Today I had my first design process class at NYSD. Rather than start with a garment that inspires me and around which I create a total look, now I must learn to create from a concept. Our first assignment is to identify a setting that will become our concept and then find and bring pictures (that do not include clothes) that visually convey the essence and details of the setting. From this we will draw our inspiration for the garments we wish to design.

As I began my assignment about a concept, I found myself drawn to a book containing photos of abandoned spaces in Japan. Outlines of rooms, architectural details, possessions, flashes of color and curtain-less windows that are letting in beautiful light remain. You can see in and you can see out. There is transparency,  Rather than design something entirely new (although whether anything is ever entirely new in fashion is an open question, ask Diet Prada), I find inspiration in these places that were once full of life as shown by the objects and remnants left behind. They seem to be waiting for what could come next. They are not fighting, they are waiting. They are sad places but also hopeful places. I think they seem to capture something of how I feel about the times we are living in now.

Fashion and style are ways to convey what and how we feel about our identity, our culture and the historical context we live in, as Alessandro Michele of Gucci did with his most recent collection (like it or not).  I have to say, as strange as it was, it was refreshing to see that someone had in fact an interesting idea about the world we are living in now and conveyed it through his design rather than the relentless commercialism of NYFW,  So I take inspiration from this designer for taking on his “red”, and not being afraid.  As the month of “red” ends and we move towards Spring I feel excited to see what garments may actually emerge from my flashes of color and curtain-less rooms.

How have you been taking on your “red” during the month of red?