Several weeks ago, a few of us here at Karma attended CreativeMornings, a breakfast lecture series, to hear Dom Streater speak. Dom, a fashion and textile designer, won season 12 of Project Runway—easily the TV show of choice at Karma. Where other agencies do cutthroat March Madness brackets, we carefully pick our top three designers. We watch the show weekly, analyzing every fabric choice and savoring every meltdown.
Dom's talk wasn't on Project Runway. Instead, she discussed avant garde fashion and its role in the fashion industry. For the sake of this post, I’ve boiled down the general cycle of creativity in fashion, per Dom, here:
In one way or another, everyone in fashion—from fast fashion retailers to high-end trend forecasters—look toward the avant garde for fresh thinking. Through this process, uncomfortable ideas are transformed into wearable ones. Strange becomes cool. Bizarre becomes chic. Though no label wants to be known for weirdness alone, that’s where they all begin.
Weird is essential to our work, too. Weird spurs copy that feels alive and inspires design that catches you off guard. (Take for instance my use of weird as a noun). Without weird, all we have is the expected and easy-to-ignore. Best practices are best today, boring tomorrow. Both in sweaters and advertising.
So, let’s all take some insight from a Project Runway winner. Next time you need inspiration, don’t turn to what you know. Don’t look for the cool and current. Look for the weird stuff, the things that make you uncomfortable. It could be a novel by a Chinese author you’ve never heard of, an overwhelmingly NSFW art exhibition or a short film shot from a truly startling angle.
If you find it weird, it’s only because you’ve never seen it or don’t understand it. Yet. And that’s where the fun begins.
Brooke Randel is a Copywriter and fan of all things weird.