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#FashionFolk: Meet The Girl Behind Those Viral Fashion Illustrations

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Fashion and pop culture have seeped into pretty much every nook and corner of our lives. And Delhi-based graphic designer Shweta Malhotra is among the few emerging names successfully fusing the two together in fun new ways. After eight years of working with leading agencies like Ogilvy, Grandmother India, McCann Erickson and others, she branched out on her own to take on interesting projects that let her showcase her love for all things related to fashion, music and lifestyle.

Among the first was a series of illustrations she did for Lakmé Fashion Week (first published in Grazia) that lead to a commissioned project from Elle India. This was followed by features on international platforms like Design Taxi and Design*Sponge, as well as Platform magazine and other well-regarded publications. Her latest collaboration was one with Taxi Fabric — a Kickstarted project started by another graphic artist to beautify Mumbai’s taxis — where she created bright and colourful designs to dress a taxi of her choice with. She’s got another set of cool collaboration up her sleeve in the coming months, making her the perfect person to kick-off our very first #FashionFolk series!

Where did your love for fashion illustrations begin?
It all started while I was working on my project Something Cool Everyday, a year-long graphic art experiment I kicked off in 2014 where I created a piece of graphic art daily. I started experimenting with fashion illustrations as part of the project, and ended up illustrating 10 of my favourite looks from Lakmé Fashion Week that season. I love designing different things, but I’ve always had an inclination towards fashion so I think it happened rather organically. Lately I’ve been working on another personal project that combines my passion for both fashion and graphic design.

Tell us about your first fashion illustration and how your style has evolved over time.
My first illustration was the LFW series. I think it was more of a sketchy minimal style, as it was my first. Over the years I’ve been refining my work, but I intend to keep it minimal and geometric without losing the essence of the garment. I tend to be attracted to graphic fashion designers like Jacquemus, for instance. Illustrating looks from his collection was fun.

Jacquemus SS15

Jacquemus Spring Summer 2015

I also love designers like Junya Watanabe, Issey Miyake and the Indian label Lovebirds. My overall design aesthetic is minimal, bold and graphic — a response to the maximalist visual language prevalent in India.

Lovebirds-AIFW-ss16

Lovebirds Autumn Winter 2016

Do you have a favourite fashion illustration?
It would have to be a look I illustrated from Japanese designer Junya Watanabe’s Spring 2015 collection. I’ve always been a fan of Japanese labels like Comme des Garçons, Issey Miyake and Kenzo, but this collection was something else — totally inspiring and right up my alley. Geometric forms, space-age head gear, pop colours, graphic make-up, all of it made for a visually-arresting collection and it was a lot like my style of work. I was blown away with the first look and just had to illustrate my interpretation.

Junya Watanabe Spring 2015

Junya Watanabe Spring Summer 2015

Where do you draw inspiration from?
My inspirations come from different things: everyday life, my childhood, travel, meeting new people, art, fashion, reading and keeping myself in the know of everything that’s happening around me as well as globally.

Are there other graphic designers whose work inspires you?
Craig and Karl — they are independent graphic artists who do a lot of fashion-related work. I love their distinct style.

What can we look forward to from your future projects?
There’s a graphic art print called Drapes of India that I’ve created for an art show in Helsinki as well as the website Border & Fall that’s coming soon. Another illustration series I’ve worked on for Architectural Digest India will be out shortly. I’m also excited about an accessories collaboration I’m doing with the handbag label Princesse K!

If you like Shweta’s aesthetic just as much as we do, you can find more of her work on www.shwetamalhotra.in.

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