Tuesday, July 24, 2012


What is the true meaning of inspiration? While this is a post about my creative process for design, it is also a dialogue about idea-poaching. It is a fact, everyone steals from everyone. Most of my designs are a product of images and creations that have all collected in my brain and somehow came to fruition--filtered by the application of solid design principles, such as balance, proportion, repetition, unity, etc. (Thank you design school...my loan payment is on its way, I swear).  Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery but when does imitation or inspiration become plain ole theft?

Case in point. In Winter of 2008, Fashion house Dries Van Noten sent models down the runway wearing huge collar type necklaces that looked as though they were cast off bangles strung on a string. Well, actually they were...just really freakin' expensive ones! The images were STUNNING and brilliant and although not practical, the aesthetic really stuck with me. 




A literal translation of this necklace is not only blatant copying but also a little "over the top" for the average girl--even a fashionable one. I'm picturing bending over to pick up the Bug's sippy cup while unloading my grocery cart on the cashier's station with my giant string of bangles clanking around-RE.DONKULOUS. 

Instead I developed the concept with a One Man's Trash twist...incorporated my own style and came up with this translation:

Once production begins, the piece can take on a life of its own
Silver Osiris Necklace July 2011

The first Totem Necklace July 2011

Tassel Totem Necklace Winter 2011

Tassel Totem Necklace Spring 2012

Holiday Bounty Fall 2011
While you can clearly see inspiration from the original Dries Van Noten piece, I like to think that I made it my own.  I make it a point to reuse and recyle as much as possible so there are all kinds of quirky elements hidden in my pieces. Like old tape dispensers and tubes for example.  

The latest translation for Summer 2012. Buy this beauty here

So imagine my surprise, while searching for images of the original Dries Van Noten piece to share with you, I came across this image of a necklace from their winter collection.  I literally gasped.
Dries Van Noten
Cool, huh? What freaks me out is that I don't think I have ever seen this necklace and yet last year I made this:
Sandscape Necklace 2011
And this:
Rapunzel Necklace Fall 2011
From this original sketch:

While they clearly have different elements, the similarities between these two pieces cannot be ignored. How do you explain how two designers in different parts of the world at different times come up with such a similar translation of what is essentially art. My point being, where does your inspiration really come from. Perhaps we saw the same image that inspired this design. Perhaps I saw the design in a magazine and subconsciously filed it away for later use. With One Man's Trash, I strive to be fiercely original, but when you are creating something new, is it really something new? There is no way of understanding the mysteries of the creative brain and where your ideas really come from. All you can do is hope that you are putting in your own twist!