We all have those days lounging on the sofa flicking through social media. Instagram is my usual choice, I often find myself liking away, discovering photographers, bloggers and artists. One Sunday evening last year I stumbled upon an account of fashion illustrations that caught my eye immediately – the account of fashion illustrator and MA fashion design student Kayleigh Hilde. Her work has the perfect mixture of continuous line, use of colour, texture and empty space; an aesthetic she is constantly developing. More recently, she has been experimenting on her iPad Pro on Adobe Sketch, in which she draws a layer over real fashion imagery.
Kayleigh’s aesthetic has really developed over the last couple of years. Her main objective since graduating was to develop this illustrative style, before continuing on to study a Masters in Fashion Design; the path she is currently on. Over the past two years she has gained experience illustrating live on the catwalk for Fashion Scout, and as an Official Illustrator for Graduate Fashion Week. “Looking back at my first experience illustrating for GFW you can really see the difference in my work even in just a year and I feel that now my work is how I’ve always wanted it to be, so I’m really proud of what it’s become.”
Her love for illustration developed during her degree, after a project most fashion design students go through – to illustrate outfits in the style of five different fashion illustrators. “Ever since then I realised that I loved experimenting with illustration styles and wanted to develop and find a style of my own.” That she certainly has. To her, illustration is just another form of expressing fashion other than design.
Amongst these illustrators, are many that inspire Kayleigh and her work, two of those being Stephen Doherty and Francesco Lo Iacono. “Stephen’s use of simple lines is beautiful. I’ve always liked the use of empty space in art work; that you don’t need to draw everything to show texture or shape and that sometimes just a thin line can show everything that needs to be shown.” Regarding Francesco, who is someone she has had the pleasure of working with, she had this to say. “His work is so soft and pretty and always has an effortless angelic feeling about it. Just watching him work and create his illustrations was inspiring to see and just made me want to keep working and developing.”
For most creatives, obstacles appear to test you, ultimately either making or breaking the passion for your art. For Kayleigh, her first obstacle was learning to work fast. “I’ve always been a perfectionist and so when I first started out I would work on an illustration for a few hours and sometimes even days! But working with Graduate Fashion Week really pushed me into developing a style that could be created with speed. Since then I feel that my aesthetic has gotten stronger and I’m now comfortable illustrating under pressure.”
The transition between student to freelancer can be difficult, particularly when attempting to pave your way into an enormous industry. Although Kayleigh feels that she is on the outskirts of the industry, her determination is sure to play in her favour and the gaining live illustrating experience has certainly helped. “My advice would be to keep going and don’t give up!”
Approaching clients, or finding that first collaboration, often can be hard. “So many people go for the same jobs and it’s hard to be noticed but as long as you’re confident and show your best work. Ultimately your work will speak for itself. But also don’t be disheartened if someone doesn’t get back to you. Just keep going and eventually good things should come your way.”
When asked about her proudest moment to date, she spoke about how there was not only one defining moment, but many small achievements. “I’m always so proud and honoured when a designer comments or reposts my work on Instagram. My main platform, source of business and exposure is Instagram. When I decide to illustrate something it’s always from a designer that inspires me. So, when they acknowledge my work, it’s amazing to see.”
Regarding her favourite client she has worked for, she said Fashion Scout. “They’re a platform for new designers to show during London Fashion Week and its always buzzing with new creative talent. I absolutely loved working with them and being involved in LFW was really amazing.”
To Be Inspired is all about promoting upcoming creatives, so we asked Kayleigh to recommend someone for you to watch out for. She came up with a few! First up we have documentary and branded filmmakers Mike Chaney and Simon Pax McDowell, who you can find here. To go alongside them there is composer and video artist Araby, who discovered his love between music and film whilst studying at university.
So, what is next for Kayleigh? Currently she is working on her Fashion Design masters, and developing more work. She has also been back on the runway illustrating for Fashion Scout at the latest season of London Fashion Week. To keep up to date, check out her Instagram @kayleighhilde.illustrations. If you want to get in touch with her, email firstname.lastname@example.org.