Inspiration: Project Runway

Thursday, February 05, 2009 Jonette 0 Comments

Mary Cruz, a lovely co-worker and co-sewing enthusiast of mine lent me her DVD of Project Runway's 2nd season. I really haven't had the opportunity to watch this series -- ever. (Yes, I have been hiding under rocks from the TV world. Oh wait, TV... what's that?)

I've so far managed to marathon the first five episodes, and I am amazed.

Watching the designers flesh out their ideas with all the material, tools, and time they'd been given, it occurred to me how strangely similar the creative process was to other aspects of art, like say, Theater or Painting. First off, as one of Theater teachers once told us, you need a germ for your idea. Once you have it, you let it grow, see where it will take you. From there, start fleshing it out, decide if you like what you see and what's come of it, making adjustments and pruning where needed. After all that, polish everything off, and let the magic happen.

In Fashion Design, you use the elements of Art -- line, texture, color, value, shape, form, and space -- to realize your idea in tangible fabric. Your idea, your expression. Who you are. Same goes for the other art forms, using their appropriate media.

(I also thought if my body shape was limiting my imagination in design by sticking to styles and shapes that were appropriate for me. This next brought about the idea of designing for practicality versus designing for self-expression, but I think this warrants its own post for another time.)

I guess it took me all that realization for me to see Fashion Design and Clothes-making as an Art form. (Good grief, imagine! Just now!) This realization alarmed me. If so, what have I been doing all this time? Mimicry? Imitation?

Yikes. Not a very brilliant place to start.

Then again, now that I think about it, we all have to start somewhere. We're not born perfect, nor are we born geniuses. Genius is made bit by bit. Even Mozart had to learn by picking away at thirds (perhaps with sticky fingers) and watching his sister learn the keyboard when he was a kid. (It's true!)

I can sew and hem and pleat, and I know at least enough not to sew my fingers in. My creations so far could still use much study, imagination, and improvement. I still need to polish my skill. I'm not that good, but I'm getting there.

Watching Project Runway has made the idea of cutting up my own clothing and reinventing them a lot less scary and a little more exciting. (I had a lot of "I didn't know you could do that!" moments.) Maybe a shirt at a time, or two shirts into one, as an idea's playing in my head right now. I'll let the germ grow first, then we'll see what happens.

This is getting a whole lot more exciting than I'd ever imagined.


Care to leave a comment? I'd love to hear what's on your mind. :)