In early February I came across an event on Meetup.com. The posting was for designing your own outfit with a fashion illustrator. This sounded like an amazingly fun time, and I couldn't wait to sign up--primarily because although my styling skills are completely on point, I have no artistic hand--at all. I knew this was going to have to be great if I could actually leave with something productive. I did.
The event was hosted by Lauren Cheri, a self-proclaimed "illustrator born and bred in Chicago". She may have literally been born somewhere else, but her fashion life began and flourished here. We're glad to have her!
Between her freelancing, bridal design, and art supply sales jobs, I sat down at Argo Tea with Lauren and she enlightened me on her Chicago fashion career. Here's what she told me:
I asked her how she got started in fashion and she told me about her experiences in high school. "I was a mediocre actress freshman year, so I started working backstage and liked it. I found I had talent in costume design and sewing." She clearly ran with the talent. She told me she came to Chicago for fashion school because she wanted to study theater costume design. "Illustration caught on and I began freelancing". Clearly the rest is fashionable history.
Being a lawyer, I had to ask her how she protects her brand, and if she has run into any legal issues in her fashion career. She shared, "I use copyrights and contracts. Being present online is important, too because good work can easily be found online. You have to be out there and aware. I sign everything and keep a consistent style." Lauren is clearly up on utilizing trade dress to protect yourself in the market. She also gave the little tid bit to "post low resolution pictures. They're hard to reproduce." Surely that's helpful for all designers out there.
|Live illustration at the Juicy Couture Spring Collection Launch Event|
Of course NY and California are known for their distinct fashion styles, but I was curious to know how Lauren frames them. "NY is bold, flashy, and outgoing. California is laid back with LA being a bit more materialistic. Chicago is diverse and has a 1920s style. We do what we want. It's a old school style. The spirit of prohibition is still here. Chicago's fashion style is very much like the musical 'Chicago'." What I enjoyed most was her sentiment: "Chicago has a soul in a way other cities don't. It's not so much a look, but more of an attitude and soulfulness."
|Digital illustration in progress|
I appreciate the time I got to spend with her, and hope you guys get to enjoy her work, too. By the end of our chat, she had drawn this illustration of me. How accurate :)
Check out Lauren Cheri all across the web!
Pinterest: Lauren Cheri