THINKING and MAKING
THINKING and MAKING, we are taught to think about them as two separate processes but is it really true? Can one MAKE anything without THINKING it through first? We THINK about things as we MAKE and we MAKE ideas as we THINK.
First comes an idea, what is it we want to do. It doesn’t matter how abstract or concrete this idea is, it has to emerge and it will not without THINKING. We THINK when we want to understand our purpose as designers, our message to the world, direction of our next collection, or how many darts will be in the dress we are planning to draft at the moment. All these decision are made through THINKING. Some might disagree, they believe they just come and create, though I doubt it. The THINKING stage is inevitable, it is just that sometimes it is hidden, lengthy or totally subconscious but, nevertheless, the process does happen and it leads to MAKING. We enter the empty studio, stand in front of the clean table and are ready to start. That is when the conversation begins, because MAKING leads to the new directions, unfolds the possibilities we didn’t envision, provides us with the new knowledge which we want to THINK over or simply not everything we thought about or imagined works out precisely as we planned. This is the stage of iteration, a step in the process which emerges from the dialog between THINKING and MAKING. From this point on this conversation is endless and it stops only when the time is due to present the work, until then doubt and reTHINKING, changes and reMAKING are constantly there.
However, all this can be said about any designing or creative process, so what is so special about fashion design? Fashion is about clothes, and clothes are about bodies, and bodies are about identities, perceptions, representations. Clothes play an important part in how one experiences the world and how he is experienced by others, as argued by Fred Davis and Joanne Entwistle. This makes clothes into complex and charged objects, design of which does not solely provide solution for the practical function— protect from the cold outside or from the dirt at work, but creates and impacts much bigger phenomena. As designers, our THINKING doesn’t stops with constructional and aesthetic solutions, we must clearly understand the power of our MAKING, the possibilities and responsibility it implies and never underestimate the importance of THINKING in our creative practice.
In the upcoming essays that emerged in the aftermath of the many conversations and exchanges Lena Lumelsky and I have had over the years, we discuss the notion of fashion, as an intersection of craftsmanship, embodiment, and social and cultural practice. These writings will illuminate the crux of the intellectual perceptions, manual making process, and bodily performance represented by and through clothes, and will attempt to develop new perspectives on the understanding of fashion, as a social phenomenon, and clothes, as cultural artifacts.
THINKING and MAKING are inseparable and they could not possibly exist in alienation. It is the endless conversation between the two that leads forward. Design in general and fashion design in particular is a perfect illustration of this collaboration. As fashion designers we think all the time. We THINK even when we think we don’t, when we think about things we enjoy, for example musing about an exciting new idea or when we are frustrated because the things didn’t work out the way we planned and now the beautiful garment of our dreams looks like a pile of rags. These two verbs are so interconnected that it is even hard to understand where one ends and another begins, even writing those words I feel that the essence eludes me, that I don’t succeed to describe the fundamentality of the bond between THINKING and MAKING in fashion designer’s world. Yet, I will try to explain…