Last Summer, I was able to connect with fashion illustrator Samantha Hahn. I asked for some advice on how to get a career started in fashion illustration. I had asked a dozen questions and she was so kind to answer them all. One of the tips she gave me was to first get involved in my community and start working with local designers. So I went to it and as fate would have it, I was able, with the help of my cousin (connections connections!), to meet Provo-based designer Robin Uata of the fashion brand Kuya.
Robin Uata is a sustainability-conscious fashion designer, upcycling secondhand clothes by reconstructing materials into 'new' clothes! Not only is Robin saving the world from waste, but his love for fashion has become his way of helping those in need. Robin started a humanitarian project called Project Kuya, where a portion of his sales go towards supplying food and hygiene essentials to struggling people in the Philippines. So not only did we connect because of our love for fashion, but also for our love of the Philippines! So much winning going on!
Robin invited me to his photoshoot, where he was more than thrilled to have me do live fashion illustrations. I had invited my fellow photographer friends Olivia Schultz and Jeremy Foster to shoot the whole process. It was such a fun, energizing and creative morning! You guys, collaboration is so fun! I had never worked live and it's so different from figure drawing classes! (Speaking of which--I haven't drawn from a model in about five years!). I was nervous about illustrating live because I felt so out of practice. However, I remember an assignment I had from my senior year in advanced figure drawing where I had to draw 600 gesture figures in two weeks! I channeled that hustle and bought some cheap Archer's paper. (If you've read Danielle Krysa's Your Inner Critic is a Big Jerk, you'll remember the suggestion to use cheap materials--ones that you won't mind making mistakes on--to overcome creative blocks).
My first couple of illustrations were a bit rusty. I told myself to loosen up, to not overthink, and to just to capture the overall gesture. The longer I illustrated, the more I loosened up. The more I loosened up, the more details I was able to capture. It was a thrilling experience to realize that I could do this. And this experience went so well that Robin and I will continue to work together, bringing you more in-depth looks into how designers and illustrators can work together. I'll be attending Utah Fashion Week in March to do illustrations for Project Kuya and for UFW. So stayed tuned. Beautiful things are coming your way!
So what about you? What collaborations have inspired you? Have you learned something about your artistic self in a creative space you were sharing with someone else?