Design, Photography, & Fashion

Finding Inspiration

Marc Jacobs

Lesson time 17:02 min

Music, architecture, fictional characters—they've all inspired Marc and his work. Here, he talks about the importance of keeping your eyes—and mind—open to inspiration, no matter where you find it.

Marc Jacobs
Teaches Fashion Design
In 18 lessons, iconic designer Marc Jacobs teaches you his process for creating innovative, award-winning fashion.
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Inspiration. Finding inspiration is probably the most important part of the process. Or I would say it's the most important catalyst in the process. Because I and my team, we work on a schedule and deadline. We very often don't have the time to-- I mean, the inspiration doesn't necessarily come first in the process. It comes at some point within the process. But it is when it comes that things actually start coming together. Because up until the point where we recognize what we feel inspired by within a given season, we're just making random choices based on instinct. So early in the process, we start looking at fabrics and choosing colors, developing different fabrics, knitwear, accessories, et cetera. But I think, without the inspiration, I find it's like I'm looking at a blank piece of paper and I don't know what to do. I just can't move on. It's almost like a paralyzing sort of feeling. So when there is something that I'm excited about or inspired by, when there's something I genuinely am interested in or appeals to me, it gives me the incentive to create, and to make, and to do. So the inspiration plays, like I said, a huge part in, I think, the motivation, the catalyst. And it isn't something we can decide to find. It really is a very organic thing that happens throughout the entire process, throughout the months of working on a collection. And I'd say that I feel inspired by different things all the way up until the end. And putting the show together, putting the collection together, making the final choices even down to the hair and makeup, the casting of the models for the show-- all of that needs to have an inspiration. There's not any part of the process-- design, execution-- that without that catalyst ever feels real or right or like it has any authenticity or spirit. [MUSIC PLAYING] When I feel inspired, I think it sets off a load of other actions. There's research. It depends, of course, what the inspiration is. But when I do become inspired by something, then it gives me a little bit of a parameter, which is really useful for me. I find when there are no boundaries, when there are no limits, when there are no rules, I find it's too overwhelming. So when that inspiration does strike and when I do feel there's something I want to say or pursue, it gives me a little bit of a scope. And then I can look into, like I said, doing research. Researching on what-- depending on what it is, what's that look like? Looking for visuals, looking at colors more carefully-- it helps me to edit. It helps me to focus. And so it's very, again, useful in terms of, I guess, creating a focus. And then, going into the design process, it helps to inform the exploration of different details. I'm somebody who's very interested in every single detail of everything. So in terms of the stitching and the size of the stitch, the type of t...

Create your own trends

Marc Jacobs’s infamous grunge collection got him fired. It also won him the CFDA Womenswear Designer of the Year Award. In his first online fashion design class, the 11-time CFDA Award winner teaches his hands-on process for creating clothes that push boundaries and set trends. Learn Marc’s construction techniques, how he creates unique shapes and silhouettes, and how you can develop your own ideas from the first sketch to the final piece.


Students give MasterClass an average rating of 4.7 out of 5 stars.

An excellent class. I am not particularly interested in fashion design, but I enjoy learning from accomplished artists in all fields. Thank you, Marc.

This class was very informative with regard to process of design, and Mr. Jacobs was articulate and genuinely open about sharing his process.

Perfect blend of practical advice and lofty aspirations! Marc did a great job of explaining his process/system, start to finish, of concepting, designing and implementing his fashion story.

The most important thing that I took with me after this class is inspiration. I learned : - 1 new technique I did not knew about, - a lot about Marc, what he likes, how he works, -that is mostly about practice and making your own decision. I would have like to learn more about the process. Much more. Thank you !


knitter I.

Hi. I'm from Japan. Thank you for your excellent lessons. I am inspired by Nature especially trees and flowers. I'm also excited to see stars and moon in the night sky. That means I like universe. Then I 'd like to make textile of the motif from leaves, flowers and stars. This is my inspiration.

Nemo A.

This is probably the most difficult part of the process for me. I would like to understand a bit more of the concept of getting inspiration. In the reading material of this chapter it is mentioned that Marc gets inspiration from the works of John Curri or Rachel Feinstein. It will be really helpful if there would be a side by side picture of one of the painters paintings and the corresponding Marc’s creation. This visual comparison will be very useful.

A fellow student

Love this bit about "an inspiration" being a parameter or a guiding light.

Nelith G.

Hi Mr.Jacobs, I am Nelith G, from Sri Lanka .I have had a passion in me from 8 years of age to create different pieces of fashion in my day to day life.Now , I really like to indulge myself in cultural clothing making in Sri Lanka since I am a great cultural kandyan dancer.I tried to enter many Designing Academy s but got rejected as the minimum entrance ID is O/L examinations.I hope to learn the best from you to one day become a world renowned fashion designer.Love this class as well! With lots of Love, Nelith.

Dario Hamlet L.

Good morning Mr. Jacobs, hope you are doing well. Let me introduce myself; I’m Dario H. Luciano , a US Navy Veteran turned Fashion designer. I watched your MasterClass and you inspired me to continue my career. Also, I have a bachelors degree in fine arts-fashion design: My degree is for all facets of the fashion industry: sketching, draping, sewing , sourcing , pattern making, costing and boms. I currently seeking an opportunity to learn from you or work for you. If I’m given the opportunity, I will give 110 percent every day. If kind enough to reply to my email address: ; I will forward you my resume, samples of my portfolio and my LinkedIn. Respectfully, Dario Hamlet Luciano

Suzanne T.

Take inspiration from absolutely everywhere. Life is for living and it is through our senses. Visual, touch, sound, smell, intuition ...all of it affects us and all of it can and does inspire...


I have no experience in fashion but want to pursue a fashion career in the future. Things inspire me the most are: flowers/animals. In recent years, I am really drawn into vintage style and will work hard on building up my own brand using eco-friendly fabrics.

Victoria H.

Marc Jacobs is AMAZIN'. He gives so much of his personal experience and in depth examples of how he relates and creates. The individual experiences are clear and concrete. He explains how his personal passions have inspired his collections. I am so thrilled to have experienced HIM sharing who he is as an artist. Love this class! I signed up for Master Class for the writing category but this is icing on the cake.

Sunflower J.

Brilliant! I have watched this lesson at least 4 times . Can’t wait to continue this masterclass

RJane @.

Marc, thank you for sharing about the visual concept and punk rock music. It’s all about visual presentation. @RJanesRealm