New fashion collection: inspiration & sketching – episode 1 ǀ #ProjectRacine ǀ Justine Leconte


The start of a new collection is both exciting
and scary. This one came from a mere idea. I spent a few days in Matera, a little town
in the south of Italy, in spring, and what I saw there really stayed with me. There I saw churches carved into the mountain,
but you could see the roots and the nature growing through the walls, trying to win back
the mountains. It was absolutely fascinating. I came back to Berlin still thinking about
it, and about how much beauty can emerge when we, humans, are not trying to control everything,
because random, broken, imperfect can just be so pretty. I found that this feeling actually has a name
in Japanese: it’s called wabi-sabi, which means everything in this world, human-made
or not is unfinished, imperfect and non-permanent. Even if you live in a very large city, like
I do in Berlin, if you take the time to look around you, you will see wabi-sabi and get
this feeling everywhere: on the streets in gardens, buildings… everywhere you look
really. I guess this was my starting point for the
collection. I just grabbed paper and a pen and I tried
to write down and describe in words all the thoughts and the feelings that were suddenly
popping up everywhere in my head. This needs to go fast, otherwise I always
feel like I might lose thoughts on the way. The visual research went very well. It all grew quite organically. I got at least 100 good pictures very quickly. But 100 is great as an inspirational wall,
not as a concrete and directional moodboard, so I knew I needed to trim all that down and
edit big time. At that moment, I realized that most of my
pictures are in fact textures. I barely have any shapes in there… So I know what the collection will feel like,
but I have no idea yet what it will look like, which is a bit of an issue, isn’t it?… When I have a problem, usually I go make tea. Tea is like yoga for in-between. I had a construction teacher when I was studying
at Parsons who said, “You know, fashion is not like business. You don’t start with the hardest part here. You start with the easiest part. And if you have a problem, just leave your
work aside, come back to it later. The solution to the problem might come to
you while you’re doing something completely different anyways”. And I was like, “aha…” By the way, I call this project “Project
Racine”, cause every project I do has a code name, and you will see why. The moodboard came organically, so I decided
to create the shapes organically as well. And for me, the best way, the most intuitive
way, of designing is not with flat patterns, it’s in 3D… draping fabric on to a dress
form to see seeing how it feels and how it falls. I ordered a dressmaking form, the kind that
has collapsible shoulders that you can push up and down, or that you can pin onto, etc. It is my first professional dress form since
I left fashion school, since I graduated, so unboxing it was better than Christmas! Mounting it, on the other hand… mmm… When you put a dress on the dress form and it
starts going down… Like where is it going? Meanwhile, in my head, the collection just
keeps growing. Once I started, I can’t stop thinking about
it. So I started to sketch very early on in the
process. At the beginning, it’s very quick, basic,
simple. I just want to keep bits and pieces and thoughts
for later It is not a proper illustration yet because I don’t know the exact proportions and all the details yet. The creative process is just one part of the
job. The other parts include sourcing fabrics,
finding suppliers (in Europe, who are willing to work with my quantities). Will they produce in the color that I want,
because I don’t want standard colors… “Hi. I’d like 50 pieces of this. Do you do that? Sure. We’ll do it if you take 300 pieces and pay
everything up front…” No, thank you. For this collection, I am also managing the
whole logistical part, so fabrics need weeks to be produced, then shipped. Then production also needs weeks. Information gets lost on the way… or in translation. Literally. This is where it gets stressful, and that’s
why larger companies actually have production managers who do only that. Basically, I’m in the middle of the creative
process. I already started sourcing fabrics, calculating
prices, looking for suppliers… all at the same time. And documenting the process on top. Right now, I don’t know how to stay on top
of things. My days are getting longer and longer. I’ll be fine. But at the moment, it is a stretch… COMING UP… Folds, gathers, random patterns. I’m missing the info of which ones are in
stock service. Subscribe to this channel so you don’t miss
the next episode.

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