The Role of Sketches in Fashion Design -Focus on a Case Study of a Professional Designer's Process-

  • Lee, Jung Soo (Dept. of Textile Art and Fashion Design, Hongik University)
  • Received : 2017.06.19
  • Accepted : 2017.07.21
  • Published : 2017.07.30


This study investigated the key role of sketches in creative fashion design by observing the cognitive process of idea development through a professional's design problem solving using the medium of hand sketching. The three-part semi-constrained design experiment with a professional designer, in which the participant designer was provided a source of inspiration image and asked to design a small collection of outfits, identified a fashion designer's idea development process as involving two phases of sketch processes: lateral and vertical transformation. Analysis of the video/audio recording and corresponding interviews validated lateral transformation in the designer's use of sketches to represent interpretation of the provided inspiration source. Through sketching, the designer transferred fuzzy ideas onto paper. Vertical transformation was observed through the designer's modification of previous ideas after reflecting on earlier sketches, with various ideas divided, manipulated, discarded, regrouped, and combined through sketching activities. The designer's sketching process is valuable design knowledge that facilitates the idea development process and ultimately triggers generation of creative ideas. Understanding it may benefit practitioners and educators.


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