Left: original sketch / Right: on the runway (photo: Randy Brooke)
Lots of people have asked me about my design process and how I get from concept to runway. Well, it's a long and often challenging road with bumps (and sometimes giant pot holes) along the way. But, in facing challenges and solving problems, designers come up with some pretty great stuff. What happens at 3.30 am when you realize you've underestimated the yardage you had left of a certain fabric? Get creative. Think outside the box and work with what you have because buying more fabric at 3.30 in the morning is not an option and finishing the piece tomorrow, when stores are open, would be too late.
Left: houndstooth trench on the runway (model: Danielle, photo: Randy Brooke) / Right: coat on WendyB
So, quite often, we (designers) change our original ideas, if only just slightly, to either solve a problem or just because we thought of something a little bit cooler along the way. For me, I find one of the advantages to doing all of my own fabric research, draping and sewing is that I have total control over the entire design process. Absolute freedom -- such is not the case when working under another company's corporate structure.
bouclé cape on the runway (model: Que / photo: Randy Brooke)
backstage... (model: Que / photo: Randy Brooke)
I am an extremely visual person, but I tend to work better three dimensionally rather than through a sketch, so some of the creativity happens on the figure during the draping process. Draping is dimensional, it's "hands on," tangible. Things can happen on the form that can't always happen in a sketch. Proportion becomes more distinguishable, volume is gauged better, shape is more discernible. Therefore, adjustments, additions and enhancements take place and I deviate from the original sketch a little bit.
Left: long coat, houndstooth shorts and handknit scarf on the runway (model: Alexandra, photo: Randy Brooke)
Right: back view of same coat in lookbook shoot (model: Caitlin Sloat, photo: Shane LaVancher)
Sometimes, I don't bother to give much detail or color to a sketch at all. I just have a general idea of what I want, in my mind's eye, and I wait until I can refine the piece -- psychically, on the mannequin. I've whipped up fabulous ideas on airport napkins, receipts or the back of a business card just to quickly get a concept recorded before I forget. I guess it's kind of like being a comedian who quickly jots down a 'bit' before it escapes their mind. Even when they wake up in the middle of the night...