Design Inspiration: Where to get Ideas for Mixed Media Clothing

By Susan Lazear, Cochenille Design Studio

Lately fashion has been highlighting what I call mixed-media designs. Parallel to mixed media art, mixed-media fashions involve more than one textile/sewing technique. It has been my experience that most creative fiber people practice more than one form of textile art. So, if you sew, knit, stitch, crochet or dabble in a plethora of related textile arts, you are the perfect candidate for creating unique and one-of-a-kind clothing. Just do it!

Where does one begin?

I like to be inspired by the world around me. My resources are varied and when time permits, I like to clip, sketch, and pin the ideas that present themselves.


Pinterest is a great friend for this. It is easy to set up interest boards so you can curate your inspirations. I have numerous, and yes, I have several related to mixed-media fashions. Go check them out? Start your own interest board, and pin, pin, pin.

Combining Fabrications

Pieced Garments



Lagen Look Styles

Upcycled Sweatshirts and T’s

And here are a few boards from other people related to Mixed Media:

Key words to use when searching Pinterest would be:

Altered Couture, Mixed Media Fashion, Refashioning, Mixed Media Dress Clothing, Fiber Art Clothing, etc.

Did you know that you can print the images from a Pinterest board? I have done that with a few of my boards for quick reference.


Flickr is a hosting site for photographic images and videos. Here you can search by theme amongst the thousands and thousands of images. Try “mixed media fashion”. You might also want to read up on the Creative Commons license page if you want to use images on your blog, or otherwise.

Follow Fashion Lines

There are several companies and fashion designers that share an interest in mixed media or embellished clothing. Here are a few suggestions:


This is Robert Redford’s collection of fashion, interior and home items. Although it varies from time to time, you can find a lot of clothing that features a hand-crafted feel, and often these involve more than one textile art.


This well-known store has always carried garments that have that hand-crafted look. You will find a lot of embellishment, mixed techniques and related both in the store and online.


Santa Fe Dry Goods

This is a store in Santa Fe, New Mexico. Although I can’t afford practically all of their clothing, I never miss going into the store when I visit, as it is so inspirational. They carry many designers/lines from around the world, many of whom you may not know. I love the silhouette and garment ideas in general, but often, you will find designers who use mixed media in their work, or who focus on a specific textile art. Their website is great, and I would recommend getting on their mail list. Check out Sacai, Uma Wang, Péro, or Gilda Midani.  I also like how you can view their clothing. They provide multiple views, zooming, and they not only list the details of the garment, but the tell you how tall the model is, so you can have an idea of proportion. Be careful of the Sales page; you may indeed find something you want!

Google Search

 – Mixed Media Clothing or Mixed Media Fashion

A simple Google search will bear lots of interesting results. Below are a few links that came up.

Are you inspired yet? It’s time to brush up on your various textile arts, and plan a garment yourself that uses multiple mixed skills. Not only is it a lot of fun, but it is a guarantee that you will not see yourself walking down the street. A further bonus is that often you can use up small bits of fabric, here and there, or leftover yarns.

I use Garment Designer software to aid in my projects. I can quickly make a pattern to use in various ways; combining knits with sewn, splicing pieces, etc.

So, onwards, and enjoy!

Susan Lazear is a Professor at San Diego Community College and the owner of Cochenille Design Studio, a company that develops software for sewers, knitters, and other fiber crafts. She will be teaching a variety of classes at Sewing and Stitchery Expo.