Be Ready for Change
Now we're going to be talking about change, very scary for a lot of people I know for me, you know, I always talk about how change is good, but when it happens to me, it's always like a little jarring, and I have to remind myself that that change could be very good. So we're going to talk about a couple of strategies and tools of so that you're ready for change, so one of them is reframing questioning your definition of what it is. So ask yourself, you know what? The approach that you've been taking, you know, what's, the approach you've been taking, and how might you redefine that? You know, it could be as a designer, you always work with the pattern first, you know, you develop a pattern first, or it could be you always do a sketch first, and for some reason, you know, you need to shake things up, and you don't have that ability to do that, so it could be a matter of how do I approach this problem from another angle again, I don't like to use the word problem or challenge because the...
re's either design challenges that we're setting for ourselves, so questioning how we define things like, is it really that, or could it be this, too? Um the evolution we talked about with the customer sort of really listening, but you want to be aware of the context of what you're putting out there so you want to be able to look um and then not just look in terms of identifying but then really see let go a little deeper like really go a little deeper as too like we talked about reflecting the words of the customer back to them you can do that with images sort of go deeper like why that image on dh so that it's more more the meaning behind it and then you have listen because you really asai repeatedly said this whole fashion design process is a dialogue, not a monologue, so this this client becomes a very important factor even if you are working in a mass produced you know, mass production uh the client becomes a little bit more generic because it represents a lot of different people but it's still that person you're serving, they're still going to that store for that particular product for that particular reason uh, diversification this is huge in the fashion of the stream most big fashion design companies do not make the bulk of their money off the clothing they make the bulk of their money money off scent and accessories and so if you have that in mind and you're going ok that's the nature of the business are there things that you are within your creative realm that either or maybe aren't within your creative well mme that you want to explore and bring into your creative room that could be allow you teo diversify and do something maybe apply your aesthetic to something else? Uh, this is really, really valuable because these not only our diversification but they could be that entry into your world that sort of that really accessible piece because we may not buy a whole gown from a designer, but we might buy into their aesthetic just a little bit by buying the necklace or by buying the bag. You know, we all know the big designers all have these incredible bags, you know, like it's, always the bag of the season and that's our way in if we're either either not able or not interested in investing in the actual clothing uh, alternate platforms, new new, new new audiences. This is a constant thing that you want to try to do because you may not be hitting your right audience. I was tell the story of ah designer who is babe east boston but has shops also in palm beach, and they designed this great dress, this sweet little sort of three tier dress it was adorable fit everyone made everyone looked great didn't matter what size or height or anything like that, but but knowing his audience was a key factor in this because he made the dress in every color and so had arranged that was, you know, blacks and navies and browns, very dark and then lots of bright colors and white, and he sent all his stores all the colors and in palm beach at sale time at the end of the season, all the dark colors were still in the hangars, and then in the north, up in boston, all the bright colors were hanging. So what he did instead of putting either address on sale because he's a top seller, is he just switched merchandise. So you want to ask yourself and know that you know what? What your audience is even in a particular place because you might have really loyal customers all around the country are all around the world, but what air their needs in that context because they'll love the dress they know it fits and it's flattering, but they're not in a culture that's going to be wearing dark colors, let's say, and they more they celebrate with a brighter colors and then exit strategies. This one sounds a little sad sometimes, but sometimes it could be really exciting and that sort of what's your nate what's the nature of the of your relationship with fashion or you are this creative process and ask yourself how might that be different if this's kind of speaks back too if you couldn't do what you're doing now, how would you how how would you use all your skills and talents to do something else? I started out as a fashion designer and realized, you know, part of the way into my career that I didn't want you know, selling to stores and clients and I just said that's that is not working for me you know I could do it I'm successful at it but it's not how you want to spend my days because it was demanding things that I didn't want to do and so I challenge myself and I said I'm going to do what I call, uh concept collections and treat them the way a gallery owner mike uh challenge on artist to do ah collection of paintings for a show so I do that for myself because I love the process and I miss it you know, it's like I always have to try a little song a little pattern making because it's just a part of my nature and it gets me thinking in a real creative way but I found a way to express myself share my work and it keeps me in that creative mode for everything else that I do so that's a very specific you know and you definitely don't make money at that I'll just say that but it's feeds everything else and it keeps me relevant it keeps me I'm still I can still talk to that student or that designer who was actually doing it for a living and relate, you know, it's not this obscure thing so and it's important to me so so and because my career is taking me in a lot of different directions and, you know, teaching and with fashion week, so but it's all all the stuff that I got out of the the, you know, getting inspiration and researching, making the clothes, making the patterns and then bringing us to this stage all feeds that so you have to recognize that you have these incredible talents and they have a lot, they're very transferrable I always challenged my students and say, you know, especially students who've had a career or in another career but have an interest in fashion and say, what do you want to do? You know, I don't know what do you do outside vera? And I said it's always relevant to fashion and this one woman once told me I got you, I can stump you and I say, what do you do she's I'm a nurse I said, are you kidding? You're perfect for fashion you are with people at their very worst than most vulnerable and you make them feel better fashion designers, hairdressers