As I reflect back on my years of being a designer…one thing I want to share is the importance to create space for the “process of designing”.
When I worked in the garment center in NYC for most of my life, importance was placed on shipping, sales, production and everything in between.
Little time was left for the actual art and process of design. A lot of pressure was placed upon designers to continually and mechanically just come up with salable designs day after day.
If you were among the elite set, you would be sent to Paris twice a year to shop the stores and go to Premiere Vision. While I had the time of my life being lucky enough to experience the independence and education that those trips gave me, it was a mere 4-5 days of freedom twice a year… the rest of the year was spent grinding it out, and fighting for the time to spend on inspiration, research and space that an artist needs. Time for reading magazines, fabric appointments, and finding actual inspiration was never allotted for. I worked late, didn’t eat right, never had time to organize, and was “forced” to constantly ignore what I needed and instead be a never ending creative force…If I only knew then…what I know now!
As I get older and more comfortable with my continued style, I don’t have to try so hard. I know exactly who I am as a designer, and am comfortable now with giving myself the space and freedom I need to flourish…Of course I don’t have the same pressures of being the designer for a large manufacturing company…even if I did still hold that level of a “job” I would be able to carve out what I need and be much more willing to set boundaries about it.
My advice…”Honor the process”…whatever that means for each of us. “Take your time”…no matter who is putting pressure on you. Give your designs the space they need to evolve, sometimes an idea and a half made sample doesn’t find completion until a year, even 2 years later. Don’t force it.
What I know…is that eventually it will all come together perfectly…When I stare at something for too long, I now can comfortably shelf it with confidence that eventually I will work it out. When you honor your creative process…you will have less waste, fewer mistakes, more focus, better merchandising, and of course, more sales…
So…for the rare moment you are in a dry spell….instead of getting nervous or allowing someone to push you…spend the time honoring your past creations, organizing your photos and press, folding fabric, organizing trim, and whatever else needs doing…When you nurture your design process, while it may “take longer” or seem like you are not “cranking it out”…in the long run, you will simply have a better craft, and a happier soul doing so….