Industry Insider - Ira Iceberg, IA London Founder and Creative

Industry Insider

I started to design a long before I knew the word “design”. IA London is my second career, following successful 1st in luxury surface design and art direction, which I left. Below are a few notes on creativity, based on many years of observations:

IA London 1 The_Cage_7-page-001.jpg

Beauty is everywhere. Occasionally, it comes in a bold, dramatic form. But more often, it is wearing a rather humble shape, quietly waiting for us to take a notice. Can a single rose that “simply blossoms” be as inspiring as hours of work and meters of hand-made embroidery, sculptured by a hand of genius? It can, if we grew up to see it. Beauty is everywhere and I think that especially designers need somehow practice to keep their eyes in a receptive mode. It sounds easy, but it is as easy as trying to keep your mind focused on counting to 10 with no thoughts interrupting. The ritual of seeing the beauty near us is as meditative and it takes attention and practice. But the benefit of it is that your creativity will blossom, feeding on the constant stream of everyday beauty and you will always have a plenty of ideas.

Start for the right reasons. I think “Why?” Is the one of the most important questions that you can ask yourself. Creative people (but not only) intend to avoid this question, or address it inaccurately. I understand why: finding the real answer to “why?” is often like performing self- surgery without anaesthesia. Try to address this, for instance: why do you want to start your fashion label (or anything else). Finding the answer can give you an idea of what is that the price you’re prepared to pay in order to achieve your goal, in time, effort, money and personal sacrifices. It can save you years of walking the wrong pass, and years of watching you walking there to your friends and family. Some people are just “born this way”, possessed by their talent. If this is the case, then, well, you have no other choice. But if it is not, be very clear about why you want to do it.

IA London 2 LOOK 1 ONOFF IA LONDON-page-001.jpg

Don’t fake an orgasm. So let’s say you found your answer and ready to engage with fashion. But fashion has so many lovers.. What is that you bring (or planning to bring) into this relations that no-one else does? I think, as Oscar Wilde cleverly advised, “be yourself..” Adopted originality is easier in a short term. But as time goes by, our clients dissatisfaction will grow - actually, very quickly. They didn't come to you to buy Rick Owens/Alexander McQueen/Yohji Yamamoto/etc.. They come for your original, authentic, unique point of view. If all that you can offer is a faked orgasm, it’s not gonna work. I think good design is like a sweat: it is resulted by a hard work and it is genuine. And you will never be bored when you’re not faking.

The truth of Sisyphus. Building a fashion brand (unless you’re Rihanna) is a work of Sisyphus. You’ll need to push your rock up the steep hill for a LONG time. You’ll may hear some applauds on the way, but in the morning the rock will be all the way down again, for years. Every morning, you’ll need to find the straight to start all over, be creative and push it harder than before, despite your bleeding hands. And keep a certain degree of sanity.. But the good news are that if what you do is beautiful and if you are lucky, some people may come and help you pushing it, with their hand, or a clever advice, and it might become easier and reassuring.

I A London 3 LOOK 4 ONOFF IA LONDON-page-001.jpg

Master your skills. One of his apprentices of the famous sushi master in Ginza, Tokyo, explained the process of learning: for the first 2 years, you wash the dishes. If you persist, for the next 3 years you learn how to make a Japanese Omelette. Only the omelette.. He said he may be made 4,000 before he felt his omelette is good enough to propose it for Master’s review.. I think that design should be learned in the same way. It is essential to master your skills. How can you become a better designer and what do you need to practice in order to achieve that?

Consider every component of the creative process, and exercise daily those you are not good in and especially those you’re considering your “strong points”. Everything you learn becomes your in- built tools set, making you a more advanced model of yourself and helps you to define the tasks properly as your team grows.