I’ve noticed something strange. For some unknown reason—a new viewer posting it to a website, followed by the perfect storm of blogs and reblogs, perhaps—this video of mine, now over 2 years old, has been getting hammered with likes and views over the past week or so. I’ve even had a few people reach out to me via email, asking for everything from pattern help to labor inquiries (sorry, I don’t have the bandwidth to do custom work).
For those of you who haven’t seen it, it’s a combination of stop motion and live action, showing the creative process as I bring an idea from inspiration to concept to pattern to garment. I can’t speak for anyone other than myself, but this is how I do my best work; staying with an idea all the way through to the first prototype.
I don’t get to do it often enough in my daily work, as there simply isn’t time for me to personally cut and sew every new style, but sometimes the need to physically craft something with my hands instead of pushing pixels around on the screen of my MacBook becomes so overwhelming that I’m compelled to sacrifice a few evenings after work and just make something.
Many designers I’ve worked with (including some of the insanely talented ones) don’t know how to sew, much less draft a pattern from a sketch. Knowing how a garment is put together and being able to mentally dismantle it, working backwards to plan out each panel and seam, doesn’t necessarily make someone a better designer.
But it’s certainly not going to make you worse.
So no matter what you make, whether it’s fashion, apps, consumer products—or hell, even a lunar rover—my advice to you, from one designer to another, is to understand the thing you’re making inside and out. You’ll spend less time making prototypes, less money on development costs, waste far less time, and you’ll become one of the people that everyone in your organization goes to for advice. If you can picture every line, seam, panel and layer, you will be miles ahead of all the pixel-pushers around you.