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10 Creativity Tips + Style Hacks from the Next Big Fashion Designers

Fashion Week runways are the biggest indicators of what trends will fill our closets season after season. But if you’re looking for a peek into the future of fashion, or at the very least, a creative jolt in between the seasonal show-offs, you stalk the art school runways.


At California College of the Arts’ annual senior fashion show, 13 now-graduates showcased original collections to ogling industry pros and style obsessives, and each quick three-minute presentation proved that they are some of the most creative emerging minds in the industry. Inspiring? Totally, but it didn’t end when the models exited the catwalk. We tapped the soon-to-be style stars to share what inspires their work, imaginations and personal style, and their answers are sure to help you bust through your next creative roadblock.

Sophia Jain-Embry

kate12

The 3 words that best describe my style are:
Blue, organic, textural.

What inspired your collection?
My collection, Lorelei, is inspired by the ocean. I have always been drawn to folk tales of girls emerging from the ocean to join us on land. I played with the hard versus soft nature of the waves, textures found in kelp and the destructive quality of sand and sea salt. This comes through in the custom prints I developed, the natural indigo dyeing and frayed edges of my garments.

Name your favorite style trend.
People used to have to decide between style and comfort, and finally those two things are coming together. I love this trend of effortless, comfortable garments.

What’s the best way to beat a creative slump?
Reading a new book or getting lost in nature helps get me daydreaming.

Give us your favorite piece of style advice or share your favorite style hack.
A scarf is my way to bring personality to a simple outfit. Scarfs can be used in emergencies to wrap yourself up to keep warm, or over your head to hide crazy hair or block the sun.

Vanina Howan

kate2

The 3 words that best describe my style are:
Practical, minimal, classic.

What inspired your collection?
The collection, Seasalt, promotes the comfort and effortless lifestyle of the beach and surf culture. The pieces are made out of 100% linen or cotton, so the garments can be recycled and have a second life.

Name your favorite style trend.

A good pair of boyfriend jeans. I will never go back to another skinny jean again.

What’s the best way to beat a creative slump?
I live for problem-solving. If I don’t nail it the first time (but who does anyways?), I figure out why it didn’t work, adapt and try again.

Give us your favorite piece of style advice or share your favorite style hack.

Love what you wear.

Emily Hundley

kate3

The 3 words that best describe my style are:
Opulent, edgy, ethereal.

What inspired your collection?
Mirage is inspired by the optics and fragmentation of a broken mirror. In a sense, every mirror that we look into is broken because people have a false perception of who they are or what they should look like based on the information fed to them through social media and the fashion industry.

Name your favorite style trend.

Different textures layered on top of each other.

What’s the best way to beat a creative slump?
Walking, hiking and dancing.

Give us your favorite piece of style advice or share your favorite style hack.

Safety pins can fix any wardrobe malfunction. I always pin a few to the lining in my purse just in case.

Nina Sturmfels

kate5

The 3 words that best describe my style are:
Comical, unexpected, fluid.

What inspired your collection?
Cursive was inspired by a photograph of David Hockney painting the inside of a swimming pool and Cy Twombly’s deceptively random brushstrokes in his series of cursive-like scribble paintings. I was interested in building garments that represented the handwriting of an artist. Bubble wrap is also equally important to my collection.

Name your favorite style trend.

Tulle is not just for tutus.

What’s the best way to beat a creative slump?
Caffeine.

Give us your favorite piece of style advice or share your favorite style hack.

Update a forgotten piece in your wardrobe by appliqueing bubbles all over it.

Tim Ho

Tim Ho_02

The 3 words that best describe my style are:
Exuberant, geeky, dramatic.

What inspired your collection?
For my collection, King’s Gambit, I drew my inspiration from video games, specifically the escapist element of them. In a video game, you can be anyone and do anything. My collection embodies this idea of going from playing a game to being in one.

Name your favorite style trend.
Honestly, I’m a big fan of fancy tie knots and inventive ways to lace shoes.

What’s the best way to beat a creative slump?
For me, the best way to keep creative is to keep creating. I always have multiple projects going, and if I’m stumped on one I move on to another for a while. Having multiple projects also helps keep my eyes fresh so I’m not looking at the same thing for too long.

Give us your favorite piece of style advice or share your favorite style hack.

Don’t wash your denim. If it smells, sick it in the freezer.

Farah Q. Faizi

Farah Q. Faizi_04

The 3 words that best describe my style are:
Surreal, androgynous, satirical.

What inspired your collection?
My collection, Disangled, was inspired by rules. This story is about my girl who questions why and manipulates those rules so that her boss himself gets confused what his rules are all about.

Name your favorite style trend.
Oversized trousers.

What’s the best way to beat a creative slump?
Reading interviews of artists and designers. And meditating.

Give us your favorite piece of style advice or share your favorite style hack.

If you think it is right, then it must be right — don’t doubt yourself. There are no rules to follow rules.

Robert Adrian Morel

kate8

The 3 words that best describe my style are:
Rhythmic, transformative, spectacle.

