Inspiration comes from everywhere and everything. It is impossible to pinpoint exactly what drives a person to think “creatively” or come up with innovative ideas. The truth is, there is no standard way to harness a creative brain, for how one is inspired is truly unique to them.
In a TED Talk by Isaac Mizrahi – a notable New York fashion designer, he describes his design inspiration as coming from mistakes in fashion or tricks of the eye. There are so many clothes nowadays that for him it’s the differences in garments that truly stand out. Whether he spots a shirt that’s functional in a new way, or one of a kind shoes, he looks for what is unique and what is interesting. Mizrahi also finds inspiration in the movies, particularly by studying the light in films – how impossible and vivid the colours look. As a designer, Mizrahi struggles to find ways to capture this beauty in his garments. This is what keeps him up at night. Mizrahi is always looking to make things “not boring,” and to live through his creativity, as to be a good designer “you always need to be slightly bored with everything, otherwise you need to pretend to be at least slightly bored with everything.”
It’s with this thinking that Mizrahi comes up with his best ideas. Through his insomnia and inability to settle his mind, he pushes the boundaries in design simply to keep things interesting. Science tells us we don’t use our brains to their maximum potential. In many careers, mine included, so much time is spent doing the same activities over and over that there is little opportunity for creative thinking. Everyone is creative though – and has creative thought. These activities drive us forward. They help us create a full and meaningful life.
So how do you find your inspiration? For me it’s through travel experiences, photography, cafe culture, and like Mizrahi – late night pondering. Whatever it is, be sure to take the time to engage in these activities regularly, to recharge and document your thoughts. You never know when you’ll have an ah-ha moment that truly changes your thinking and life.
Check out this TED Talk on fashion and creativity.