Episode 49: 3 places to find inspiration that don't include social media
Research, creative practice, inspiration, art galleries, vintage, film, creativity
Welcome to the Fashion Unearthed podcast. If you need help navigating the fashion industry sustainably, you have come to the right place. I'm your host Belinda Humphrey and my hope is to simplify the fashion industry so that businesses can make the best decisions for people, planet and product.
Hello, and welcome to episode 49 of the Fashion Unearthed Podcast. Today, I wanted to touch on something that sometimes seems a bit vague when it comes to the creative process. But a quick reminder before I get into that, about my monthly newsletter, which is full of inspiring articles and information about what's happening in fashion with regards to sustainability, and also other interesting things happening in this space. So if that sounds like something you're interested in, and I promise I won't spam you with heaps of emails, (I'm not that organised) you can sign up to that by heading to belindahumphrey.com .
So what I wanted to talk about a little bit today is inspiration. It sometimes seems a bit vague, and often we can see a finished piece or design and then see or read about what the inspiration was, and it can be hard to see the connection. But how can we define inspiration? much like a lot of the creative practices or processes, sometimes it's hard to describe because a lot of this isn't overtly logical. It's more of a combination of a positive feeling or being drawn to something and interested enough to explore and research it and while it can sometimes arrive suddenly as an idea or a flash of inspiration it often doesn't. But it's much more reliable to try and establish some sort of routine of researching and collecting that will continually feed and stimulate your imagination. Rather than waiting until you need to start a range or a collection, try to set up a process of regularly researching, documenting and storing ideas or things you find. Even just stopping to think about what it is you're drawn to and why. As someone who has worked as a creative and in the creative industries for 20 years, that bolt of inspiration is overrated. It's more about constantly collecting and scanning and just being aware of, yeah, what you like.
Where to actually look for inspiration is a common question I get asked by people i'm working with and aside from the obvious trade shows, social media, which can have you unintentionally looking similar to everyone else, I wanted to mention three areas you can look at for ideas and inspiration to help you establish your own aesthetic.
The first one is museums and art galleries. This is great, because it's not linked to fashion, it kind of sits outside of fashion. Although it's within the creative space, it gets you away from looking at things too literally and you really have to work to understand what you're liking about something. I find a lot of great colour combinations in artwork, and it's a great space to really think about what you're drawn to and how everything's put together and the amounts of colours used within artworks in particular in paintings. A good little tip is to sign up to the galleries newsletters, particularly the international ones or ones that aren't physically close to you that you can actually go to. That way you can stay up to date with what they're showing, and it can just give you a little bit more inspiration and you might see an artist or an artwork that you are drawn to and then you can still go and research that particular artist.
The second one is vintage, whether that's vintage pieces, or vintage magazines, going back into the archives is a great way to remember forgotten silhouettes or details. I remember when I did a design course at night at Central Saint Martins when I lived in London, and they had a massive Vogue collection in their library, I want to say that they had every Vogue, but I'm not sure if that's true, so I won't. But I remember them having a very enviable collection and wanting to spend so much more time in the library that I had. A good little tip here is to research vintage clothing fairs that happen particularly in America and Europe and then see some of the stallholders and then sign up to the newsletters. And that way you kind of get a little bit of a sporadic injection of vintage inspiration without having to travel.
Finally, the third one is film. A lot of time goes into the wardrobes of films and they often act like a bit of a visual time capsule. Take the movie Clueless. I mean that was released in mid 90s and if you look at some of the pieces that have been reimagined and put into collections now, in this example, you can see sort of a direct correlation. The pleated miniskirt for example was reimagined by Mui Mui in the Spring Summer 22 collection by making it Ultra Mini and low waist. So if you're drawn to a particular time or era it can help to revisit some of those popular films to see how the characters were addressing.
The key point here, though, is that it was reimagined, it had similarities, in this case, the pleating, but the length wasn't the same and the way it was styled wasn't the same either, for example, the lower socks in the Mui Mui collection, not knee highs, and it was put back with a cropped knit rather than a vest and a blazer. The creative process and way of collating information and inspiration needs to come from multiple inputs. Creativity is often about combining things in new ways making new connections. So the more inputs you have, and even time you allow yourself to develop ideas, the better the outputs usually are.
Early on in the podcast series in Episode Seven, I interviewed Dr. Marion Piper and we talked about how to find creativity in captivity and for context, we were in and out of lockdowns in Melbourne at that time. But if this is something that's interesting to you, you might want to revisit that episode. She offers creativity coaching as well, which again, sounds vague, but I've done a couple of sessions and it really helps to, I guess get me unstuck and feel refreshed and start looking at things a new.
As a recap the three areas to find inspiration that isn't social media, museums and art galleries, vintage and films. And I'd love to know where you normally find inspiration or what kind of creative processes you have. You can send me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org or direct message me or DM me on Instagram @belindahumphrey_ and as always, you'll find the show notes and any links on the website in the podcast section. Thanks so much for listening. See you next time.
Disclaimer: Whilst every effort is made to ensure that information is accurate at the time of recording, much like the fashion industry itself, this information may change.