Working in an art field, specifically fashion, affirming our own style and different values is what we all aim for. However, this is a process that makes many of you encounter a lot of difficulties, myself included.
Have you ever felt lost because you have not found yourself in the fashion world? Today I will share with you some of the factors that I think influence the “signature style” in design.
This is one of the factors that directly affects your personal style in fashion design. We are often blown away by unique outfit ideas, inspired by new trends and looks, but looking back, we still don't know what we really like. You feel like you can draw beautiful outfits, but do not feel a personal connection to it, which has caused many people to toss and turn.
Try once to take a look at your wardrobe and find out what the items have in common, what personality do they represent? Who knows, you may find inspiration in shapes, materials and colors from your favorite fashion style. After figuring out what your outfits have in common, think about the ones you like best. Which shirt, dress, shoes, or bag makes you the happiest when you think about it? Those are your "signature items", also partly the first key to open the door to your personal style.
To shape yourself in fashion design, it's also not a bad idea to look at your own wardrobe and how you coordinate your clothes. For example, if you are a lover of neutral, monochromatic items that are not diverse in color, maybe your design style will dive into the trend of minimalism. Or, you have a friend with a flashy, engagement-loving style who will love designing evening gowns. Although it is not the sole decisive factor, your personal wardrobe is a relatively large influence on your fashion design style.
2. DESIGNERS/BRANDS THAT YOU ESPECIALLY LIKE
Many of you have told me that you like many designers, are interested in many brands and do not have a fixed style. I understand this feeling, there will be times when you are not really impressed with a brand and no one has made you absolutely attracted. It’s not the end of the world if you feel this way. If you are a person who can be flexible with many styles then you are very suitable to work for many different brands in the fashion industry.
You can work as a stylist, creative director for editorial photos, even as a material expert, as a design consultant for them. Studying fashion design does not mean that we will establish a personal brand and it is imperative to have a clear style from the beginning. It is a process of learning and experience, each person will deal with the design industry in a different way. Therefore, try to be self-uplifting instead of deprecating when you feel disoriented among the countless styles on the screen.
Fashion designer Phoebe Philo & CÉLINE brand
Fashion designer Cường Đàm & Chats by C.Dam brand
You may not notice it, but everything has a reason. In the past, there were times when I thought that the "save" buttons for photos from certain brands, or the designers I was impressed with, were just accidental, simply because they were impressive, gorgeous outfits that turned out to be beautiful. Have you ever sat back and wondered why you are so impressed with a certain brand? Let's cross out the main dress details (tone, shape, personality) of each place; Make a list of the styles you used to love; think about what colors they have that fascinates you?... From there, refine the elements that interest you the most at the moment. Maybe we don't notice, but the things that enter the subconscious of each person almost all have something in common with themselves, more or less, even with the image of us in it.
In addition, for those of you who can clearly see the common colors from the designers and brands you are interested in, that is also a great thing. There are those of you who only pay attention to minimalist brands; there are those of you who are only interested in punk rock, glam rock fashion; Or others will love the event dress designers…
In fashion design, it is not easy to define a personal style. Legendary designer Yohji Yamamoto once said: “Start copying what you love. Copy copy copy copy. At the end of the copy you will find yourself.” This does not mean that we should copy other people's designs. It is also the process in which we are influenced by those who have gone before and constantly observe and analyze existing works. From there, we will mold and conceive our own masterpiece.
Fashion designer Yohji Yamamoto
3. STYLE ICON
Influencers (celebrity, influencers…) or famous fashion icons are a huge influence on the design style of countless young people, even famous designers. There are many people who are inspired by the fashion style of their favorite singers, groups or actors. For them, these are ideal models to exploit for their creativity.
Celebrities influence fashion by mixing trendy, aesthetically pleasing pieces at a given time. At the same time, they also create trends for themselves and the public. There are many individuals who define their own fashion style according to the "hot items" they see their idols wearing on social networks. Besides, influencers, fashionistas also provide ideas and inspiration for their idols. Some people are interested in the Dark Wear style thanks to the influence of G-Dragon, Chris Brown…or the brand Rick Owens - "Lord" dominates Dark Wear.
Are you someone's fan? Are you impressed with the way they dress, their red carpet appearance or the way they build their image? Sometimes our idols also say a part of each person's personality, try to pay more attention to them in terms of fashion! Maybe you will discover something about yourself?
4. BOOKS AND MOVIES
For fashion design students who have an interest in reading, or an interest in film and art in general, this is a potential platform for you to find answers for yourself. Things related to the soul and spirit have a great influence on your thoughts, personality and artistic personality.
