Behind the Design: Lizz & Julie on the March Collection

If the brilliant pieces from our spring collection conjure up the nostalgia of hittin’ the road and savoring the scenery, then you’re experiencing the magic of fine design! Below, the wizards of ModCloth’s print design and fashion concepts reveal their process, share the inspiration behind these memorable styles, and showcase their creative personalities. Added bonus: accompanying behind the scenes glimpses from the campaign photo shoot!

Print Designer, LA

Can you walk us through the print design process?

Sure! The design team starts with a concept; an over-arching theme that inspires us and trickles down through the rest of product development and marketing. In this case, we were inspired by the desert and the countless road trips we’ve all taken through it. We then gather images, colors, fabrics, and vintage pieces to further inspire our designs. Then I start drawing. And painting. And collaging. And sketching, erasing, re-sketching — you get it. All these motifs and illustrations go into Photoshop and are tidied up (nobody wants a bunch of stray paint splotches, or to see the time I dragged my arm through some wet ink!), recolored based on our desert-inspired palette, then put into pattern layouts. My favorite part of my job are these beginning stages when ideas and creativity flow so freely, and I can really play and experiment.

Tell us about how your inspiration brought the March collection to life.

I grew up in the Sonoran desert in Arizona. We went on tons of road trips growing up. When I finally looked up from my book (or got carsick enough to tear myself away from Babysitter’s Club or Goosebumps or whatever I was reading), I’d stare out at the breathtaking landscapes of the Southwest. I think everyone thinks their home has the best sunsets, but Arizona legitimately has the best, most vibrant sunset. These sunsets seemed especially striking when contrasted against the red cliffs and as they cast towering saguaros into shadow. I thought a lot about those trips and how inspiring those colors and those cacti and those rock formations were. Reflection and nostalgia contributed to making this collection really special.

Pictured: Sass, Queen Necklace, Spiffed-Up Sunday Pullover in Green, Treasured Perspective Cropped Pants, Strappy Camper Sandal in White – Narrow

What’s the most challenging part of creating a memorable ModCloth print?

Wow, where to start? It’s like solving a Rubik’s cube sometimes. Everything has to be aligned just right to really excite our customer. There’s no specific recipe or formula, it just as to be a perfect blend of fun, vintage inspired, great colors, fashion-forward, and something that accentuates their sparkly personality even more. I love the challenge of our customer’s ever-changing tastes and inspirations. I strive to combine what we’re loving here in the design studio with what we think she’ll really respond to. I guess the challenge is change — there’s never a roadmap to get your destination, you have to try and play and figure it out.

Favorite print from the March collection?

I love our road trip print — it really takes you there. Sorry for the cheesy joke, did it translate in written form? Was it never good? Anyway… I love the cacti print. The pops of green are so fresh and springy. I can’t wait to wear it next time I’m in Joshua Tree. I also love the tourist corgis. They are so fab and I’m a sucker for a critter print. Can I say “all” is my answer? All the prints are my favorite.

Pictured: Lighthearted Cartographer Romper in Road Trip, Rain on Your Promenade Bootie in Honey (no longer available, similar here).

Fashion Director, LA

What were the driving forces of inspiration behind the March collection?

For March, the design team imagined our ModMuses heading for the desert, going for a hike in Joshua Tree and in small towns along the way to explore the empty streets and big open skies… stopping at every vintage store across the Southwest for fantastic vintage clothing and books… and adventure.

The whole collection and color palette are a little softer and easier; we were really feeling 1970s silhouettes and rich, warm desert colors. A lot of the prints are almost things our girl would see from the passenger seat on this road trip: desert florals, cacti, the lines of the sunset on a horizon… And maybe things in the car as well: a vintage quilt thrown in the backseat, a corgi co-pilot, a map and a just-purchased old camera to document the whole thing.

How much do your own travels and experiences influence these designs?

Because the design team is based in LA, this is a bit of a shared experience for us here. That feeling of leaving the city behind, the night is cool but you still feel a bit of heat, you’re finally free of whatever’s in the rearview mirror. A couple of years ago, I took one particular trip from LA to Palm Springs to Arcosanti, Arizona, and then hit the Grand Canyon on the way back. It was pretty awesome and life-changing, but also felt so casual and free.

Tell us about your favorite pieces from the collection, and why.

Pictured: Charter School Cardigan in Marled Marigold, In Your Nature Maxi Dress in Cacti

I love the new Charter School Pullover combo! These sweaters are the easiest thing. Also, our new super-delicate cactus maxi dress is in breezy cotton. This silhouette is based a bit off a vintage dress that I found probably 15 years ago, and I honestly can’t tell if it’s destroyed 1970s or well-preserved 1940s. LOVE the heart blouse, especially paired with the wide-leg denim pant like in the catalog. OBSESSED with the wide-leg jumpsuit in the hand-painted stripe. It’s so striking and easy at the same time. The Fabulous Fit and Flare dress in the woven stripe becomes very simple and modern in this amazing fabric. 

Pictured: Cafe au Soleil Sleeveless Top in Cactus, Cherished Cheer A-Line Skirt, No Truer Words Have Been Woven Flat in Rose Gold

Any road trip advice for the adventurous season ahead?

Know how to change a tire. Don’t drink and drive — or text and drive. Stop at every thrift store you see along the way! Give yourself really open-ended deadlines so you can enjoy the road. If you have to go two hours out of your way to see something amazing like Arcosanti, the Grand Canyon, a rock and gemstone trading post, or a fantastic art museum, and you are in the middle of nowhere, just do it. You may never be there again.

Shop Julie’s Faves

Lighthearted Cartographer Romper in Road TripCafe au Soleil Sleeveless Top in Cactus, Community Brunch Shirt Dress in Corgis

Shop Lizz’s Picks

Charter School Pullover Sweater in Simple Stripes, Sweet and Smart Sleeveless Top, Enjoyment Awaits Wide-Leg Denim Pants, Unbridled Enthusiasm Wide-Leg Jumpsuit, Fabulous Fit and Flare Dress with Pockets in Grey Plaid

+Where are you road tripping this season?

About Savannah

If something's happening on stage, you can probably find Savannah there, from house shows and dramatic theater productions to faraway metal gigs and full-on festivals. Otherwise, she spends her days elbows-deep in carb-heavy meals, rattling about years spent overseas, and testing the creative limits of an all-black wardrobe.

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1 Comment

  1. Michelle Sprowls 03/28/2018 at 2:13 pm #


    Looks like my MGB in the cover photo for this blog !


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