The Sketchbook: A Fashion Designer’s Diary

For daily tips and insights straight to your mailbox, sign up for our blog newsletter.

For years, as a designer, I have always kept sketchbooks with me. They have traveled with me and have become my diaries. It is crucially important that any designer keeps one. It not only documents your process, it is endlessly inspiring. My sketchbooks date back to my very first design job as a fashion designer. They became an anthology to my career.

fashion sketch book

Sketchbooks, for a designer, are to develop and continuously push design. In doing so, you find areas of opportunity for fully realized designs and collections. Currently, being the Creative Director of four selling lines, sketchbooks help my team and I to keep each line’s personality vibrant and individualized. It is always the same process for each collection. Map it out, find inspiration, and start collecting elements to help your vision become a reality.

“In Process:” is my most current sketchbook, which documents the development of our Spring/Summer and Fall/Winter 2015 collections. After years of support, appreciation, and artistic direction, my team and I decided to finally publish one. This is literally the epitome of the process of design and development for a fashion designer.

in process book cover

Throughout the book you’ll find my personal process. My journey always starts with a vivid story I have in mind. I love a good story; one of my favorites being a 1950s housewife that traveled the world and took interest in the dress of indigenous tribes. Another story I loved was about witches during colonialism. These are all stories that bounce off my big inspirations, which are the 1940/50s and Art deco. So how does all of this come together? That is where “In Process” documents.

Related Reading:  Merchandising 101: Buying and Selling Products

indigenous women fashion sketch

A little about my process:

  1. I start with a design brief, which assists my team and I to keep a unified vision.
  2. Then I start mind mapping to help all aspects of the story come to life. (Example: When you think of a witch, you might think of smoke, twine, and black. Getting that onto your mind map you might see textile design, texture, and fabrics such as leather. This is to help you further develop the imagery in your head.)
  3. Next, I get to sketching and literally draw out every single idea that I have in my head. I want to make sure that I get every inch of my mind onto that paper.
  4. I stop there and start to isolate my favorite pieces and begin to collage my inspiration images that I find in the library ( I love libraries) and start tracing out shapes that I really like. I use that same piece of tracing paper to further develop my designs. Sometimes I will also take fabric to the form and see what I can create there. I’ll photograph it and post that into my book.
  5. Then I go back and forth between #3 and #4 heavily. There finally comes a point where to start isolating your collection. I find my top 10-15 designs and isolate those and start to make them speak to one another. You always want to make sure that all of your pieces speak to your client and can all go to the same party together. Once I am happy (which takes a while) I start to add the season’s fabrics to each design.

This process is great and has worked for me throughout my career. It is crucial you find a path that best suits your creativity. I am very analytic, and my sketchbooks are freeing for me, but I stop to analyze at points.

Related Reading:  Innovation & Emerging Trends: 5 Things We Discovered at Northside Festival

During the process of the sketchbooks, my team is design developing the collection, taking the showpieces and making them more approachable. It is very similar to what you see on the runway and what you see in stores. This is where the magic happens.

fashion design sketches

We want this book to be a collector’s item; one that inspires all artists alike. It is an intimate view into my process and myself as a designer. Not only are we publishing the book, we are also working on creating an amazing interactive e-book, which will go behind the scenes during fittings and production.

Help us bring this book to life! We have some really killer incentives on our Kickstarter. Every bit of help is extremely appreciated. 


You May Also Enjoy

Got a product idea? See how much it costs!  Signup for a free Maker’s Row account and start a project and get a quote.

makers row projects