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The Art of Fashion: 10 Top Fashion Illustrators to Watch For

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By Chantal Brocca

What better way to view fashion than through the eyes of an illustrator? You don’t just get the piece itself: you get the transient emotions that come with the initial impact of a look, of a design or even the show that comes with it all. Illustrations seem to be the new name we assign to art, and every artist is led by a different drive to create; a product of his or her own life experiences, desires, disappointments, fleeting moments of inspiration and evolving perception of the world. With fashion playing an ever growing part in our lives, from our daily Instagram check ups to firmly becoming everyone’s surefire way of expressing their individual selves – we all want to be wowed and inspired on a daily basis.

If you don’t know where to get your #inspo from, check out these Top Fashion Illustrators you may not know about that have successfully intertwined art with their very unique and very different perspectives on fashion.

1. Luke Edward Hall

A Central Saint Martins wonder kid, Luke Edward Hall has had quite a career already in his four years on the market. With a Menswear fashion degree, an antiques pop up shop and interior design experience from designer Ben Pentreath under his belt, Luke went on to exhibit his art, the fuel of his interior design craft, moving from canvas directly to the objects populating the home. You can purchase his illustrations on mugs, plates and the like – and even commission him to create fun party invites – or if you truly love his style, why not let him give decorating your house a whirl.

2. Hatty Pedder

Another Central Saint Martins baby, Hatty Pedder has brought her uniquely captivating artistic style to Dubai, where she began work as a fashion stylist and photographer before finally returning to her original love and craft, finally producing illustrations for the successfully emerging art and fashion players of the lively little desert hub, as well as for various renowned international clients. Her portraits and characters delight with the fantastical, ensuring the viewer never misses the story. Most artists nowadays don’t come without a blog, and her aptly named ‘Caricouture’ site is an eclectic visual diary of behind the scenes, fashion parties and live drawings of leading industry players. A must see!

3. Blair Breitenstein

Blair Breitenstein already has a large fan base amongst the fashion greats, from Oscar de la Renta to Prada and Harper’s Bazaar, and me guesses why: she brought expressionism to fixed, polished luxury brand images, fueling her alluringly smudgy sketches with spontaneous abstract touches to illuminate the face of the crazy world that is fashion. If you’re itching for additions to the mood board, you can also find her inspirations and what fuels her aesthetic through her tumblr, blondelasagna.

4. Meagan Morrison

If worldly fashion is more your game, then you definitely need to check out Travel Write Draw, where as the title quite literally describes, Meagan Morrison makes her way throughout the world, capturing cultures and the beautiful world around her in bright motifs and fun, lighthearted compositions. Based in buzzing New York City, she won’t want for inspiration; her international portfolio of clients range from DVF to Converse, who must have fallen in love with her charming realness and friendly touch with her social media following, a hard to find factor in fashion.

5. Gemma Champ

Gemma Champ of the Keep Feeling Fashination blog is far from being a one trick pony, with a killer skill set ranging from copywriting, creative direction and fashion journalism to consultancy, pairing her creativity to essential branding acumen. Gemma boasts a much more diverse portfolio of clients than her fashion focused counterparts, such as the Daily Mail, The National, Global Citizen and MRM Meteorite. However, she does tend to draw street performers and artists that captivate her along the way, as well as sketching her favorite street style looks during fashion weeks, never failing to add a little punchy commentary, the way we likey.

6. Andrea Brocca

The couturier that stole the Guinness World title of Youngest Haute Couture Designer at 16 from iconic Yves Saint Laurent never ceases to amaze, channeling his natural calling for art and fashion through a real lived lifestyle, wandering city streets till the wee hours of the morning and depicting random encounters with soulful individuals he makes along the way in single line ink blind illustrations. Yes I said blind: Andrea never takes his eyes off the lucky people he chooses to portray, going by instincts fueled by the energies around him – he draws the soul. Sometimes you may not even know he is drawing you – he won’t tell you. Most of these illustrations are kept in a private collection opened only to the few he trusts while he finishes his studies at Central Saint Martins. But not for long.

Watch this space.

7. Manjit Thapp

This unique illustrator amuses and bemuses with her colourful silent comics and blend of traditional and new media. For her, the pencil is king. Stands to reason she’s been commissioned to design interesting book covers such as Gillian Flynn’s ‘Gone Girl’ and Elizabeth Gaskell’s ‘The Life of Charlotte Bronte’. She keeps her process alive and bouncy by constantly scanning the net for inspirational pictures and listening to music – so bouncy she’s come up with a line of sticker sheets to colour your life, as well as your phone case.

8. Bijou Karman

Her dangly portraits project volumes of character. Many a designer would gladly pin her paintings on their mood boards as her fashion illustrations don’t only depict the outfits but also the myriad of patterns and shapes that most probably inspired the collection to begin with. Guaranteed to always be dynamic and captivating, check out her Etsy shop for unique tees, tote bags and zines – I’m definitely thinking about getting my hands on ‘Girl Groups of the Sixties’!

9. Bil Donovan

Water and ink has never been so chic. Bil Donovan paints fashion like you’ve never seen before, expertly blending colors into eclectic arrangements, allowing us to see the beauty ideals he visualizes in his minds eye. He indulges his fascination with silhouettes both as artist-in-residence at Dior and out, hitting up your neighborhood art museum to sketch or pouring his talent into in his very, very numerous projects.

10. Chantal Brocca

After abandoning the arts in favor of a more versatile Economics degree, the urge to turn back the clock and find that old creative vein was like a jolt of electricity to the heart. It started with dance – then fashion history, blogging, styling and, inevitably turned to illustrations. As part of the journey back to art, there really are no rules with regards to mediums; expect lots of graphic and the occasional mix of the traditional as the melange offers fun new ways to experiment.

And yes, I just threw myself in there, because, why not.

Chantal is the girl  behind Underneath My Silk, a thought catalogue on fashion, culture and style. Follow her on Instagram here. Main image: Blair Breitenstein



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