A Case Study in 'Always on the Run'

When it comes to the arts, I have a lot of respect for artists who give a behind-the-scenes-glimpse into their ateliers/studios. For me, it's truly magical—like a magician who finally reveals one of their magic tricks.

More often than not, I walk away feeling inspired, as well as motivated, to change the world in some crazy artistic way after reading such process pages. I decided to assemble my process work for this upcycled project (it's a mash-up of documentation/case study) in hopes of inspiring my fellow creatives.

ALWAYS ON THE RUN - FOR THE OUTLIERS

This project was inspired by people who "see things differently." I have always admired such individuals because they follow their heart and their vision until the end—regardless of whether it leads to success or not.

When it came time to encapsulate this project into words, this is what I envisioned:

‘Always on the Run’ acknowledges those rare individuals who dare to be different. The ones who chase their dreams fearlessly. The ones who go "all-in" to alter the odds for themselves or for others. Such unique individuals do not recognize boundaries, borders, or limits. Instead, all they see is possibilities and openings. These individuals are "always on the run" as they follow their internal compass to unknown lands in hopes of finally satisfying their creative spirit. In this sense, they resemble a lone wolf who finally decides to break free from the pack in order to find its own path in life.


Following this comprehensive description, I created a mood board to help visualizing my customer profile, my idea, and the general creative direction of the project.


Mood board for 'Always on the Run'

RESEARCH - SKETCH - REPEAT

Once the mood board was finished, I began to sketch out my ideas. At this stage, any idea goes. The creative process is an interesting road to travel down. Before you can hit the yellow brick road, you must endure all sorts of potholes and dead ends.

So how does one find that magical moment where you find your creative sweet spot? There isn't a simple answer to this. I believe it's part instinct, part schooling (education), part experience, and, at times, part luck. For me personally, I spent a lot of time researching, sketching, researching, and sketching.

I had a lot of fun experimenting with different mediums in my sketchbook. The majority of the pages were black because I was trying to compliment the look/feel of the mood board.


Creative ideas for 'Always on the Run'

THE WOLF

The lone wolf was an ideal concept to build off, so I decided to develop it further. I looked to seasoned designers to see how they handle complexity and simplicity within their work.

Inspirational work

SKETCHING - TWEAKING - HOWLING

Finding inspiration can be beneficial as well as discouraging. Beneficial because it helps set a standard of excellence that you're hoping to achieve. Daunting because you realize you're about to undertake a long road trip in creativity where you spend a lot of time tweaking and adjusting.

This exploration process was a prime example of trying to find that moment of synthesis where something poetic happens. And when it does happen, everything magically falls into place.

Trying my best to sketch the wolf

BUILDING IN ADOBE ILLUSTRATOR (Ai)

When I traced my sketch in Ai, it was a detailed sketch that possessed a lot of lines to help give the wolf definition. The first wolf that rolled off the assembly lines in Ai had a look that resembled the wolves in folktales.

 

The various stages of my wolf illustration

However, after some initial testing, I realized my first attempt wouldn't work well for production purposes. The wolf needed to be reworked into a simpler and subtler look. The one on the bottom right ended up being the final version because it possessed a minimal and rebellious tone that suited the aesthetic of what I was trying to achieve.

FINALIZING ARTWORK

Once the wolf was finalized, additional assets were needed to help extend the brand experience further.


The final version of the wolf with additional elements

HANG TAG

When everything is assembled (illustration + elements + custom type + content), the tag ended up commanding a strong visual presence.

Hang tag

 JACKET ARTWORK

Many variations of the stencil were carved and tested. These prototypes were necessary to ensure the artwork complemented the look and feel of the jacket itself. Even though a stencil was used, many areas of the wolf still had to be hand painted—which gave the jackets a very personal touch.

Developing various stencils to assist in the painting of the wolf

I decided, in the end, to go with limited functionality in order to achieve a direct message that offered impact and curiosity. I think, in some cases, a simple image speaks louder than words.

Testing various designs for the right look

The final version of the artwork for the back of the jacket

JACKET PRODUCTION

In contrast to the romance and avant-garde roots of FALSEFORTE’s Spring/Summer 2020 collection, ‘Always on the Run’ makes its presence known as an ode to workwear, where functionality and rebellion collide.

The clothes originally designed for carpenters, fishermen, blacksmiths, and labourers are covered with stains, discolourations, and rips; however, they carry a meaningful purpose: they were made to last. I wanted to incorporate this sustainable aspect by using unwanted denim jackets, opening them up, and assembling them together again.

A lot of painting and hand work went into producing the unusual, frayed look of the jacket where there are two layers of sleeves, back yoke, and the gun flap (which originally would be seen on a trench coat) at the front.

Of further note is the labels across the jacket: doubled laser cut leather labels made from leftover leather, and a plastic embossed tag at the front stating the origin of this upcycled piece.

PHOTOGRAPHY

When it came time to shoot the photography for this project, the first one I thought of was Brooke. She is a fearless artist who cares about trying to achieve the perfect shot as much as I am. Here are a few outtakes of our photoshoot plus a fun video outtake (sorry about the poor quality) of Brooke having fun.

LAST WORDS

This project was challenging. There were many redesigns, setbacks, and production issues that I didn't mention. Some of these setbacks, for example, took away the momentum. In doing so, it drained any motivation to start again.

Nevertheless, it was a positive learning experience that helped me grow as a designer/entrepreneur. From dealing with vendors to managing unexpected losses and everything in between.

Looking back, I found it to be very rewarding to be in charge of creating every aspect of this project from strategy/design to creative direction.