'The Fashion Resource Book: Research for Design' is a richly illustrated survey and a mine of information about the major themes of fashion, with interviews of leading contemporary designers and education professionals.
The author Robert Leach, in the fashion business for over 30 years, is associate Lecturer at Central St Martins since 1992 and Senior Lecturer by The University of Westminster since 2002.
He is also a great contributor on Design Addict's forum and we took this opportunity to ask him a few questions:
-Can you explain how you got the idea for this book?
"The idea was born from my recognition, within the academic process, that visual research is becoming more and more important to feed the designer's output. The source books that existed were out-dated and old-fashioned; design students today seek out visually exciting and arresting books and imagery. They are visual people so no amount of text can compensate for a strong visual narrative.
Design, in some respects, has plateaued, so only by developing a sound knowledge of what has gone before, as well as developing one's critical thinking, can design move forward at the pace demanded by this fast-moving global industry.
At the beginning of the writing process I posted about the subject on the Design Addict Forum and both discussed the subject and received valuable input from people working within other design disciplines."
- In your opinion, does research for design has been strongly influenced by the Internet and its easy access to multiple sources of inspiration? What is its impact on the creation?
"The internet can be a useful research tool if one knows how to use it properly, but I don't think it's any substitute for books and primary research. I think one can learn a lot more by, say, visiting a museum or an exhibition than by browsing the net. Images on a screen are no substitute for seeing and handling the real thing."
- Design Addict being a website focused on furniture and product design and knowing that you are very familiar with this area as well, could you tell us whether the research process are very different in fashion design and the other design fields? Doesn't the sustained rate of fashion collections require a more methodical research work?
"Research and development in furniture and product design is usually a slower process; not being driven by the seasonal forces affecting the fashion business, and with the end result having a longer life expectancy, but fundamentally I think the processes are the same; an in-depth knowledge of what has been done before, teamed with a strong working knowledge of materials and technology, both traditional and, especially, any new methods and techniques.
In a world where it can feel like most things have been seen and done the invention of new materials and technology is a very obvious way of driving design forward, as well as the designer’s desire to create, and to convey their ideas in new and exciting forms."
This book will enable readers both to understand the vital role of research and to discover the techniques the designers have adapted for themselves.
Book: The Fashion Resource Book: Research for Design
Author: Robert Leach
Publisher: Thames & Hudson