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  • Writer's pictureVyy Bui


To pursue our passions, we need to focus on things that matter the most in order to efficiently accomplish our goals. So, it is natural to wonder what boundaries you should set for yourself.

Today, I will recommend a few things to avoid in your studies in order to make everything go smoothly.

1. Avoid negative thoughts and internal complaints.

I know that with fashion and art students in general, there will be many times where we run into a creativity block and feel stuck in the process of completing a project. In that inertia, we often put the blame on our environment, on ourselves and even think of giving up. The truth is, these habits will seep into your subconscious, and believing in them will make you lose all your motivation. Managing your emotions will certainly be hard, but we need to regain our thoughts and find whatever we’re facing to be a given on the paths that we chose.

After gaining some experience in fashion design, I advise you to practice mental fortitude and positivity in these following processes: the process of finding design ideas (1) and the process of making the product (2). How so, do you ask?

IMAGE: @the.peterdo

(1): This is when you must open your mind to pinpoint exactly what topic your collection/project centers around. This means that when you are seeking inspiration, your mind should have no place for invasions of negative thoughts. Do not blame yourself for not having that eureka moment in your brainstorm period, and do not be afraid as well when you feel like you have no ideas to work with. You need that empty space to absorb new incoming ideas and you must make mistakes to see what works the best for you. All artistic pursuits work this way.

(2): Psychologically, sewing is one of the most sensitive and vulnerable processes for many fashion design students.

The majority of us do not have prior experience in sewing, so of course we would find the process to be extremely difficult and tedious when learning a variety of sewing techniques. We’d have to loosen the thread and start over many times, fix technical issues caused by the machinery, replace broken needles,... I’ve shed tears because I had to fix these problems by myself. Because of this, if possible, you must try your best to stay positive in these situations and persist. If you run into any trouble, take a deep breath and remind yourself that “if it messes up, I can fix it. It must be done anyways” I’ve tried this and it has helped me greatly.

IMAGE: @the.peterdo

2. Comparing your fashion style with others.

In my previous post, I did mention that this is one of the most common mindsets among fashion students. When you compare yourself, you will inevitably feel worse about your own skills and creativity, but there are times where you do compare to feel better about yourself. Either way, I don’t find comparison to be a healthy activity. You may look at the people around you with judgement, but do not do so with thoughts of comparison because your way of thinking with theirs may be on the same track but are fundamentally different. There will be people who take a liking to your work, but it is essential to know that there will definitely be people who won’t/ We do not create for the sole purpose of satisfying others and vice versa. When we get into the habit of comparing ourselves, the underlying implication is that our artistic creation is perpetually dependent on a third party who cannot give us an opinion. The narrow view we have of ourselves as a result of this all-judging but silent party will hinder your creativity.

IMAGE: @the.peterdo

3. Being unable to tell the difference between idea repetition and plagiarism.

In fashion design, copyright issues related to creating become a sensitive topic when we recognize certain similarities between works. But repetition of ideas does not equate to plagiarism. Creativity is supposed to be a liberating process without bounds, and running into coincidences with others’ work is neither sinful nor uncommon. In life, there will be unavoidable similarities between every design, and even among top designers’ work. Even so, the reflection of inspiration you get that shines through your work is nothing out of the ordinary, in fact, it is the exact purpose of the idea development process. However, if you do cross the line of reflecting someone’s work too much, then it will be defined as copying their “signature style”. To conclude, we need to set the basis for these issues and clarify sensitive boundaries on what constitutes copying vs. being inspired by. By doing so, we can avoid negative thoughts in the creative process.

My draping process

4. A good design must factor in practicality.

In fashion design studies, we are encouraged to push the limits of our imaginations, but we still need to be grounded into reality in mind of the manufacturing process. A design being able to be carried out is not enough, you have to also be capable of carrying it out. Why? Because in the process of studying fashion design, you will be required to manufacture the draft product, and it is unavoidable as part of the syllabus. To make a design that meets practicality, you need to identify your strengths and weaknesses in sewing beforehand. Personally, I have little experience in making something with many little garments and trinkets, so I rely on size differences to create a strong impression. My design will still be a complex manufacture due to the heavy layering, but once I have mapped out these layers then the process is much more achievable. My friend, who favors the more minimalistic style, will work with surface textures and protruding effects. In other words, you should design something that you know you can work with.

My draping process

5. Limiting yourself to what you already know.

Have you ever felt anxious about change in the course of fashion design? I used to feel that way. Stepping out of your comfort zone is never an easy thing, just as changing habits can be challenging. In fashion, constantly “renewing” yourself is essential to maintaining a creative streak throughout your journey.

If you stick to one color scheme or one style, people will quickly forget about you because they seek constant development and improvement from other designers. In the beginning, there are things I needed to change about myself when embracing new ideas. It was not easy and I had to do a lot of thinking. But the only way I could do so was tamper down my ego and keep an open mind, train myself to be more holistic about ideas including those from other people and combine them with my own. Finally, I realized that I gained more than I lost, started to love these changes and even made them my strengths. I realized that my old way of thinking has flaws in itself. We are young and we should experience as much as we can, should we not?

Are there any other problems that fashion students should keep in mind to avoid? Please share your thoughts with me!

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