Last Saturday, creative mavens from Manila gathered in our Bonifacio High Street store to attend bag designer Amina Aranaz-Alunan’s talk on her design process.  What goes on when she plans her collections? Where does her point of inspiration start? The force behind ARANAZ bags let us in on the step-by-step of translating her surroundings into visions, and finally into her pieces.

While the three-hour workshop was much too detailed to include in a single blog entry, here are ten points she made that we thought we simply had to share with those who were unable to attend:

  1. Designers often regard themselves as problem-solvers, and one of the most important characteristics a designer must have is the hunger for change, the desire to solve a problem that he or she sees at present.
  2. Being a designer is also about having guts.Design does not only mean changing an aesthetic, but it can also mean having new ideas. A designer must have the guts to introduce these ideas and concepts into society.

    A few key words for the workshop!
  3. A designer must always have his or her awareness on check.Train your eye to see what’s around you. Amina says that she does this in 3 steps: observe, absorb, and translate.

    Design, defined by the SoFA Design Institute, the school Amina teaches in, and co-founded a few years ago. SoFA also styled this Fully Booked window, which can be found in our Greenbelt 5 branch.
  4. One must not stop at observing his or her surroundings for inspiration. The important — and often challenging — part is translating these influences into designs, whether we are brainstorming for clothes, accessories, events, graphics, anything! The astute design professional must be able to evolve points of inspiration and then apply the ideas to his or her particular field.
  5. When your vision fails you, you can turn to keywords. As we put pegs and visual cues together to help ground our designs, we may also find it easier to use words to pinpoint our vision!
  6. When coming up with themes for a collection or design, try combining two themes. You’ll find your finished products to be much more interesting and out-of-this-world than if you just followed a single train of thought.
  7. A mood board is one of the most important elements of a design collection.You will keep returning to it when deciding on each element of your collection. This is especially important when working in a team and trying to keep the unity of your designs intact.

    Amina cites her vintage Hollywood themed wedding as an example for the process in the workshop. Here, she shows us preliminary collages for her ideas. These collages will eventually turn into organized mood boards, complete with color samples, fabric samples, and more details that she’ll want to keep front-of-mind.
  8. While cramming is an inevitable part of life, it is important to plan your designs with as much time as possible to revise!A large part of your time will be devoted to tweaking and editing your design. Give yourself as much time as possible to do so, don’t cram, plan!

    Amina demonstrates the usual work flow in producing her collections, and how much time goes into editing prototypes until the pieces are perfect.
  9. External critique is where you can assess your success. When asked what part of the design process was particularly grueling for them, the creatives present answered that accepting critique was always difficult to swallow. While Amina agreed, she also pointed out that going through a critique is the part of the process where you find out if you have achieved your intention with the design or not. That is when you will be able to see how you can improve your design.
  10. Lastly, listen to the dream you had when you were younger. Sometimes, the most basic of our dreams and desires can be traced by looking back at what we enjoyed when we were kids. Amina shared that she always liked “making things,” so that’s where she followed her heart to — And look how far she has come! 🙂
Amina takes photos with some of the attendees.
SoFA students came out to support and listen to Amina’s talk!

To see more of Amina’s designs, visit ARANAZ stores in Power Plant Mall and Greenbelt 5, or visit their Facebook and Twitter pages. 🙂

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