that is all what they're there for you know they are there to to enhance your experience make you feel better and she's a natural you know she does it with really some of the worst times in our lives so fashion not so critical so it's going to be even easier and more fun but all of you have skills whether whatever industry you're in to bring to another aspect of fashion so exploring that I think is really important so um on that note I am uh gonna bring up margo and we're going to talk a little bit about these things all right? Introduce yourself again no as well think I'm myrtle and, um my interest basically is in um not so much fashion design but theater costumes and, um theater okay, so uh, when we're talking about reframing and the definition, I'm sure you know you've been working in costumes you have a clear definition of what that means can you think of I think the most obvious one that I can think of is you working in theatre and then applying those skills to film right? You know, because it might be a slightly different approach, so but what might be another place like what do you actually think the best way to start is what do you think the most valuable skills for the costume our customers are like what would you say that three most important things about being a costume designer the definition of that what do you think they would be? I think the number one for a costume designed specifically would be thie ability to research and and the ability to be able to take the information from that research and apply it to whatever uh play you're doing whatever costume you're doing um whatever fabric you choose because it's all very important to to make sure it's as authentic as you khun right possibly make it okay. So the research and what do you think two other things might be that define ah good costume designer you know for you yeah, I think the uh mean basically in the end uh for me I don't work in a vacuum even though I made design and I may actually, uh create the costume in a vacuum by myself but you have to have really good collaboration skills and uh in part of those skills are as an example. Yes, you know what the character is? You know, you have kind of an idea of what the costume needs to be but you also need to take into consideration what the director wants the lighting, the, uh performer that's wearing it and so you really have to be able to collaborate, ok? And you know your ego's got to kind of stay out of the way because it's really not my vision it's it's the vision in the integrity of the whatever piece you're doing right and um if you have to pick a third, I think decent sense of humor I really didn't think that's good all around because there's a lot of you know weirdness, it goes on around, so get it you'll laugh yourself okay? So take criticism I think those are all excellent I mean, they really speak teo used special specifically talking about costume design, but I think we would all agree that kind of speak to almost any kind of clothing design that we would be doing so, you know, taking all that into consideration what might be one element that on it's hard to think of, you know what you haven't thought of before in terms of it, but how could you reframe this so that the definition of costume designer would include one more element that maybe wouldn't be expected of costume design like maybe something that you just think is taking it in a different direction? Like, you know, like one element that I would challenge you, teo kind of shake things up and not do things the way you would normally do like let's say, you know, taking your research for instance, your process of research, you know, what will be or actually I think more importantly, the strategy behind using your resource is I mean your your research you know, keeping really authentic and punctuating thie costume with something that maybe isn't intentionally you know, I mean like saying how do I put my mark on something that has a twist on something just to use an example just popped into my head there's this ah tv show called the nick it's about the knickerbocker hospital I think late eighteen hundreds and everything is super authentic like the costumes have you seen it? I don't have not seen it, but I've heard of it it's exquisite on dh yet one of the doctor is the main character the costume designer decided to put him in white leather capito boots and it is the most striking thing on the screen because it's filmed very darkly and that sort of blue green gray color and there's this really strong aesthetic but throwing that twist into it was I guess her way of identifying her as the costumes I don't you know me so well not that you would necessarily that might not be your strategy but just using that as an example of exploring how you might put your mark on it without undermining necessarily the integrity of the research but you know saying this is fantasy this is play I want to maybe in one uncertain is this is this is put a little exclamation point because I'll be honest with you I just ordered those boots yeah I fell in love with him and I was like, I don't know when and how I'm gonna wear them but I'm going to get them and you know, it's just like I think you want to ask yourself, you know, maybe that's something that helps you connect outside of costume design with the world because it's actually an old company that makes them it's this shoe company very traditional company so you know, there may be relationships and other places you could go with defining what your strategy is around research well actually I think this is kind of odd ball, but I think where I would go with that to put my mark on is something you can't really see but it would be the inside of the garment in the underwear okay, yes, I mean and that you're empowering the actor that's right? You're saying you're giving this speaks to with fashion design that little special thing but in costume design you know the actor is important I think we spoke about it on camera but about your the beauty of the garments side yes, even with costume yes, that that's very important to you and I think that's because you don't want to feel like you're wearing something that's just thrown together you want to feel like, oh wow, this is helping me believe that I am this character interpreting it so very cool absolutely um I think the way I think the evolution of things that look and see I think is case by case you know it's like you want teo I think you already do that because I think you have a real collaborative spirit so I think that we've kind of covered the diversification of all trinite products I know it might seem a little odd for costume design but what emily said for instance, of making patterns available because the audience she has a so collaborative is there anything like that that you can imagine for costume design like something that that you do really, really well yesterday we had for instance, ryan with the courses and I think you know that's something that maybe from costume design can go to the customer that could be a whole side thing. So is there anything like that in what you do that you know I love making these and actually what I really really love is steampunk I love it yes on dh I would love to be able to make a good hat maker you love to be able to