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Fall/Winter 2016 Inspiration

by Emily DeLong

15 August 2016

Writing about inspiration is hard, because mine doesn't really happen in a linear way. A lot of times I don't realize what has inspired me until weeks after the inspiration hits, and other times I start out being inspired by something until I go in a totally different direction and realize the final product has nothing to do with what inspired me in the first place. That said, I definitely am inspired by things (many things!), but my inspiration process is messy. As we prepare to launch our Fall/Winter 2016 collection, I figured it was a good time to delve into what's behind it.

My relationship with fashion trends is complicated. I try to balance my design process with what's trendy by absorbing what's in style and then using myself and my creative process as a sort of filter. I stay aware of and receptive to each trend as it arrives, let the trend mull around in my head/creative space for some time, and then put it into one of three categories:

a) That's silly/terrible/frightening and I'm going to ignore it/cower in fear (see: statement fur, fashion hoodies, high shine, '80s one-shoulder tops, pierced clothing)
b) YES YES YES I love that and was already going to incorporate that, even if it was out of style (see: fall florals, plaid, schoolgirl-esque jumpers, midi-length skirts, pussy bows)
c) I like parts of that, but I think I'll use it as a springboard into something a bit different (see: layered eveningwear, ruffles, exaggerated sleeves, pink, cropped pants, military style, '70s-inspired everything)

So if you were hoping I was releasing a collection featuring shearling-lined puffer jackets, lace-up vinyl slip dresses, and metallic purple platform boots, sorry to dash your hopes. I can't promise that won't be what FW17 looks like, however.

Much of this season's collection is the result of an abstracted and admittedly romanticized vision of American fashion in the 1940s. World War II had both temporary and lasting impacts on the way women dressed: skirts and dresses became shorter and less voluminous to conserve fabric, colorful fabrics and trims abounded to combat the darkness of the war, women began wearing pants both to work and out of the house, mix-and-match two-piece suits became a thing. I liked the idea of how wartime fabric conservation efforts mirror today's sustainable fashion movement and resource conversation as a whole. I loved the feminist symbolism that a pair of pants had then and still has today. I became obsessed with the idea of the '40s day dress and wanted to find a way to make it my own. 

A lot of my inspiration is intangible and hard to put into words. When looking for visual inspiration, whether it be in painting, drawing, photography, or something else, I like to overwhelm myself with lots of different visual imagery (often through Tumblr or Pinterest) and compile everything that grabs me at first glance. Sometimes it's the color that grabs me, sometimes it's the lighting or perspective, and a lot of times I just like it and can't say why. Sometimes I'll look back at something I compiled and wonder what it was I saw in it. Other times I'll look back on something and be just as captivated as I was the first time. It's hard to say how each piece of artwork I've seen and enjoyed in the last several months has individually contributed to Margu's FW16 collection, but together they create an exuberantly colorful, sometimes disjointed, and thoroughly Margu mood board.

As I mentioned above, I'm a bit obsessed with Pinterest and Tumblr and use both to catalog and organize ideas and inspiration. The Margu Tumblr, which is where all the images in this post are from, is an always-evolving collection of inspiring visual art and photography. Our Pinterest page is a bit more free-form and features everything from artwork to ice cream recipes to styling ideas to motivational quotes. If you want to follow next season's inspiration as it happens, you should check them out!

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