Aside from a very condensed version of design process on Project Runway, most people aren’t familiar with all of the steps that go into creating a finished look – especially a finished denim look. As part of our series of Explained posts on The Habit, we’re going into the details of the denim design process. From wash development, to perfecting the fit, to creating a sample and finally hitting retail, there are many steps in creating a pair of jeans. But before any design can begin to take shape, a designer has to be inspired.
Gathering inspiration is a constant practice, and it can come from anywhere – great photographs, the texture of fabrics, a stylish person, artwork, music, architecture, nature – really anything that we see or feel in the world around us. Designers are required to be sponges, soaking up as much of this inspiration as possible.
When the beginning of a calendar season comes around, the design team is tasked with putting together a “collection”, a cohesive group of pieces that represents our vision for the line, yet also carries market appeal. At that point, usually more than a year in advance, we have to focus in on our favorite bits of collected inspiration to draw out major trends in fabrics, silhouettes, washes, and colors for the given season. We check our tastes against macro trends in society, and look at what’s on the runway, what is chosen for magazine shoots, and what trend services are saying. We can then pull a series of images that support the product and design direction we’d like to go in for the line. Out of habit, we gather these images into an inspiration board, which serves as a constant reference as we start to create specific looks.
Even after we have a sense of what the product will look like for the season, inspiration continues to play a key role throughout the entire process. We are constantly looking at blogs, magazines, tumblr accounts, trend services, and the world around us to reconfirm that our inspirations for the current line are hitting the mark. When all is said and done, the goal is for the product to hit stores right as the trends are starting and never too late.