In September I had the fantastic opportunity through my membership with FIDA to go to Shoreditch to the live shows hosted by Fashion Scout for London Fashion Week. Along with fellow members (some great people I will add!) I was tasked with recording events both at the catwalk and backstage over 2 days. The designers featured were rising talents from Fashion Scout China and FJU talents, solo collections from JU-NNA, Kei Wong, Yonghao Xie and JE Cai; as well as British design icon Pam Hogg making a return to live shows.
Having never sketched a live show like this before I didn't know what to expect, but it was amazing. Aside from the frantic drawing where you could only capture an "essence" of the look (I had learned this term from the legendary illustrator Bil Donovan a few hours earlier at the Gray MCA exhibition where he was doing a demonstration of fashion drawing) I did my best to lay down some colour and mark making, with a quick video of the collections as they finished.
Being there, absorbing the music; the ambience and observing the garments moving on the figure was something you can only get from a live show and it was inspiring. The models were also so beautiful, of all genders and ethnicities with amazing hair and make up. This brings me to backstage..
Wow... the speed with which the teams backstage work is like nothing I've ever witnessed. It was a hive of activity with hair by Balmain and Make up artists from AOFM conjuring up mesmerising looks to complement the creative visions of the designers. Photographers whizzed around snapping the activity, as we illustrators, sketched and painted our interpretations of events.
My tools for the two days were both traditional and digital. I had a sketchbook, drawing board and paper, watercolours and pencils, as well as my iPad and Apple Pencil. I used both to equal effect. The iPad was particularly useful for drawing at the JE Cai installation, as I could go out to stand in the audience and soak up the atmosphere hearing the enthusiasm for the collection, while equipped with all the colours and tools Procreate offers through my Apple pencil!
Spectators at the shows were enthusiastic about what we were capturing, complementing us on our drawings as we worked on them between collections. The models and photographers backstage were also fascinated by us and several photographers asked to take pictures or film as we drew. I never got their details unfortunately, as I was mid flow drawing and you really couldn't stop if you were sketching someone get their hair or make up done; they would be gone within minutes and the next person in their seat - such was the pace of events.
I made one attempt at drawing the live catwalk show with the iPad with no real idea of what I was was doing, switching layers and colours on the fly in the hopes of getting as much down as I could. The result was actually quite successful ( Link to my instagram reel) when played back through the Timelapse function that records the drawing. The culmination was a bizarre abstract image but one which encompassed the energy and colours of the Yonghao Xie show quite well I thought. ( I can't however, un-see the giant screaming Pumpkin in the middle! see below)
It was great fun and I would love to do it again and improve upon the skills I learned drawing live. Big thanks to Fashion Scout and Patrick Morgan, founder of FIDA who I finally got to meet along with all the other talented artists Louise, Katie, Cas, Zhenya, Tracey, Anna, Steph and Connie who had travelled from across Europe to be there.
Head over to my instagram for more reels from London Fashion Week and Timelapse drawings.