Drawing fashion

Fashion illustration has been having something of a renaissance recently, with large scale exhibitions at the Design Museum and smaller projects focussing on the craft behind the genre.

One such project is Amelia’s Compendium of Fashion Illustration, a handbook of ethical fashion designers with interviews with both the ethical designers and the illustrators that have visualised their work.

Photograph by Matt Bramford
Illustrators at work at the launch party. Photograph by Matt Bramford

It has been edited, designed and published by Amelia Gregory, the journalist and activist behind the visually rich Amelia’s Magazine, which published ten issues with collaborators like Rob Ryan, before launching an online magazine.

Amelia Gregory cutting her enormous Lilly Vanilli cake
Amelia Gregory cutting her enormous Lilly Vanilli cake

The compendium launched at new independent fashion boutique 123 Bethnal Green Road in London’s East End on Friday. As well as the usual launch fare of bands, booze, and cake, Gregory had invited some of the illustrators featured in the book to paint – at lightning speed – portraits of the guests.

As well as a flair for shape, colour and textures, fashion illustrators really have to have their wits about them. Illustrator Jenny Robins, who drew me on the night, explained that when drawing from the catwalk, sometimes you only have a minute – or often substantially less – to give an impression of the garments on show.

Illustrator Jenny Robins and her drawings
Illustrator Jenny Robins and her drawings

One of Jenny Robin’s drawings, of DW reporter Laura Snoad

The book itself champions the art form and gives a thorough insight into working practices usually neglected for discussions of the fashion designer’s work and it looks stunning, which is not a suprised considering the calibre of the work included. Here are a few of our favourite spreads from the book.

Spreads with illustrations from Yelena Bryksenkova
A spread from the book with illustrations by Abigail Daker

Spreads with illustrations from Yelena Bryksenkova
A spread from the book with illustrations by Abigail Daker

Spreads with illustrations from Yelena Bryksenkova
A spread from the book with illustrations by Faye West

Spreads with illustrations from Yelena Bryksenkova
Spreads with illustrations from Yelena Bryksenkova

Spreads with illustrations from Yelena Bryksenkova
Spreads with illustrations from Andrea Crews

Amelia’s Compendium of Fashion Illustration is published by Amelia’s House, priced at £25.

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