Spanish designer David Delfin rocked the fashion world in the early 2000s with revolutionary tops that featured stand-alone collars that sat on the neck instead of encircling it. Philipp Plein changed the T-shirt game by featuring elegant shimmering black tees bearing vintage comic designs. Alexander McQueen shocked the Big 4 fashion viewers with his ‘bumster trousers’ (which showed just a sneak peek of a backside cleavage). Playfulness, vision, and courage marked the designs of these and other designers who are known to rock the fashion world both on the catwalk and through their revolutionary designs. If you are a budding designer or you simply love sewing your own outfits, what inspiration can you find from those who dared to tread a path no-one had done before them?
Repurposing Last Season’s Big Thing
The late David Delfin was big at mixing and matching different items of clothing, literally cutting items such as office shirts so that the top only featured one sleeve and covered three quarters of the torso. He also played around with materials, sewing the waist and upper thigh of trousers in one material and the rest of the garment in a total different, contrasting fabric. From silk slip dresses sewn onto a business top (featuring a high collar, black tie, and pin-striped trousers) to sewn-on suspenders or upcycled jackets featuring materials of different colors and textures, each piece was a work of art that invoked a strong reaction. His designs are a reminder of the beauty of the unexpected. They are also an invitation to novices to ‘cut and paste’ designs to greater or less extent to give new life to clothing items that once enjoyed their 15 minutes of fame.
Channeling Your Inner Geek
Philipp Plein’s pop art T-shirts are proof that truly different fashion can be created when you utilize images that inspire you. Are you a Lord of the Rings fan? Are you into Mozart? Can you think of nothing funner than spending a lazy Sunday afternoon playing Fortnite? Why not incorporate these images into your next T-shirt design? The key to getting it right is to use unexpected materials and to blend elegance with urban rebellion. You can create your own images and print them out or download royalty-free images from the Internet. A heated T-shirt machine to transfer designs to fabric will lend your design a professional look that will last for various washes. Just remember to wash your creations inside-out and get ready to start printing out cool shirts for your friends and family.
Coco Chanel was a perfectionist seamstress since a young age, but even her earliest designs sought to challenge established norms in favor of comfort. Thus, Chanel began sewing suits and trousers for women, in defiance of the tight fitting dresses that were the order of the day. If you have a suit that no longer makes the cut, why not take your cue from Coco and cut your suit trousers into shorts? You can still pair your new shorts up with your jacket, just fold the latter to elbow level and wear with a crisp white shirt. Embellish your look with a Hermes or Gucci belt and flat boots and you will certainly turn heads as you walk down the busy streets of the city center.
All top designers have their signature look but one thing all have in common is the ability to spot ‘something missing’ on the current fashion scene, and to fulfill a new demand – be it for the comfortable or the avant garde. Invest in the equipment you need to give life to your designs – including a simple sewing machine and a heat press machine for T-shirts (you can find both for under $200). In your designs, don’t be shy to show people the things you like. As is the case with all designers, your creations are the product of the many influences that have made you who you are – the music, films, books, and memories that have shaped life as you know it.