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Mastering Mood + Trend: How to Create Beautiful Inspiration Boards

Understanding the magic of mood boards means taking a glimpse into the heart of a fashion creative's process; it's like a snapshot of their inspiration, a collection of ideas waiting to unfold.

An easy way to think of a mood board is the physical or digital space where designers collect, curate, and collate their inspirations.

A mood board gives life to a coherent visual story that inspires and creates the story for new fashion collections. But a mood board is more than just a collection of pretty images; it's a practical, effective tool that helps communicate and convey a designer's vision while setting the mood and tone for a fashion collection.

The Importance of Mood Boards in Fashion Design

Mood boards are the backbone of our creative process here at our studio. They help us bring clarity to our vision, bringing together fragments of inspiration to create a coherent, beautiful narrative.

Mood and trend boards act as visual translators, expressing our design thoughts and aspirations to our team, collaborators, and clients. These boards bridge the abstract ideas swirling in our minds and the concrete reality of materials, cuts, and colors. More than this, they help us develop and maintain a brand's identity, ensuring every collection we produce resonates with our ethos of creating functional, beautiful, and enduring garments.

So, what are the steps, and how do we create mood boards here at KRSTN NDRSN? We'll tell you how:

A laptop open to Pinterest showing off lingerie pins on a marble backdrop with a pink candle.
Gathering inspiration for lingerie collections via Pinterest.

1. Gathering inspiration

It all starts with inspiration, and as designers, we see it everywhere! Exciting visual details that cascade into our work are all over if you know where to look. At our studio, we draw from vast pools of influences - from the natural world's textures and colors, the clean lines of architecture, and the vibrant strokes of art to the vibrancy of pop culture. We also delve into the past, channeling vintage styles, historical moments, or design archives. We also find ourselves drawn to abstract art and beautiful descriptions in books or stories, and that's OK, too.

Don't forget to consider inspiring places like your favorite vacation destination—I often find the most inspiration when my brain relaxes in a beautiful setting. I take many pictures on trips, so the inspiration doesn't leave when I do -- I take it home with me and revisit my photos many times to come.

We also love Pinterest for online image gathering and research. Pinterest is incredibly wonderful because it works with so many different websites, so we can pull from all over the internet that way. You can also try using something like Miro to create an expansive mood board, like a living document.

As far as physical mood boards, we're huge fans of good old-fashioned magazine tear-outs, fabric swatching, and sketchbook ideas. There's something really fabulous about creating a physical mood board with some scissors, fabric swatches, glue, and your own two hands. The tangible nature can be more exciting than a digital-only board. Better yet, you can blur the lines and move from digital to physical by printing your boards to add extra physical qualities to make it POP!

The key is not to limit yourself – remember that diversity in inspiration can lead to some of the most unique and stunning designs.

2. Select Key Elements for Your Mood Board

While there's no set rule for what should go on your mood board, pulling out a few key elements can help communicate your ideas more effectively. It could be a specific photograph that ties everything together or a concept detail that you want to ripple through the entire collection where it makes sense to connect the pieces.

In this area, consider adding color palettes or fabric swatches to capture the mood you're aiming for. Think about the textures that inspire you, shapes and silhouettes you're drawn to, and patterns or prints that spark your interest.

At our design studio, we understand that each element plays a crucial role. They form the visual language that will define our collections, each component interacting with the others to convey design concepts that align with our brand's identity and ethos. Create a beautiful story, and it will resonate through your whole collection.

Fashion magazines spread out of the floor with a sketchbook and scissors ready to cut out pages.
Using magazines to cut out inspiration for a sketchbook.

3. Crafting Your Mood Board

Once you've gathered your inspiration and selected your key elements, it's time to assemble your mood board. Here's where the magic truly begins!

You might go digital using platforms like Pinterest or Canva, allowing easy editing and sharing. On the other hand, there's something special about physical boards – the tactile experience of handling materials, moving them around, pinning, and layering can be incredibly inspiring and uplifting for your psyche.

I like to believe that arranging your elements is both an art and a science. It's about achieving balance and harmony while keeping the board dynamic and engaging. One tip is to start with your most significant elements, like dominant colors or central images, and then build around them. Feel free to rearrange and play around until it 'feels right.' You'll know it when you get there.

4. Using Your Mood Board in Practice

After crafting, your mood board becomes your design compass, guiding your sketches, influencing your fabric choices, and inspiring your final designs. It's the checkpoint you repeatedly return to throughout the design process to ensure alignment with your original vision.

In our studio, mood boards are integral from concept to completion. They help us keep our collections consistent with our brand ethos of creating purposeful, visually stunning garments that resonate with our customers.

Once you've designed your complete collection, it's always good to review it again with your mood board to ensure the pieces fit and coordinate with what you were looking for. Sometimes, I even revise a mood board after I built in details that weren't in the original version but felt 'right' when I was in sketch mode. There's no right or wrong way to go here, but returning to your starting point is always a great way to tie it all together.

Case Study

For our Bridal 2024 collection, the mood board encapsulated an ethereal and romantic vision, drawing inspiration from the delicate interplay of light and texture. This collage of images portrays a soft palette of pastel hues, ranging from the faintest blush to subdued silvery tones, setting a dreamy and sophisticated tone for the collection.

At the heart of this mood board lies the gentle juxtaposition of satin and lace—classic bridal textures that evoke a sense of traditional romance and modern elegance. Including a sheer, embellished fabric swatch whispers the idea of intricate detailing that will cascade across the styles, suggesting a level of craftsmanship and attention to detail that is paramount in bridal design.

Pearlescent elements, seen in the lustrous sheen of an oyster shell, adorned with delicate pearls, reflect an underlying theme of natural beauty and sophistication. This motif nods to timeless bridal elegance, suggesting that designs may feature pearl beading or iridescent accents.

A mood board with a collage of pictures of pearls, bubbles, and ethereal lingerie images.
Mood board for Bridal 2024 lingerie collection.

A touch of the surreal comes through with an image of a translucent bubble delicately balanced on a pair of hands, symbolizing the fragile and fleeting moments that bridal attire is often associated with. This could translate into design elements that embody transparency, lightness, and an air of whimsy.

Overall, this mood board for our Bridal 2024 collection is a softness, texture, and ephemeral beauty narrative. It informs a collection that aims to dress the contemporary bride in lingerie that feels like a materialized fragment of a tender, cherished dream.

As we move from mood board to sketches and finally to fabric selection and garment construction, these images will remain a touchstone, ensuring every piece reflects the intended narrative and evokes the emotions captured here. While it may evolve from this starting point, the final collection will retain the essence of this initial inspiration, a testament to the power of a well-constructed mood board.


Mood boards are a super valuable tool in the fashion design process. They provide a canvas to visualize our inspiration, refine our ideas, and communicate our design intentions. As we've walked you through this process, we hope you're inspired to create your own mood boards, whether you're an established designer, a fashion student, or just someone who loves to dream in textures, colors, and patterns.

Feel free to share your mood boards or experiences using mood boards in your creative process. We can't wait to see the fabulous visions you'll bring to life! Remember, every great design starts with an idea, and every idea deserves a beautiful mood board.

Struggling to come up with the perfect concept for your fashion collection? Let our team handle the creative heavy lifting. Learn more about our Concept & Color Creation Package. 🎨✨


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