Thursday, 29 May 2014

Using Nature as Inspiration

How can I use nature as inspiration for my fashion?

In a previous post I was discussing Fae fashion, an alternative style that utilizes organic materials and motifs to reinvent the image of the mythical fairy. I had mentioned that many Fae outfits are inspired by nature. Most of us feel a deep, spiritual connection to the natural world, whether that connection might be with the moon, the sunset, the trees or the rivers. I have a particular emotional connection to autumn and the full moon, or stormy summer nights. I recall as a child I spent the majority of my time outside and it saddens me that as adults we spend the brunt of our day cooped up inside. If you're interested in using nature as a source of inspiration, one of the best ways to do so is to go outside. Nature is all around us, even in big cities there are still trees, flowers and animals. 

About two weeks ago, my fiancé and I visited one of the parks within my city. There was an abundance of life there; floral trees were in full bloom, birds were singing to their potential mates and the grass was greener than the finest cut peridot. I had brought my camera along to complete photos for a project and I was lucky that I did, because I would have otherwise missed out on documenting all the wonderful things that spring has to offer! Getting inspired by nature is easy, you may come across a flower in your favorite colour or a grand old tree that you admire. Try going on a hike and snapping photographs, making sketches, or collecting objects you find on the trail.

Creating a colour palette using photographs

One of the easiest ways to incorporate nature in your fashion is by utilizing a color palette found in nature. You can do this from photographs or through your observations, but photo documentation is often easiest. To give you an idea, I'll be going over a few pictures from my outing and discussing the colour selections I made based off of the image.

*** I only have a basic knowledge of colour theory, this is just my method for developing a colour palette and is only meant to inspire you! : ) ***

This is a photograph of a cherry blossom tree in full bloom. I have always been drawn to cherry blossom trees for their vibrancy. In order to select a palette using the cherry blossom tree as a basis, I start by selecting my favorite main colour. In this instance, it is a seductive lipstick pink. I will go one shade lighter (or darker) within that colour family. I will then choose a colour that compliments (the spring green found in the leaves), an accent colour (I chose yellow) and a neutral colour (the gray found in the bark). I use Adobe Kuler to refine my colour selections. Kuler is a free online colour mixer often used for web and graphic design. It comes in handy when developing a fashion colour palette!

Here is another example using red maple leaves. This colour palette may appear somewhat monochromatic but not all of these colours come from the same family. The first two colours are on the cooler side of the colour wheel (leaning toward the purples and blues) whereas the last three are on the warmer side (closer to orange and yellow). Sometimes allowing more neutral tones in your palette can give more vibrancy to your main or accent colours. In this example the grayed down browns on the end cause the first three colours to stand out more.

This example is the almost the same as the cherry blossom palette. Can you tell which colours are my main, accent, complimentary and neutral?

This example is more difficult than the last three. This is a beautiful picture of tree bark but at a glance it just looks gray! How can I pull any inspiration out of this? Look harder. You can see that there is more than meets the eye. This tree bark has shades of red, orange, green and blue!

Finding a colour palette in nature can be easy once you get the hang of it. You can use these palettes in your makeup or through your sewing; the possibilities are endless. In the future I will discuss utilizing organic forms and textures in Fae fashion. For now, I encourage you to go outside and enjoy the fresh air!

Kind regards,

Main photo - image source unknown; photographs and colour swatches are mine.


  1. What a lovely post! I really enjoyed reading it - great tips and beautiful photographs :)

  2. Thanks Gothic Flamingo! I'm glad you enjoyed it. :)


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