Using a Fashion Mood Board to Design Your Clothing Line

Anytime you draw a fashion design in your sketchbook, the design inspiration needs to come from somewhere. Whether you know it or not, your design concepts are sourced from different images, people, places, designers, and ideas that you’ve come across in your life. By creating a fashion mood board, you can bring these ideas together to consciously cultivate the design elements of your clothing line. 

A fashion mood board is a physical or digital inspiration board where you can store all the colors, textures, aesthetics, and design concepts you want to incorporate into your fashion line. As a designer, it provides you with a place to collect your thoughts and ideas. More importantly, you can see how they can all come together to form a cohesive vision for your collection. Mood boards encourage you to draw inspiration from different areas of your life, and they can ignite your imagination when you’re feeling uninspired.

Once you decide what type of mood board you want to use, you can start collecting images that’ll help you determine the design direction of your line. Next, all you need to do is find a production house to turn these ideas into a stunning fashion collection. 

How to Create a Fashion Mood Board

fashion mood board: women in a meetingThere are two types of fashion mood boards: physical and digital. Depending on what type of artist you are, you may find yourself preferring one type over the other. Here are the pros, cons, and specific attributes of each type.

Physical Mood Boards

If you are a tactile person who prefers putting things together with your hands, a physical mood board may be better suited for you. These can be made of cork, cardboard, foam board, or even whiteboard. The benefit of using a physical board is that you can add drawings, strings, thread, glitter, crafts, fabric swatches—whatever makes you feel inspired! This makes it easy to draw inspiration from all kinds of sources. It also allows you easily remove things that don’t fit the overall theme.

Physical mood boards also make it easier to collaborate with a team on different ideas for your clothing line. So if you are working with an extended group of creatives, you can plan meetings to develop design concepts and easily group things by category on a larger mood board.

Digital Mood Boards

If you aren’t much into drawing and creating collages, a digital mood board might suit you.

A fashion mood board allows you to collect images and ideas right on your computer. No need to cut pictures from magazines or collect physical fabric swatches. You can compile images as you go about your day. After, put them together using web design tools or graphic design programs like Photoshop. These allow you to drag and drop images and arrange them to your liking. Websites like Canva also provide fashion mood board templates that you can use to curate your digital board. 

The benefit of using digital mood boards is that you can identify the exact color swatches you want to use in your designs. So if you want to incorporate the Pantone color of the year into your new collection, you can sample the exact color and integrate it into your mood board. In fact, Photoshop allows you to upload color palettes from Pantone and change the colors of your images to match. 

From Mood Boards to Fashion Designs

So how do you translate the ideas from your mood board into actual fashion designs? Start by identifying a common theme from the images you’ve collected. Then, determine how you can connect the colors, textures, and fashion trends on your mood board into one design concept.

Finding Your Design Concept

fashion mood board: sample mood board for a design conceptIdeas that can be pulled out of this specific mood board are geometric lines, black and white tones, eerie imagery, and illustrations of the human form. For example, straight geometric lines and the natural curves of a human body are contrasting ideas. Therefore, the aesthetic of this collection could be boxy pieces with stiff lines and shapely pieces with curved lines. 

You could select fabrics with a slightly darker, macabre feel, like black tulle, stiff lace, distressed leather, and silk velvet. As a result, the overall design concept could end up resembling the dark Victorian themes of Alexander Mcqueen’s fashions. It also evokes the sleek, long lines of Yohji Yamamoto’s menswear-inspired fashions.

The real benefit of a mood board comes from combining initially disparate ideas and finding a way to unify them into an innovative fashion line. It’s often said that in fashion, there are no new ideas. But, as A Magazine states, creating anything new comes from adapting something that already exists. So it’s the way that you interpret and combine existing ideas that truly makes your fashion seem fresh and inventive. 

So when you pull inspiration from your mood board, your goal should be to design a line that gives consumers a take on fashion they’ve never seen. If your inspiration comes from another designer, make sure that you use them as inspiration and avoid copying them. 

Finding the Perfect Creative Team

If you need help organizing your mood board and translating it into a collection of cohesive fashion designs, look no further than TEG’s team of creative, multi-talented fashion professionals. We have formed a seasoned group of industry experts to help with all your design direction needs. Not only can we produce your fashion line, when you purchase this design package, we’ll also assist you in the creation of your mood board and offer the following services:

Design Services – $1100/style*

  •  Design intake session
  •  Flat drawing of each style 
  •  Line sheet
  •  Prints/colors rendered
  •  Fabric color palette
  •  1–2 rounds of revisions*
  •  Optional fashion illustration*

*A surcharge applies to complex styles for all services.

At TEG, we love translating your creative ideas and inspiration into captivating designs. That’s why we developed a Design Services Package that allows you to work directly with a professional designer and convert your fashion mood board into clear designs ready for development.

Bringing Your Mood Board to Life

two women smiling while workingWhether you use a physical or digital mood board, your approach to creating it is what makes you a unique fashion designer. When you can draw inspiration from various sources and incorporate them into your design process, all you’ll need is a production house to bring your designs to life. That’s where TEG comes in. With the assortment of creative services we provide, you’ll have the opportunity to work with fashion industry professionals to translate your ideas into a cohesive fashion collection.

TEG is a full-service fashion development and production house providing high-quality fabric and trim sourcing that you won’t find elsewhere. Our top-of-the-line sourcing managers skillfully guide you through sampling fabric swatches, negotiating minimums and prices, tracking orders, and more.

We’ve helped over 2,000 designers bring their visions to life during the last 15+ years. So whether you’re an emerging or established designer, we’d love to help you, too!

Please call or fill out the form below for all inquiries and questions. We will respond within 1-2 business days. Thank you!

Los Angeles: 800-916-0910 | San Francisco: 415-324-8779

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