How Fashion Design Influences Interior Design

“I’m obsessed with fashion. You should see my closet.” – Miranda Cullen

Since NY Fashion Week is right around the corner, we sat down with Duet Design Group Principal and Co-Founder Miranda Cullen to discuss how interior design is inspired and influenced by the fashion industry.

NY Fashion Week Inspiration_Duet Design Group_Miranda Cullen FENDI Inspiration


How do you look to fashion for inspiration in interior design?

Well, both types of design very much correlate, although interior design tends to be a season or two behind fashion design. We are always on the tail end of what happened in fashion last year. Fashion designers tend to get the green light to be more bold than interior designers do, and I do love that fact about fashion – they’re always pushing the creative limits.

I also love the mix of pattern and the colors that fashion designers use. Our colors of the year for interior design (usually put out every year by the Color Marketing Group) tend to be something that you’ve seen on the runway, from the past fall or spring. I love that fashion designers get to create amazing “super out there” designs with colors and patterns. The more bold, the more amazing and funky! In interior design, there are only a handful of clients that will allow us to really push the envelope. Clients typically don’t want to get very funky for fear of the look becoming dated. The designs we create for our clients’ homes or office spaces need to be able to stand the test of time. Furnishing a home or space is very costly and a bit more permanent than a wardrobe you can change out seasonally. In fashion, trends eb and flow – you can put a piece in the back of your closet for 10 years and then bring it out because it’s back in style again. With interiors, you have to have a more conservative approach. We have to stay more in line with something like a Chanel approach – a classic design through and through – because people can’t afford to change out their house like they change out their wardrobe.

Chanel Interior Design_Duet Design Group_NY Fashion Week InspirationWe have to stay more in line with something like a Chanel approach – a classic design through and through…” Project: LAMBERT


What do you think interior designers can learn from the fashion design industry or fashion designers?

I think the inspiration goes with that thread of stepping out of the box. I’m always trying to look at a space and figure out how I can space-plan it differently and not use the formula of “a sofa, and two chairs, and a table, and a lamp” that everybody is used to. You see a lot of Instagram posts of interior designs that people are loving right now, with those whitish walls, the very organic feel, and the traditional layout of “the sofa, and the chair, and the cocktail table.”

Sometimes our clients will let us take them of out of the box and go bold with fabrics, but I also like to push the envelope in spaces and come up with different ways of making a blank wall feel really special. Maybe we put a furniture vignette on it that you wouldn’t typically see. It might disrupt the flow and function just a little bit, but it gives us an opportunity to infuse a rad focal point in a room.

I think a lot of interior designers get comfortable and need to step out of the box a bit more. They get comfortable with specific vendors, layouts, or the way a pillow map is put together on a sofa, with two of each pillow. I think we need to constantly be evolving, like fashion designers do. You definitely don’t see anything redone when it comes to fashion. Not that Duet Design Group re-uses any designs – because we pride ourselves on a from-scratch, client-oriented approach to all projects and don’t reuse pieces. I think interior designers – the ones that have a specific look or a specific aesthetic – they get comfortable, develop a go-to genre, and stick to it. That’s boring to me – I like variety.

NY Fashion Week Inspiration_Duet Design Group_Miranda Cullen Fairfax Project Living RoomThe FAIRFAX Project incorporated some bold color and pattern


Can you think of any recent examples of fashion that has inspired your work, or are there specific fashion designers that you consistently look to for inspiration

I can’t think of any specific inspirations for projects, because so much of what we do comes from the client’s inspirations. It’s not often that a client will refer to fashion inspirational images. Although we did have a recent client who came to the table with fashion inspirations, and I loved it! She embraced the pattern play and is allowing us to incorporate some really bold prints into her home. Her house is going to be off the rails, I cannot wait to execute the interiors! Personally, I have a few designers that I like to look to for their unique approaches to clothing and accessories:

  •       Chanel – Just because they are so classic, and whatever they do is always timeless.
  •         I also personally love Gucci, because they push the limits. You’re like, “Whoa, what is that outfit?!” They create showstoppers and now amazing streetwear. I’m like ”Stop it – their shit is just rad.”

    NY Fashion Week Inspiration_Duet Design Group_Miranda Cullen Chanel and Gucci Designer Inspiration
    Miranda’s recent favorites from Chanel and Gucci
  •         I also really love Aquazzura – their shoes are crazy cool.
  • And then Fendi. I have Fendi Goals up on my office inspiration board. There’s an outfit I LOVE that I keep as “MC #GOALS” by my desk. I’d love to have a Fendi outfit one day, because again – they push the limit. You look at an outfit and you’re like, “Does that outfit go?” But it does, right?… It doesn’t… But it DOES. I like to create  interiors like that. I like when people ask “Ooooh, is that gonna go?” And I say, “Yes, it does.”

NY Fashion Week Inspiration_Duet Design Group_Miranda Cullen Aquazzura and Fendi Designer Inspiration
Inspiration from Aquazzura and Miranda’s “MC #GOALS” aspirational Fendi outfit