Marc Jacobs: inspiration is the catalyst

For fashion designer Marc Jacobs, inspiration catalyzes the creative process.

Inspiration isn’t always there right from the start.

Because my team works on a schedule and deadline, the inspiration doesn’t necessarily come first in the process; it comes at some point in the process.

Without inspiration, the team explores at random, following instinct.

Up until the point where we feel inspired within a given season, we’re just making random choices based on instinct.

I find that without the inspiration it’s like looking at a blank piece of paper and I don’t know what to do. I just can’t move on. It’s a paralyzing sort of feeling.

When inspiration comes, everything starts to come together.

But it is when it comes that things actually start coming together.

When there is something that I’m excited about or inspired by, something I genuinely am interested in or that appeals to me, it gives me the incentive to create and to make and to do. So that the inspiration plays a huge part in the motivation.

Without that catalyst, not any part of the process ever feels real or right or like it has any authenticity or spirit.

When I feel inspired, it sets off a load of other actions. It gives me a little bit of a parameter. It gives me a little bit of scope. Which is really useful for me. When there are no boundaries, no limits, no rules, I find it’s too overwhelming. Everything plays a part in the whole. So finding that inspiration helps to narrow down those choices and put them together in a way that’s fresh and new. And I find that’s really useful.

Inspiration can be pursued, but it can’t be forced.

It isn’t something we can decide to find. It really is a very organic thing that happens throughout the entire process. Throughout the months of working on a collection.

I find inspiration to be something very personal. What usually resonates and works the best for me is when it is something that I actually have a connection to. Something I’ve lived, something I’ve experienced, something I’ve seen. When I watch something, when I see something, not really sure why it does it but I connect to it and then I just pursue it.

I would suggest to anyone to explore any interest that they genuinely have. Engage in it as much as you possibly can. Whatever turns you on I think you have to go into as far as you possibly can and explore as much as you possibly can.

From his course on Masterclass.