At its essence, fashion is a form of self-expression. It might sound like a cliché but true style doesn’t come from the clothes themselves but from the person wearing them. It’s self-confidence expressed through what you choose to wear, but also the way in which you present yourself to the world. But self-expression doesn’t necessarily mean taking yourself seriously. Fashion can and should also be a way of being creative and finding joy and beauty in the world—as well as in yourself.
We were recently reminded of the joys in fashion by Annie Naranian’s fashion illustrations. Though created digitally (using software like Illustrator, Photoshop, Procreate), Naranian’s illustrations have a hand-made, unfinished quality to them that’s well-intended. Through broad “brush strokes” and clashing patterns and prints, these illustrations highlight the carefree attitude that comes with a sense of confidence in self-expression. The overall attitude is playful, inspiring us to explore our wardrobe.
Based in Toronto, Canada, Naranian’s illustrations have caught the attention of huge names in the fashion world, attracting clients like Chanel, Marc Jacobs, and Reebok.
Her work process relies on intuition, as much as anything else: “Before I begin illustrating, my technical process begins with collecting images from Instagram, Pinterest, various fashion magazines, and Vogue.com,” she relayed once in an interview with I Love Illustration.
“My interest in vintage fashion can be seen reflected in my art, because I think much of contemporary fashion is indebted to what has come before it,” she further explains. “And it is that very connection my art seeks to explore: the ways in which the methods of contemporary fashion are related to or are different from the techniques of the past.”
With a nod to the past (as well as the future), Naranian’s illustrations are very much contemporary.