rays across the water.
Sunsets ... After a day of busyness and activity, a colorful sunset is the perfect calming moment. The sun's heat is not as strong; the rays not as sharp. Clouds in the sky embrace the sun and take on new colors - rich orange, dark brown, pink, blue ...
What is your favorite place to view a sunrise or a sunset? Do you pause to enjoy these? Share your experiences!
Welcome! My textile/fashion design brand RADOST™ (Czech) is all about JOY (English).
In the blogs, I bring you thoughts on textile and fashion design, art, and travel.
Check back often, as creativity never sleeps (well, almost never) and surround yourself with joy!