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The creative role of sources of inspiration in clothing design

Fatma Mete (Department of Textile, Faculty of Fine Arts, University of Dokuz Eylul, Izmir, Turkey)

International Journal of Clothing Science and Technology

ISSN: 0955-6222

Article publication date: 1 July 2006




To assess the creative role of sources of inspiration in visual clothing design. It aims to analyse simple, general accounts of observed design behaviour and early stages of the clothing design process, what is the nature of design inspiration, how sources of inspiration are gathered and how they affect the creativity and originality in clothing design.


A progressive series of empirical studies looking at ready‐to‐wear clothing design has been undertaken; in situ observation, semi‐structured interviews and constrained and semi‐constrained design tasks. This empirical approach used ethnographic observational methods, which is effective in situations where conventional knowledge acquisition methods are insufficient, when broad understanding of an industry is needed, as in the fashion industry, not just a case study of a single individual or company.


Identifies the major types of idea sources in clothing design and provides information about each source. Recognises that these sources of inspiration help designers to create design elements and principles of individual designs. In order to foster originality, sources of inspiration play a powerful role throughout the creative stage of design process, and also in the early stages of fashion research and strategic collection planning.


This paper highlights the role of sources of inspiration and its effect in creativity and originality in the clothing design process. Offers practical help to clothing designers and design‐led clothing companies.



Mete, F. (2006), "The creative role of sources of inspiration in clothing design", International Journal of Clothing Science and Technology, Vol. 18 No. 4, pp. 278-293.



Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2006, Emerald Group Publishing Limited

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