I know there are people who are very passionate about learning about historical art movements (Surrealism - Surrealism, Expressionism - Expressionism, futurism - Futurism...), all of which are endless inspiration for fashion design. Each art trend will bring a different style and emotion. Each movement will also have featured artists (Surrealism: Salvador Dalí, Frida Kahlo; Cubism: Pablo Picasso; Pop Art: Andy Warhol…) and have you been influenced by them? If you have not learned much about the history and fashion scene, this might also be a good suggestion for you. Try reading and research to see what style of art you are interested in and why! That's your personal voice!
As for books, music and movies, what do you read, listen to and watch the most? I once did a small survey with my colleagues, each of them found a personality in their fashion through entertainment.
Some people find design inspiration in themselves when they have a habit of reading romance novels. Some people find themselves connected to the modern, minimalist, mature spirit when they have an interest in picture books or philosophers. Some people find themselves suitable for a fantasy world, when they have a habit of watching science fiction movies.
5. EMOTIONAL AND MENTAL STATE
Today, fashion is no longer just about clothes to wear, the fashion industry no longer revolves around buying and selling. Fashion is a way of life, a means of expressing people's thoughts and feelings.
One of the factors that directly affects your personal style in fashion design is your personal feelings, the emotions that are standing in the heart of each person. What if a fashion collection can convey the state and spirit of its creator? Surely those are works of art that have more depth? At that time, that design will definitely leave your own mark because each person's feelings and worldview are different and not duplicated. Expressing your feelings in your design/artwork is also one of the ways many designers or artists release their psychology in life.
Comme des Garçons Fall 2015 | IMAGE: Fashionista
One of the most obvious examples in fashion, each collection of legendary designer Rei Kawakubo is composed of sudden emotions, or quietness. For example, her Fall 2015 collection from her Comme des Garçons brand has a serene, meditative feel with exaggerated, layered skirts that cover the entire body. A world of surrealism, flight and improvisation is an impressive look at this designer.
Viktor & Rolf Spring 2019 | IMAGE: teenvogue.com, dezeen
In addition, the brand Viktor & Rolf also shocked the world when bringing famous sayings (meme/quotes) on social networks into the Couture Spring 2019 collection. This is a very interesting idea today. We often look to maxims to relieve our emotions, but fashion can now also speak for them. When the emotional element, the psychological state of people is put into fashion, everything will have a very unique and diverse color.
The emotional element, the state here can be your own, but it can also be your representative voice on behalf of a certain social class or community.
6. SOCIAL ISSUES, COMMUNITY VALUE
There are many ways in which you can find yourself in fashion design and the social element is an equally important aspect. For those of you who are interested in social issues such as feminism, gender equality, fashion is a means for people to convey meaningful messages to the public.
My boss - Designer Cuong Dam, he always respects and cherishes beauty, especially the beauty of women. Therefore, his designs carry the concept of standing for women with a strong feminist spirit. In addition, with the mission of conveying Vietnamese cultural values in the contemporary fashion language, C.Dam's designs are also renewed from traditional creative materials. Those humanistic spiritual values have become baggage throughout his artistic journey.
What about you? Do you pay special attention to a historical event or a social issue? What value can you bring to the community and how will it change the way people see it? Here are a few suggestions for community values that you can incorporate into your design style/trend:
Social status/ vị trí trong xã hội.
Gender equality/ bình đẳng giới.
Give yourself time to explore for yourself and find out what your style will be in line with the mainstream spirit!
7. KNOW YOUR ADVANTAGES & LIMITS
Knowing your own pros and cons is crucial to your design style. Once you know your strengths in design, focus on promoting and exploiting the ideas around it. If you are particularly interested and feel that you can do well in aspects related to materials such as knitting, embroidery, etc., chances are you are a design student with a dominant style in textile/ fabric manipulation.
Personally, I have probably shared this problem quite a few times, that is, I am not strong in pattern making, so it will be difficult to sew sophisticated designs on shapes. For drawing, I can play around with a lot of different and eye-catching structures, but sewing and making patterns by myself is a completely different matter. My designs often excel in size (volume), and I also try to cleverly alter some details to make them more unique. If professional people such as teachers or sculptors dissect their designs, my designs are actually not all that compared to catwalk fashion. But in return for the large size, my stamping process still takes a lot of time and effort.
However, playing to our strengths does not mean that we are limited to that style. The strength here sometimes only lasts for a certain period of time, because each individual will always develop and so does the fashion industry. You still need to experiment with other areas because sometimes limitations can become a strength if you can step out of your comfort zone. Recently, I have also tried textile, although it is not really my strength at first, but I feel quite excited about it and I will probably continue to experiment more in the future.
The article is probably too long so I shall stop here. I have devoted a lot of effort to this content with the desire to be able to partly help people orient their personal style in fashion design, especially those of you who are feeling lost. I myself can't claim to have found my 100% personal style, there are still many things I need to discover. From practical experiences, I hope the above article will be useful to everyone! Let's persevere!