What inspired your collection?
Vanity projects an ambiance of transformative glamour, stripping away the layers of the exaggerated form popularly coined “drag.” This collection is a play on undressing transparencies to reveal the true foundation of performance.

Name your favorite style trend.
Sometimes you just have to go against the current. I’m not the type of person to go with the flow. Trends are temporary, but our concepts and inspirations are forever.

What’s the best way to beat a creative slump?
Music has been the best at curing my creative blocks because it gives me freedom to get lost within the layers of the melodic rhythm and appreciate the harmonic qualities as well.

Give us your favorite piece of style advice or share your favorite style hack.

Whoever said less is better has obviously not met a Drag Queen. Go all out and have fun with your style.

Hao Dong

kate9

The 3 words that best describe my style are:
Unique, athletic, personal.

What inspired your collection?
As a designer I am following my interests and who I really am. In Hao R U, I use Pop colors to represent my personality and fun details to represent myself.

Name your favorite style trend.
I don’t really have a favorite trend because I think trends are always created by groups, and I would rather look at every designer and get inspiration from one or two.

What’s the best way to beat a creative slump?
Keep on looking and creating fashion in every little thing in life.

Give us your favorite piece of style advice or share your favorite style hack.
I can not speak for everyone, but I like high-end street wear.

Tiana Rashaé

kate10

The 3 words that best describe my style are:
Linear, textural, feminine.

What inspired your collection?
Chrysalis is based on my personal journey over the last few years coming from a quiet and timid place transitioning to an open and freer person. Chrysalis is the scientific word for the cocoon of butterflies, which served as a second inspiration.

Name your favorite style trend.
I’m not really a person who is into trends, although it’s part of fashion to know them. I’m into things that are timeless and long-lasting.

What’s the best way to beat a creative slump?
What keeps me creative is music I love music, especially rap. How rappers put together words to create stories is what I want to do but with fashion. When I listen to music, it opens my mind, which I think helps me a lot when I have a block. But what I also think helps is being around other artists. Getting to see how they work makes you want to try different things. It’s also helpful when you need feedback on things that maybe your struggling with and vice versa.

Give us your favorite piece of style advice or share your favorite style hack.
When in doubt, wear black.

Jessica Tou

kate11

The 3 words that best describe my style are:

Luxurious, anachronistic, and elegant.

What inspired your collection?
My concept, Gloriana, was a modern-day Queen Elizabeth fighting the current-day battles that all women of today face.

Name your favorite style trend.
Side hoops.

What’s the best way to beat a creative slump?
Sheer panic.

Give us your favorite piece of style advice or share your favorite style hack.
Wear black.

What are your favorite creative style tips? Tell us in the comments below.

(Photos via Calfornia College of the Arts)

Ahhh, fall. There are so many things to love about this time of year (give us ALL the sweaters and pumpkin-flavored eats). But, high on the list comes autumn decor candles, throws, textiles — you name it. Of course, buying items and actually adding them to your room are two different things. So we're turning to Instagram for the best styling advice and inspo for the season. Scroll on to see everything you need to get those wheels turning!

@sbkliving: Sometimes, it only takes a chic doormat to transition your front steps for the season. Hello, fall!

@rachelpuccetti: Excuse us while we spend an entire lazy Sunday relaxing in this fall-infused space.

@farmhousetofrills: A monochrome mantel never looked so chic. (That fireplace pumpkin setup is seriously *genius*.)

@faith_hope_home: Greet guests with a fall-themed entrance to set the tone for a day of pumpkin carving or scary movie marathoning.

@simplysoutherncottage: Don't forget about those nooks and crannies! This entryway/mudroom situation is capturing our little harvest-loving hearts.

@6thirtydecor: Speaking of pumpkins, pick up a few extra gourds to pave the way into your cozy autumn abode.

@farmsteadonfirst: That guest bedroom you weren't sure what to do with it? Transform it into a rustic retreat with some fall signage and mustard-yellow and green accents.

@fiddleleafinteriors: We're going to take a second to *swoon* over this adorable kitchen setup. Those farmhouse accents and simple centerpiece setup? We're in love.

@ohmydearblog: Contrary to what you think, florals *aren't* just for spring. Bring them into your abode by selecting buds in moody tones to pay homage to the season.

@simply.mrs.z: Drawn to modern style? Play up the Halloween vibes by picking black, orange and brass accents to rock on places like your bookshelf. (Bonus points for carrying the theme over to your textiles.)

@drivewaytodreams_crystal: We're going to go ahead and give two thumbs up to all of these orange-hued accents. Backdropped with a neutral furnishings and they truly *pop*!

@cripcollectiveig: For those who don't want to go overboard with the "fall stuff" this one will speak to you. Compile a couple of cute throws and a minimalist pumpkin print on your mantle and you're set

@cavcottage: Who said fun pillows were limited to furnishings only? We're ALL about this entry display.

@houseon77th: This daybed setup is a *dream*. But actually, this would be the perfect space to doze off in come the colder days.

@kristenforgione: For a more festive Halloween look, overhaul your living space with a spooky handmade addition like this one. *Googles paper bat DIYs.*