Based in Manchester, Fashion Illustrator Amanda Alice is our new favourite artist! So much so, that we invited her to illustrate looks from our most recent photo shoot for the upcoming Frock and Frill Bridal Collection.
We sat down with Amanda to chat about her inspirations, her unique sketching style and her thoughts on the industry...
Hi Amanda, please tell us about your education. Did you study Illustration or are you self-taught?
My illustration style is self taught and I have been illustrating since high school whilst studying for my GCSE textiles. I started to develop a more personalised earlier version of my current style whilst studying for my BTEC National Diploma in Fashion and Design. My style became its most developed and refined whilst studying at University on my Fashion Illustration module. During this period, I was made more aware of illustrators and artists to draw inspiration from and used my skills in researching fashion shoot production and styling to draw inspiration from sources such as art, graphics and cinema as well as street style and trend prediction.
Which artists and illustrators are you inspired by?
I am inspired by Egon Schiele, David Downton, Blair Breitenstein and my dear friend Dominic Frances (aka Dom and Ink) who pushed me to start freelancing after showing him my portfolio.
Which designers are you most inspired by?
I adore the work of Raf Simons, especially at Jil Sander, and Cristobal Balenciaga in terms of silhouette and craftsmanship, this often inspires the shapes and silhouettes that I utilise. I also like the clean lines and minimalism championed at Celine and The Row. Miuccia Prada has long inspired me, her forward thinking and styling always inspire my work.
Are you inspired by any particular fashion houses?
Historically the fashion house of Yves Saint Laurent and the legacy he has left on fashion, particularly the way that all of the designers that have followed after his retirement and death fully understood and maintained the aesthetic and ideals of the house.
Secondly, Prada and sister brand MiuMiu, I love the modern early adaptation of trends and silhoettes and the way that anything Mrs Prada sends down the runway is immediately copied, revered, worn and lusted after. I think that Simone Rocha will have a similar impact in the future, especially in London.
How does your work change through the seasons and how has your work and style evolved?
In terms of seasons, my work always changes. I adapt my personal portfolio by using the bi-annual shows as a commentary and by producing work to post on social media. I enjoy producing images that comment on trends, styles and collections that have inspired me personally and the way I dress, as well as looks I think will trickle down into modern life and onto the streets.
My style has evolved immensely, I have kept key aspects such as eyelashes and silhouette style, but my use of medium has developed over time. I constantly experiment with different materials and stationary to produce different techniques and looks, this is key to me staying malleable and adaptable and proving to clients that I can work to briefs and demands.
What is your favourite medium to work with?
I always work in mixed media, my favourite materials to work with are watercolour, Indian ink, Caran D'Ache, Letraset markers and oil pastels. I never work digitally, I prefer a traditional method, however I do use Photoshop occassionally if I need to adjust anything at request.
Tell us about some of your clients...
I have worked with Selfridges, Agent Provocateur, Old Tat Magazine and local businesses to produce corporate work. I also produce commissions to order for private clients. I am the Artist in Residence for Manchester Fashion Industry and have held the same position at Frederick Bremer, a high school in East London working with year 7 pupils.
Who would your dream collaboration be?
My dream collaborations would be designing prints for Prada, MiuMiu and Christopher Kane and to produce spandex and VM graphics for Topshop, H&M and & Other Stories.
What is the creative process for you?
I have different processes for different commissions, for a corporate or personal commission I do the following:
I begin with receiving a brief and research the company, or simply research ideas, artists and images that I feel will best inform my process. I discuss throughout the process which look to go with and if any aspects of my style need adapting. I also research print, online, film and media sources to inform my work.I ascertain what size and colour specification I will use, if it is private I need to know whether the piece will be on paper or canvas.
I will use Pinterest or physical boards to put together a vision board to keep close to my work statiion.I then purchase any new materials I will need to fit the colour way briefed and start testing them to work out which techniques to use.
I then begin my first drafts and ideas, compiling a number if necessary in order to provide options. I will then submit these to my client for approval.Finally, I work towards the deadline producing final pieces and submit them digitally or in hard copy.
What would you change about the fashion industry?
Firstly, I would make editorial work more accessible, I feel that publications should be more open to using lesser known and up-and-coming talent to give individuals the opportunity to break into the industry.
I would obliterate the concept of test shoots and working for free to build a portfolio. Free labour is unacceptable, interns and assistants should be remunerated as well as the main artist.
Lastly, I think publications need to address the issue of racial stereotyping. With such advancements in atttitudes towards the use of transgender and gender fluid models being booked freely and often, why is it still so rare to see a model of colour on international catwalks and covers of large publications?