make those funky hats and the and the well even that vest that you showed with eyes that just that was very yes so I mean, you know, making that kind of thing which could very easily be turned into a steampunk thing and that's kind of almost in the middle of playing it really is just absolutely loved the steampunk look, I love it and I love that you specialize in the hats, you know, like that you think topping off that design? That could be a whole little side thing that you explore, right? So and again, this goes and everything, and it should be something that excites you like that, you know, because it's, the more personal it is and the more I think the spirit of it is really woven into whatever you're doing. Yeah, I addressed my husband up steampunk last year and great hey wasn't too happy, but I think I just want I just had to chime in because libera ci in the chat room has been with us for a couple of days had earlier was so we started this conversation with you, margo, and about applying your experience uh, lebron, she says my suggestion from argo in terms of reframing is toe look at cause play and steampunk so it was already all everyone's indians out there, okay, stars, I the stars are aligning all right, so on dh, then what about alternate platforms? I mean, it may not be, you know, you're talking about theater and film on dh it may not be to far flung from that, but, you know, we think about the different levels that they're at. So is there a different ah different place, you can go a different type of audience for your skills, you know, because we think, you know, film, we think hollywood so but maybe it isn't hollywood, maybe it's sort of indy, or. And when it comes to theatre period pieces, is there ah, particular, uh, genre, I guess, that you haven't explored that you want to explore, uh, not a genre, but where I would go with that would be. And this goes along with volunteering. No should be back to the high school's back to the schools to volunteer and help with costumes, and I was a teacher. So love that, yes, I totally believe in that. Yeah, I mean that's that I would do. Yeah, and I don't just sound a little side note because especially with students, I mean, one of the things that I find is especially high school sis. Lately I've been working a lot of young people, and we kind of as we get older, we time t tend to kind of label them and just kind of write them off for a certain thing and it's amazing how much they bring back, and I always feel personally that when when you go back to those academic situations, you learn as much as they do, and they keep you fresh and relevant. So I think as a strategy, I think that's that's really helpful? Well, that's, actually where I got my start. Oh, so I go back full circle, yes, excellent. And teo to wrap up with with this, we'll be ready for change. I think when it comes to the exits, strategy is like, if you're saying, you know what? This isn't working for me anymore or I feel like I've done this and I'm ready to change, you know, kind of the nicer decisionmaking, places change. Is there any direction, another industry where you think you could apply? What you d'oh? Well, I'm or how you do it, aside from, um, that the actual creation of these costumes, I'm actually a researcher at heart, so I would I would go into research. Very cool and that's that's a huge talent you know that speaks to the very beginning of our process with the mood boards and the history and you know, adding things into the mix I love actually researching for other people sometimes because you feel like look what I brought you well that's what I would weigh so probably in an academic setting or for for someone writing a book or something like that brilliant actually I just wanted to diamond over for you too you probably also fit in very well at the renaissance faire crowd because they are all about that historical accuracy true and you know it's it's right in line with what you'd already be doing with period and I could wear great clothes that excellent all right, thank you so much that was wonderful thank you so a tte this point I want encourage everyone to kind of think about those three phases they're there I think vital in any any creative process is the thinking like giving yourself the time to think and to absorb and to just collect and just immerse yourself in in content and inspirational materials um and then two and then to also not forget to edit you know because we don't want to put everything in there all at once but we'll save everything for later on dh then I think also the knot not forgetting that it's a maker business you know I mean o r are calling where you want to get your hands in the process you mentioned earlier with my you know, exhibition collection those things for me again keep my hand in it so I can not lose those skills and refined them and try new skill try to develop new skills and then uh s so those two things for a lot of designers feel like where wraps up and that's why this section of communicating fashion is so important and all the different thing tools of connecting and storytelling why I personally think they're so valuable yes, uh organizations that one could potentially join to support the work support in all sorts of ways do you have any suggestions about that? Well, internationally there is fashion group international I am actually on the board in boston and I was actually a regional director for a term and that is probably the most recognizable large group that you know it and it also connects you with other cities so it's not it's a community that does communicate and I think that's really great. But then there are local groups to, you know, like meet ups and even groups that you might start up and it may be over I always like to make them around something so it's like, you know, coffee on saturday mornings, you know, we're gonna get together and talk about, you know, what what went wrong this week how we're going to fix it and support system you something as simple as that or it could be a project base where you kind of say I'm going to get a group together just test out these ideas or just to explore this new skill eso creating those support systems for yourself in addition to the practical support system you know like uh you know, friends and family who support what you do and you know, uh raising the money to do what you want to do all those kinds of things but I think the other the creative side it's important to remember you want teo cultivate support systems for that process as well? Great all right, well thank you so much day I think that was really awesome about how you linked communicating fashion but in the storytelling and everything that we're doing as we evolve but again back into that figuring out who we are instantly and what our brand is who our customers are it really really all goes together and is something that we have to continue to look at it doesn't it's not one times it's not finite at all especially in the fashion world right? I mean the whole nature of fashion is that changes so not that we have to change at that speed you know where there's a collection every couple of months but in terms of knowing letting ourselves grow and let letting our experiences kind of take us places and not being really rigid about where we are.