BA (Hons) Fashion Illustration alumna Adriana Deco became a full time graphic designer for Lulu Guiness in October and has created illustrations for the label’s latest Christmas campaign. LCF caught up with Adriana to talk about Lulu Guiness, her music career and what studying at London College of Fashion was like.
What made you want to study BA (Hons) Fashion Illustration?
Before I decided to study illustration I got education in fine arts and graphic design. I gained some excellent skills but knew something was missing and I wanted to create commercial art. It came to me within time and practice that illustration – specifically FASHION illustration – is a genre of art I wanted to pursue.
Why did you choose LCF and London?
I come from Poland and getting accepted to UAL was always my dream. My journey with fashion started while I was an exchange student in United States, where I first came across fashion magazines. When I returned to Poland all I knew is that I wanted to somehow contribute artistically to an international fashion world. I always thought of London as a capital of creativity in fashion with multiple international opportunities. Leaving Poland and starting at LCF was the best idea to pursue my goals and now I know following the gut feeling was one of the best life decisions.
How would you describe your style?
Quirky, expressive, energetic, fun, imaginative. I used to do a lot of illustrations that would take me a couple of days to finish. On the side I started to develop a style that I started to work with over London Fashion Week – and it forced me to work faster. Although it was hard for me to believe, that style was met with great applause. Fashion Illustration is a part of a very fast industry and I realised that the demand in that quick style was greater than in elaborate illustrations. I get a lot of live illustration commissions (which requires me to draw really fast), so recently I’ve been more focused on that direction, as I also like the energetic outcome. Although I also love doing digital, detailed pieces when time allows or it’s upon client’s request.
Who are your idols, and where do you draw inspiration from?
Fashion illustration masters like Rene Gruau or Antonio Lopez have been my great influences. I also reach out for inspiration from fine art – for example from German expressionists. I also like to follow what is going on in current fashion illustration market – I really like work from Quentin Jones or Blairz.
Do you prefer illustrating menswear or womenswear?
Definitely womenswear, although I occasionally like exploring menswear. I just received an opportunity to create illustrations for Lou Dalton during LCM, so this is a great chance to tackle the menswear subject.
What were the most important things you learnt while at LCF, did the course prepare you for the industry?
Moving to London and time at LCF taught me a lot about the value of time and multitasking. I did a lot of outside projects and internships during my course and it made me realise how fast the industry is. I recall my time at LCF as challenging, but extremely rewarding and inspirational. It was definitely a great first step into industry and what can you expect from it. It’s very important to remember as a student to grab as many opportunities at LCF as possible, but also put yourself out there.
Can you tell us about the Lulu Guinness illustrations came about, and what projects you’ll be working on?
I started working as full time graphic designer at Lulu Guinness in October and did the illustrations for Christmas windows campaign came almost instantly. It was a lot of fun and I was happy to see the final effect in store. So far it’s been very busy and I am doing graphics for SS16 and all the ongoing print and online content. It’s a lot of responsibility, but it’s great to learn about the process of how does the luxury brand work from visual point of view and how to match it with market needs. I definitely hope that creation of new illustration content will arise soon.
You won a fashion illustration competition to collaborate with H&M earlier on in the year, how were they as a client? Does working with a recognised brand help graduate illustrators in the industry?
Absolutely! Since my collaboration with H&M I gained more credibility and attracted clients like Tod’s, Moet Hennessy and Dune. Working with H&M was an amazing experience that also led me to continue work with them over Vogue Fashion’s Night Out, where I performed live illustration.
You illustrate for fashion week and many different brands, is there one brand, event or person you always love to illustrate?
I always love to draw something crazy, bold and extreme. I am quite passionate about street style over London Fashion Week. I don’t have a specific brand, person etc in mind – it’s more about the holistic creation that I spot in someone / catwalk and that inspires me to draw it.
You’re an illustrator, singer and songwriter. What are your plans for the future?
I have a lot of big plans for 2016. I will release my 2 music videos, EP and my art direction campaign which I worked very hard for over the last year. However, I must admit the idea of visual singer songwriter was born over my 3rd year at LCF and I am glad I had a lot of freedom to explore it. I feel fulfilled when I can merge my musical and artistic talents into a bigger vision. It required a lot of patience and hard work, but my goal goes beyond artistic value – I aim to inspire artists and all the people with dreams. I had ups and downs, but my heart is telling me this is the idea of combining my talents into a art direction supported by my music as soundtrack is the path for my artistic career. It’s the same gut feeling I had that led me to LCF!
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