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From Tyler, the Creator to Offgod: what marketers can learn from fashion designers

By Lucy Selley, Junior digital designer

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March 21, 2023 | 19 min read

A big part of any marketer’s role is coming up with new ideas. Lucy Selley of Connective3 explains how inspiration can come from many places, including fashion.

Woman standing in front of graffiti'd tiles

All marketers need outside inspiration, says Lucy Selley of Connective3 / Jim Flores

Whether you’re strategizing a new campaign, starting a new design, or writing a new piece of content, one of the most important parts of the process is finding inspiration.

For marketers, inspiration can be found anywhere. It could be nature, architecture, music, furniture, movies, print or even on your morning coffee walk; the list goes on. Marketers need inspiration to come up with ideas, solve problems, find new concepts and consider different perspectives.

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Finding inspiration in fashion

One place marketers can find inspiration is fashion. The patterns, materials, shapes, colors and unique concepts can be a huge source of inspiration and can be applied to the world of digital marketing. For example, you might find interesting material on a shoe that could work really well as a texture for a design piece, or an unusual fashion show concept that sparks an idea for a campaign.

Marketers can learn a lot by keeping up to date with the latest fashion trends and following fashion designers and brands on social platforms. Here are my top five biggest fashion design inspirations.

Salehe Bembury

Salehe Bembury is an American footwear designer known for his luxurious streetwear style. He uses a natural color palette, taking inspiration from nature which also feeds into the other elements of his designs such as the patterns, shapes, and concepts.

He uses a lot of curvy shapes in these designs to reflect topographic maps, fingerprints, and camouflage patterns. One of my favorite designs from Salehe is a collaboration he did with New Balance in which he merged a whistle and a shoe together to create a functional trainer designed to keep you safe when out hiking in the woods. The name of the shoe, ‘Yurt’ nods to Salehe’s style aesthetic as a yurt is a rounded camping tent with skins draped over it.

Offgod

Andrew Mok, better known as Offgod, is a Hong Kong illustrator and fashion designer. Drew started off by illustrating rappers in his unique “Japanese anime meets western cartoon” style and posting on Instagram, where he quickly received recognition from the likes of Juice Wrld, Pharrell and Takashi Murakami.

Drew then started designing unique attachments for headphones, shoes, watches and bags, inspired by his illustrative style with a futuristic spin. These attachments take customization to the next level and, I truly believe, are the future of fashion. Drew’s attachment designs are currently prototypes, but he plans on releasing them under his clothing line ‘Bandage Boy’ in the future.

Tyler, the Creator

Tyler, the creator, mainly known for his hip-hop music, has made it big in the fashion scene over the last seven years, starting from when his clothing brand Golf Wang debuted in 2016.

For the debut, Tyler created a unique styled fashion show, where models rode BMX bikes and skateboarded down the runway, surrounded by flowery scenes inspired by his ‘Flower Boy’ album cover.

Another one of his fashion shows took place outside in a park next to a lake, with models jumping into the water and riding on boats. Tyler has a vibrant style, with a pastel color palette and often uses retro patterns. He’s gone through many style phases himself over years, from skateboarder attire, boxy logo hoodies and caps, to a French boutique style more recently, sporting tailored suits, knits and loafers.

Virgil Abloh

The late Virgil Abloh was one of the art world’s most disruptive and innovative voices. Best known for being Louis Vuitton’s Artistic Director and chief executive officer of Off-white, his talent extended beyond the fashion world.

He said that the focus of his career was to open new doors for the black community by putting the spotlight on black talent and culture. Starting with Off-white, the brand’s signatures such as quotation marks, crossed arrows, red plastic tags and diagonal stripes have become recognizable around the world. Virgil often took his work through a process of deconstruction and rebuilding to break down the boundaries and make a product finished by being unfinished. But he also did it to inspire the younger generation to get out there, use tools they have at home and make a shoe of their own.

Canyaon

Canyaon is a footwear concept designer on Instagram who merges everyday items with shoes. Canyaon’s concepts are all really unusual and nothing like I’ve ever seen before, but also functional. For example, he designed a shoe that can carry water as well as a shoe that can light a fire. I especially love his food-inspired ideas, where he integrates a Nike tick into the food (the Nike air cabbage being my favorite).

So remember, finding inspiration in mediums outside of the everyday marketing world is crucial when coming up with unique concepts day-to-day. Whether that be being inspired by Virgil’s deconstruction concept and applying that to digital type, or utilizing Tyler’s retro patterns and pastel color scheme for your logo design.

Or perhaps you’re not inspired by fashion but inspired by architecture instead. Find a subject or two that interests you and make sure you’re up to date with its latest trends; it can take your marketing campaigns and designs to another level.

Creative Creative Works

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