Every designer has a different design process and sources of inspiration, which is what makes design so fascinating to me. Part of going to design school is discovering what your design process is and what works for you. You get frustrated and confused, but you come out at the end with more of an idea of who you are as a designer than when you started.
For me, I had a pretty good sense of myself, but what really solidified everything was when I worked for other companies and saw how they worked. In some ways, doing things in a different way helped me more clearly understand my own methods.
Now, I’m sure that my own methods will continue to evolve, but right now when I design, I almost always look at interior design books. I like to sit and almost meditate, picturing myself in these environments. The design of the particular interiors that I choose evoke the feelings that I want to evoke with my clothing. So sitting in my little dream world, I imagine what clothing I would want to wear if I were really in these environments. And from there, I sketch as many designs as I can think of, sometimes drawing ideas from little details of texture or pattern in the images. You can then edit from your sketches, which ones you would like to pursue and begin making muslins. Little by little, you perfect each design in all categories, of fit, fabric, and design details until it is at its essence.
Running this small business is like a great big juggling act, and trying to pull all of the pieces into place is not always an easy task, but I love the challenge. It keeps me thinking and doing what I love most. I can’t wait to begin working on next year’s garments and seeing my design process continue to evolve.