The Dawn And Revival Of Fashion Illustration
Before photography was a thing, fashion illustration was the primary medium for couturiers and magazines to help the public visualise their exuberant collections and ethereal spreads. Nowadays, we fawn over photographs of magazine cover girls, but during Vogue’s early years, fashion illustrations were primarily featured on their covers.
The legendary Paul Poiret is well-known for his fashion illustrations and transforming what used to be solely a dressmaker’s tool into an art form.
Fashion photography completely eclipsed sketches and illustrations, but in the 70s, artist named Antonio Lopez began to revive the public’s interest in fashion illustration with help from fashion juggernauts like Karl Lagerfeld and Grace Jones. Jason Brooks also helped keep the momentum going by earning a Vogue Sotheby’s Cecil Beaton award with his lustrous and sensual illustrations.
Today, fashion illustrations are a magazine and advertising staple thanks to pioneers like Antonio Lopez and Jason Brooks, who are constantly reinvigorating the medium and keeping their art fresh.
Internet And Fashion: An Unlikely Duo
Fashion designers are constantly using the internet and social media to quench the audience’s thirst for fashion media. Louis Vuitton inviting quirky Youtuber Emma Chamberlain to their shows and Alexander McQueen broadcasting his spring/summer 2010 collection live are prime examples of how modern designers are using the internet to their advantage.
With the help of social media, particularly Instagram, contemporary fashion illustrators are constantly putting out fabulous fashion drawings and illustrations of runway clothing. Most luxury brands post their collections on IGTV just minutes after a show and influencers at the shows usually have dedicated content on their Instagram profiles
Fashion illustrators can also post their sketches and interpretation of a collection within hours after a show if they’re following the right people. The internet has really boosted the careers of beginner and veteran fashion illustrators alike and helped them gain an audience of both art enthusiasts and fashionistas.
3 Fashion Illustrators You Should Follow
1. Kerrie Hess
A fan of timeless clothes, Australian artist Kerrie Hess is someone you NEED to be following online. She primarily draws haute couture and her work brilliantly displays the nuance of these incredibly complex gowns. Her dreamy illustrations have inspired new-age fashion illustrators — and how could they not? Her illustrations can be found in billboards and ads that have been commissioned by various luxury brands.
Being in the game for almost 18 years, Kerrie has been able to show in galleries in Paris, work with brands like Chanel, Cartier, and Louis Vuitton, and have her illustrations featured inside Vogue and Tatler.
2. Megan Hess
Using her trusty Montblanc pen and watercolour paints, Megan Hess has been able to plaster her work everywhere. Her illustrations are a treat; they’ve even made their way on the cover of Candace Bushnell’s best selling novel – Sex and The City. Starting as a graphic designer, Megan worked her way toward becoming an art director before finally falling in love with the world of fashion illustration and fashion design.
Megan’s worked with actresses like Gwyneth Paltrow and her work has even been commissioned by Michelle Obama. Constantly being tapped by famous brands such as Valentino, Prada, and Louis Vuitton for campaigns, Megan’s plate is fuller than ever.
3. Holly Nichols
Boston-based fashion illustrator Holly Nichols has always been passionate about rendering fashion figure drawings. A former educator, Holly would be answering emails regarding her illustrations while juggling her job as a paraprofessional in a special needs classroom. Holly started posting her fashion illustrations on Instagram as a way to archive most of it — instead, her vibrant pieces of stylishly drawn clothes garnered her a significant following.
Huge brands such as Bloomingdale’s, Saks 5th Avenue, and TRESemmé have picked up on her work and commissioned various illustrations for their respective campaigns.
We’re firm believers in the power of fashion illustration. It transcends the technicality of clothing construction while retaining the essence that the designer wanted to express. Throughout history, it has given freedom for designers and fashion illustrators to interpret and explain how they felt about a specific collection through careful composition and carefree application of paint and ink. Give these illustrators a follow on your Instagram and let them beautify your feed, one post at a time.