Fashion illustration records and documents forms of clothing, especially when being worn. Its aim is to help designers and manufacturers understand the physicality and look of clothes, but also to persuade and excite the view about the clothes. It requires capturing the posture of a person, the clothes they’re wearing, the particular nature and detail of those clothes, and how they relate to the figure wearing them. But it often uses a very stylised way of drawing, to try and bring some energy, excitement and style to the whole piece.
My source material for this project is ongoing from sketches at airports while I am travelling. However I spent too long on the research, and did not then have enough time to work through to the illustration beyond the quick pencil sketches with simple digital colouring on my iPad. I have many ideas for further development, following through on some of the illustration styles in particular during ideas I have for Assignments 4 and 5. My final pieces I want to do in analogue media looking at different styles and approaches for the same subject.
In the early twentieth century fashion illustration tended to be quite constrained, and also limited in the media used to pencil, ink and watercolour. Most of the illustration was of women. In the 1960s, 1970s and 1980s fashion illustration became more varied in media and emphasising much more individuality. Men were also represented as men became more interested in fashion. Since the beginning of 21st century there has been a widening of both style and media. A lot of fashion illustration does tend to still have a very similar feel – glossy and photoshopped or Twiggy-like long legs. But there is a much greater mixing of ethnic styles, use of black and white.
In my own work I am particularly interested in work by Choonfai, Zandra Rhodes, Richard Haines, Alec Strang, Howard Tangye and possibilities of adapting styles of artists like Egon Schiele, Basquiat and Herakut. Also the potential of adapting Islamic, Japanese and other calligraphy styles.
Calligraphy: Hassan Massoudy (forthcoming)