Fashion Illustration Makes a Comeback

Left: Sandra Suy, Middle & Left: Cecilia Carlstedt

Left: Sandra Suy, Middle & Left: Cecilia Carlstedt

In today’s fashion industry, technology and digital imagery have seemed to replace fashion illustrators, making the hand sketchers few and far in between. Nowadays, designs are more commonly created on the computer using software such as Illustrator and Photoshop. Design colleges are putting more of a focus on Computer Aided Design rather than hand sketching; teaching students the skills that are currently being used in the industry. One of the main reasons digital sketches are used is because of convenience. A technical sketch created on a computer can demonstrate correct proportion, measurements, stitching details, and all the specifications needed for production. It’s like going straight from conception to tech packs. In addition, many brands use existing digital flats and make small adjustments for each season thus eliminating the time it would take to sketch an entire new garment.

So where does that leave fashion illustrators? Well, just like designers have taken advantage of technology, so have fashion illustrators. They have found their own niche outside the design realm and it all centers around the Internet. Social media platforms such as Pinterest and Instagram have allowed illustrators to reach a much larger audience with their work. Major fashion and beauty brands like Bloomindales, H&M, ZARA, Elle Magazine, Rimmel, and more are commissioning illustrators to create pieces for their marketing departments. Just recently, Rimmel had Illustrator Hayden Williams create hand sketches of Kate Moss to be used in cosmetic displays and advertisements. Megan Hess creates hand-sketched imagery for Chanel, Dior, and Cartier; that have been used as art pieces in many stores. In addition, many illustrators used mixed media to create ethereal illustrations, and the world is embracing this trend. Seen on phone cases, postcards, calendars, book covers, stationary, notebooks, and so much more, it seems everyone wants hand-sketched illustrations.

Left: Kelly Smith, Right: Danny Roberts

Left: Kelly Smith, Right: Danny Roberts

So not to worry, fashion illustrators and enthusiasts; sketches aren’t going anywhere, the are just merely evolving.