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Where Fashion Inspiration ORIGINATES FROM Cultural Studies Essay

In what of Coco Chanel, Fashion is about "what is happening". Fashion designers always utilize the idea of inspiration is on the road. Consumers themselves especially the kids, are extremely inventive and inquisitive about clothing and designers look to this for inspiration and innovation when creating new ideas. One typical fashion initiated a long time ago by the young and ordinary people off the street, are jeans, now every designer has their own signature version.

Trends and the latest looks follow today's shifting society. Sports events like the Olympics and what's happening in the media, movies and music also reflect fashion. Famous celebrities are a fantastic opportunity to promote new looks and influence ideas. The runways mirror what's happening in the world and fashion designers use this to make their work. In the fashion world they call it the 'bubble-up-effect', that could be another reason to why fashion appears to have a similar look or theme, particularly if all designers are tuning in to the spirit of the existing times for inspiration.

Carl Jung's theory about the collective unconscious which studied peoples minds and showed that it's inevitable in todays' ever growing society for folks to reflect and think the same idea's, at exactly the same time. Is this not a consideration to designers when accusing other people of copying and plagiarising their work, that instead these designs, are original in their own right, specially when all designers are considering the world around them, to influence their work.

Clothes are about dressing a human being and the proportions of the body are put into three blocks. The top, the trunk, which runs from the shoulders to the pubis and lastly the extremities, such as two arms and two legs (Martin, 2009, pg73). Apparel has to fit for this shape, so it could be argued that designs will need on similar looks to others, as no dress would be made to match a three armed person.

Fashion forcasting within the industry is becoming big business and plays a huge part when informing designers and their team, of what is deemed to be the 'newest fashion themes and colours' for the following season. Agencies such as Nelly Rodi based in Paris have over 30 trend forecasters who travel around the globe gathering photographs, illustrations and fabric swatches for inspiration for his or her trend-books.

Each season this agency produces separate trend books incuding knitwear, colours, prints and ready-to-wear to be delivered to their clients such as Mango, H&M, Givenchy among other high profiled prЄt a porter designers (Seivewright, 2007, pg 82/83).

There are lots of these agencies around including Style-Vision, Trendspotter, Informat who all do a similar job. However, a web based service called Worth Global Style Network created in 1998 is the leading online trend-analysis and research service, which in a click of the mouse "provides creative and business intelligence for the apparel, style, design and retail industries". (wgsn, online). This appears to be the quickest methods to have the latest information to designers quotes Roger Tredre, the WGSN's editor-in-chief especially with the "ever changing nature of fashion, speed is of the essence" (Seivewright, 2007, pg 86).

It is extremly difficult to speak to a designer and have them were they get their inspiration from, as nobody wants to provide away their sources and of course, nobody would ever admit to using other peoples ideas. However, according to a New York based designer "designers do turn to other designers for inspiration" (see appendix 1). However the word 'homage' always is apparently an influential tool in designing. This could be either an old iconic fashion designer, including the late Christian Dior who inspired collections for Vivienne Westwood, with his new look of the late 1940's and also paintings from French 'Rococo' artist Jean-Antoine Watteau.

Vivienne Westwood, within an interview for the Victoria and Albert Museum, spoke about how precisely Christian Dior had inspired her through his designs, one being the long black fitted wool 'new look' dress. That is a kind of tribute and homage to a designer, as instead of stealing his original ideas and innovation, she has celebrated him for influencing her work, as she was a teenager growing up when this magical look was around and women were needs to dress more glamorous. Today Vivienne Westwood finds her inspiration from days gone by especially in the V&A's collections of fashion, furniture and paintings. (vam, 2004, online)

However, in the case of Muiccia Prada 'homage' and inspiration is investing in a jacket within an expensive Paris vintage store called Didier Ludot and the next season this identical Dior jacket is in the new 'Prada' collection. No different in design to the main one bought previously from Paris. This surely is not homage rather design theft. Topshop or any other traditional store would not get away with this stolen innovation, especially if it was a near identical to a influential first class designer such as Prada or Chloe. Fashion designers have always looked back through the archives of history for inspiration. (learcenter, 2005, online)

From a recent email from a designer who works for Ralph Lauren in New York and who have previously worked for Abercrombie and Fitch, spoke not only about designers seeking to other designers for inspiration, but the value of vintage garments. In addition they try to copy these vintage designs in newer fabrics and put their own spin on them. Another idea was looking again at what had previously sold well before and updating this in new fabrics and different colours. Another "creative and fun" idea is using snippets from bought and vintage samples, and merging different ideas together a collar in one style with a pocket of another (Appendix 1).

In a Marc Jacobs documentary filmed in 2006, for his 2007 shows, Marc Jacobs who designs for Louis Vuitton as well as under his own label, shows where he gets his inspiration from. He uses walls covered in vintage magazines, posters, flowers and old tortured fabrics to assemble new innovation, using snippets from all these sources to enthuse new ideas. Again he looks through the archives of the successful designs and updates previous lines. Bricolage, is a french term used in the creative procedure for fashion and according to many is one of the primary dynamics. This term simply means reinventing something new by changing elements, mixing and bringing the clothing back to life by inputting new fabrics and stitch ideas. That is evident amidst all designers including Marc Jacobs "An old mauve jumper becomes a pleasant updated cashmere jumper" (youtube, 2006, online).

With a whole lot dress history on the market shown in costume museums and vintage Vogue's, and also other influential magazines, it comes as no real surprise that designers will usually look to the past or other cultures for inspiration. Vivienne Westwood has in many collections used direct references to historical silhouettes and styles, such as famous paintings.

Here is an image of the 'Watteau' evening dress created by Vivienne Westwood for a collection in 1996. This style is influenced from a 'Watteau' painting of his cousins captured in image 1. It's very clear in the condition and fullness of the dress that artist, has inspired her with this creation.

Victorian interpretations will always be a way to obtain inspiration for other designers including D&G who used the Victorian sleeves to inspire him, when making a different look to a modern day denim jacket.

Fashion frequently looks to form and materials of the past, as a form inspiration for new styles, as the workmanship and attention to detail is rarely achievable nowadays. According to Sue Jenkyn Jones who wrote the book 'Fashion Design', it "also triggers a nostalgia for bygone lifestyles and the emotional facet of clothing can be an important factor of design" (Jones, 2005, pg24).

New technologies in fabrics and prints will always be seen as a form of inspiration. Designers will often select materials, gaining and enthusing ideas from its look, feel and aesthetics, before designing a garment. This will generate ideas from the silhouette and shape the fabric forms. Moodboards and visuals of a theme or idea will then begin to be created selecting colours, historical references, lace, trims and finally, ideas will commence to promote themselves.

Fabric industry events have an enormous impact on the fashion world, however 'Premiere Vision' which is held in Paris, every September, is the largest and the most influential of these events. Over 800 fabric manufacturers, as well as a huge host of designers and buyers attend these shows. Apparently it is not unusual to see designers like 'Christian Lacroix' at these events, looking for inspiration as well as new specialized weaves (Tungate, 2005, pg81/82).

It is not hard to see now were inspiration originates from, but when inspiration gets recognised incorrectly as imitation, how fair is this. Resources are put at risk. Designers invest time as well as large sums of money sourcing inspiration, testing fabric's, drafting dress patterns and checking that their creations are fresh, progressive and of a quality for there discerning customer. Who pays the purchase price or could it be only fair that every fashionista gets an opportunity to own a piece of luxury.

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