In the midst of all the fashion week madness, Team Coco made our way to the London Edition for a 15 minute portrait sesh with the amazing Jessica Bird. Underneath the London Edition’s breathtaking neo-classical ceiling; we catch up with Jessica Bird and chat about her journey into fashion illustrations, her impressive designer collaborations, and what makes London fashion week so damn special.
Tell us a little bit about yourself and your background — what drew you into illustration?
Originally from Scotland, I moved to London 3 years ago having graduated from my BA in Fashion Design at Grays School of Art. I then worked across design, press and sales for multiple design houses before becoming a full time illustrator. I’ve been drawing from a very young age and continued weekly life drawing classes throughout my time in the fashion industry as a way to unwind. When I started to combine my love of drawing and my background in fashion by illustrating collections that inspired me I found my niche.
Why did you choose chalk pastels as a medium?
There’s something about the freedom they give you, it’s spontaneous and quite raw like charcoal but it gives you a huge spectrum of colours to work with.
What usually inspires your art? Talk us through your creative process
I’m hugely inspired by colour, and in particular unique and interesting colour combinations so designers like Roksanda who play with this heavily in their collections tend to influence my work more. I tend to be focus on the upper body – I love a look with interesting make up/hair/accessories — anything that allows me to have some fun with fluorescent paint or silver chalk i’m sold!
You’ve worked with some of the world’s leading luxury brands including, Delpozo, Huishan Zhang, and E.Tautz. Could you tell us a bit more about these collaborations?
Delpozo reached out to me, after seeing my work on Instagram, to live illustrate at their first LFW show having relocated from NY. Instagram is quite incredible in the sense that your work can reach these huge design houses/editors etc very directly. For E.Tautz I created a series of 4 menswear illustrations for their flagship store in Mayfair and did a live window illustration, the following season I drew live at their LFWM presentation. Huishan Zhang invited me to draw from the front row of their show and then I developed these into larger scale illustrations for their social media.
Could you tell us about your current residency with the London Edition?
I’ve been invited to illustrate VIPS and guests live from the beautifully grand Lobby Bar in the hotel — you’ll be able to find me there from 6-8:30pm each night of LFW sketching quick 15 minute portraits up until the end of London fashion week.
What do you think differentiates LFW from the other fashion capitals?
The people! The whole scene is a bit more daring in my opinion, the street style is amazing! Also London has got the perfect mix of exciting new designers like Molly Goddard and Richard Quinn etc and the bigger luxury houses like Roksanda, Christopher Kane, & Victoria Beckham.
What advice would you give to our readers to are looking to pursue a creative career like yourself?
Work hard, welcome every opportunity, and BE NICE. It is about who you know and timing. I’ve worked for free and i’ve done a lot of rubbish seemingly ‘irrelevant’ tasks but I persevered and what I have gained from those experiences is a network of amazing creative and talented people. All this has lead to opportunities to collaborate and work with these people now and further down the line.
What’s next for Jessica Bird?
Who knows, I’m still figuring it out, but everyday is exciting at the moment and i’m just enjoying every second! I never imagined I would be doing this for a living but now I cant imagine doing anything else!