Spotlight Fashion illustrator Jessica Rose Bird
After first visiting Roksanda Ilinčić’s studio as a PR intern some years ago, Bird has been asked back as an artist to capture the Serbian designer’s collection. Ilinčić says: “Ever since, she has been a wonderful part of my shows to illustrate each collection, capturing the behind-the-scenes motions and atmosphere through her incredible hand. I love how everything comes to life so vividly through her spontaneous, improvised strokes. We both share the love of bold colours, evolving lines and exploring the unexpected beauty through opposites. It’s been incredible to see her grow as an artist, evolving in something she was always so passionate about. Seeing her in my designs, while creating, always brings such a lovely coalition.”
The feeling is very much mutual. Bird says: “As an artist working primarily for the fashion industry, I get a lot of my inspiration from fashion designers like Roksanda who use such amazing colours and shapes that are endlessly inspirational to me.”
She adds: “But wider than that I am drawn to interesting unique faces, unconventional and unexpected relationships between colours and objects, energy and movement. I want to hold onto the energy felt when I am creating the piece, energy that is only in that moment. When I draw live backstage at Roksanda for example, the high intensity environment, combined with a more limited selection of materials and the physicality of the moment, means I produce work that is a snapshot of those few minutes, seconds even, that I share with a model, capturing only the most important details. I want that energy to be present and felt in all my work.”
With Christmas coming up, it’s a busy time for events, and Bird. In addition to working through some private commissions, she’ll be live illustrating guest portraits at brand events. You can also catch her work in two London group shows from December 8 at FRMD in Clapton and at a group show in collaboration with Dave Buonaguidi for The Big Issue in Hackney Wick. It finishes a successful 2022 for Bird, which also saw her collaborate with Marks & Spencer on three T-shirt designs that were sold online and in stores around the UK earlier this summer.
She concludes: “My grandad bought and wore one and friends were sending me photos of strangers wearing them in the streets from around the world. To have had full trust by one of the UK’s iconic stalwart high street names, to design whatever I liked is pretty exciting.”
About the champion
Originally from Serbia, Roksanda Ilinčić studied architecture and applied arts at the University of Belgrade before moving to London to complete an MA in womenswear at Central Saint Martins. In the decade since, her namesake label has become synonymous with sculptural shapes, its daring use of colour and innovative use of fabrics. In a nod to its art influences, its spring 2023 collection was presented during Frieze Week at the Serpentine Pavilion.