How not to get confused between what inspires you and what you want to create

Photograph by WIX

There was a time when I was immensely inspired by minimalism. The first collection that I made was all white, crisp, and raw. The second and third collections also followed the same aesthetics. But somewhere down the journey, even now, although I continue to be inspired by the nudity of minimalism, I somehow don’t feel motivated to translate that into my work.

As creatives, we often tend to forget that our motivation to create is extremely personal and although we could include elements of what we get inspired by, our practice might never be the dominant expression of it.

Speaking from personal experience, my motivation to design and create is to channel beauty and create visually pleasurable and tactile experiences. When analyzed further, minimalism as a design aesthetic had started becoming limiting and too stern in expression for me to find joy in.

This made me realize that I had to be really conscious about what elements in a particular setting appealed to me rather than assuming that I was inspired by the whole piece itself. For example, I continue to be inspired by the clarity of purpose and intentionality of design that minimalism epitomizes. The wisdom lies in understanding how I can bring these two qualities and marry those with what intrinsically drives me to create.

This awareness is integral to design education as youngsters run the risk of being consumed by what they see in the information age. It's important to teach them to create a distance between their inspiration boards and their core emotional drivers of creativity.

It's easy to carried away by a successful person’s design philosophy even though that might be in sharp contrast to your own creative expression.

Another example from my personal experience is my deep admiration for Sabyasachi’s art direction. Back in the days when I was a student, I didn't have the discernment to understand that I was inspired by the composition of his campaigns rather than the design of his clothes. It took me time to separate the two. Now I know better. I am inspired by the royalty and regality that he channelizes in his work. But when it comes to clothes in particular I gravitate towards wearing an Anamika Khanna that is closer to my identity of contemporary ethnic experience.

With my growing interest in fashion and design education, I would love to see and create for students being taught abstract but insightful concepts and values as these.

What are your thoughts on this?

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