Thinking Like a Designer

Thinking Like a Designer

Thinking Like a Designer | The Cutting Class.

In this final round-up post about the articles from 2015, we’ve gathered together some food for thought if you are about to become a fashion designer, or fashion design student yourself. From sketching designs to communicating with pattern makers these 2015 articles give you an insight into the analytical mindset of a designer. Does the toile match the sketch? Are you translating the idea correctly into the pattern? Where do you draw the line when using deconstruction to express a concept? Is the balance of fabrics right in the collection?

Thinking Like a Designer | The Cutting Class. Cristóbal Balenciaga images from the 1950s and 1960s.

Cristóbal Balenciaga images from the 1950s and 1960s showing sketches and final garments.

Translating Designs from Sketches: Gravity and Proportion

Beautiful fashion sketches are often shown as part of the romanticised process of designing a garment, but while it can be difficult to illustrate an idea on paper, it can be harder still to turn that sketch into an actual garment. One of the skills that a fashion designer must develop is the ability to translate a design from a sketch or technical drawing into a real garment while retaining the feeling of the original idea and preserving the proportions of the design.

Thinking Like a Designer | The Cutting Class. Christopher Kane, AW15, London.

Christopher Kane, AW15, London.

Life Drawing at Christopher Kane

As a designer, the way that you actually draw or illustrate your designs can be highly influential in the actual designs that you create. For his Autumn-Winter 2015 collection, Christopher Kane appears to have been highly aware of the way that drawing impacts his own garment designs and so the act of sketching, drawing and capturing the movement of the human figure became the basis for the concept behind the collection.

Thinking Like a Designer | The Cutting Class. Dries Van Noten, SS16, Paris.

Dries Van Noten, SS16, Paris.

Coordinated Chaos at Dries Van Noten

A few years ago now we did an article that asked How Many Fabrics in the Dries Van Noten Show? and laid out the collection as swatches. Since the Dries Van Noten show for Spring-Summer 2016 was again filled with an amazing range of different prints, colours and textures it seemed like time to do this exercise again, and to this time explain how looking at a collection in this way almost takes you back to the initial design stages of a collection.

Thinking Like a Designer | The Cutting Class. Noir Kei Ninomiya, SS16, Paris.

Noir Kei Ninomiya, SS16, Paris.

Flounces and Ruffles

At times, words are used interchangeably to describe certain fabric details. In a fashion journalism context this is generally ok because if someone talks about the “ruffled” or “frilly” dress in the collection then it’s usually pretty clear which one they mean. When a designer is talking to a pattern maker, however, communication is key and using certain terminology may mean that you think you’re asking for one thing, when what you actually want is something else entirely.

Thinking Like a Designer | The Cutting Class. Yeezy, SS16, New York.

Yeezy, SS16, New York.

Is it ever ok to have bad finishes?

While looking at the Yeezy collection for Spring-Summer 2016 with puckered seams and wavy zippers, a question began to form about how to evaluate the construction techniques of a collection. Can it ever support a designer’s concept to have construction details that are technically wrong?

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