Front Row at London Fashion Week: Bringing Fashion to Life – Behind the Scenes of Live Illustration at London Fashion Week with Anna Blachut

Capturing the Essence of Design through Fashion Illustration at London Fashion Week

London Fashion Week is one of the most anticipated events in the fashion calendar, bringing together designers, models, fashion editors, bloggers, and fashion enthusiasts from all over the world. This year, I had the privilege of attending the event as an illustrator, and it was an experience of a lifetime. From drawing backstage to live illustrations at the show, it was an exciting time to be in London. In this blog post, I will share my experience, tips, and insights from the event.

Drawing front row at London Fashion Week is every fashion illustrator’s dream, and I am beyond grateful to have had the opportunity to live this experience. As a Swiss illustrator, I was thrilled to be part of the FIDA x Fashion Scout partnership for London Fashion Week, where I had the chance to capture the essence of the event through my live drawings and sketches.

From Sketch to Runway: A Glimpse into the World of Fashion Illustration with The Future Collective X Fashion Scout

My journey began with the Future Collective X Fashion Scout show. I arrived 1 hour before the show and headed backstage with a big bag filled with pens, pencils, and sketchbooks. This was such a great opportunity to draw backstage and live during the fashion show. Backstage at any fashion show is always hectic, so I made sure to stay out of the way. I perched in a corner and started drawing the models getting into hair and makeup backstage. It was a truly exhilarating experience, seeing the models getting ready for the show, and capturing their energy and excitement in my sketches.

As an illustrator, one of the most important aspects of attending London Fashion Week is to observe and capture the details. This means paying attention to the fabrics, colours, and textures of the clothing, as well as the accessories and styling. These details are what make fashion unique and can be a great source of inspiration for your illustrations.

FIGURA SERVICES: The Dark Alluring Psyche of Uniform Expression

Then I settled into a seat and set up to draw live during the fashion show. It was a first for me, and I absolutely loved it. The show was a curation of three emerging designers who were set to debut at London Fashion Week with Fashion Scout at the Future Collective show. The first designer was FIGURA SERVICES, founded in 2021 by a talented design duo who strive to create uniforms of expression that perceive the dark, alluring psyche of those that wear them. Their unique approach to design was evident in their collection, which was edgy and bold, yet still had a touch of elegance and sophistication. The first designer was FIGURA SERVICES, founded in 2021 by a talented design duo. Their collection strives to create uniforms of expression that perceive the dark alluring psyche of those that wear them.

Felix Bendish: Unique Garments and Accessories with a Bold Twist of Hand Embroidery

The second designer was Felix Bendish, a Mumbai-based brand that crafts unique garments and accessories with a bold twist of hand embroidering manipulated onto fabric through digital printing. Felix Bendish draws inspiration from their fascination with illusions, projecting these into their designs, and enhancing their innovative approach to craftsmanship.

Gyouree Kim: Exploring Sustainable Fashion Methodologies with Historical and Modern Design

The third designer was Gyouree Kim, a Korean-born fashion designer who has over five years of technical garment-making experience under her belt, which she further developed by exploring sustainable fashion methodologies to begin building her brand. Inspired by an amalgamation of historical fashion and modern design, along with the intricacies of architecture, Gyouree Kim has built a design-oriented brand valuing structure, quality, and values. The corsets were beautiful and intricate, the fabrics light and breathable. A truly beautiful and poetic collection.

Ingrid Kraftchenko’s ‘Bodymap 23’ (The Sun is Ash): A Dark and Creative Twist on Ecotourism at London Fashion Week

In the evening we headed to Ingrid Kraftchenko’s ‘Bodymap 23’ (The Sun is Ash) fashion show. The designer presented a unique and avant-garde collection at the official London Fashion Week Schedule. The evening show was held in an abandoned tunnel of the London Underground, which added to the dark and edgy vibe of the collection. The Fashion Week guests all gathered around the gate, clamouring to be let it, during this time I spoke with some truly fascinating people, including a designer who worked with Vivienne Westwood for several years. Then when the gates opened, we all trotted down into the dark rubble and got seated in this surreal setting.

The collection featured a fusion of leather, latex, sheer fabrics, and intricate textiles that were artistically crafted with crochet techniques. The catwalk was a tribute to the dystopian and utilitarian themes of the collection, with models donning red and black ensembles that added to the dramatic feel of the show. Ingrid Kraftchenko’s designs are highly political and aim to redefine modern luxury, which has earned her critical acclaim and a cult following. The show was a dark and ritualistic catwalk. It came to a close with the beautiful model Nyekachi Douglas striding down the catwalk in a white and black striped top and billowing black skirt. Fun fact, we were sitting next to her brother in the show, so it was really nice in terms of atmosphere to talk with him and see how proud he was. The designer, Ingrid Kraftchenko is a British fashion designer born in Kent, England who graduated from the London College of Fashion. She lives and works in London and this was her catwalk debut. After the show, we sprinted out of the underground and up to the surface to grab a (very) late dinner before sliding into bed so as to be fresh for the next show in the morning.

MADbyMAD’s Pink Matrix Collection: Fully Sustainable Luxury Pieces That Are Degradable and Easily Recyclable

The last show I attended was the morning show at Fashion Scout, where I went backstage to draw, and drew live illustrations and sketched the audience at the show. I had the opportunity to speak with the designer, the press, the models, and the fashion editors, which gave me a broader understanding of the fashion industry and the effort it takes to put together such an event.

One designer that really caught my attention was Mata, who focuses on sustainable luxury fashion at her bio-luxury brand MADbyMAD. Mata is currently based in Paris, where she works as a textile designer as part of the textile design research team at Chanel Maison. Mata Durikovic is an LVHM Green Trail Award nominee and a winner of multiple awards including the Media Award by ITS: Platform Contest in 2022, Best Fashion Graduate by Slovak Fashion Council and Fashion Live! in 2022 for a sustainability price from the Copenhagen Fashion Summit in 2019.

Her motto, “be MAD! be Bioluxury!”, transforms into her work, using bioplastic as a leather replacement bioplastic crystal leather with 3D embroidery in combination with recycled Swarovski crystal waste and using zero-waste techniques such as knitwear and crochet.

In her collection, ‘Pink Matrix’, she aims for fully sustainable luxury pieces made to be degradable into separate materials and easily recyclable. The inspiration comes from her childhood memories and relationship with her grandmother, who used various sustainable practices at home. One of them was saving the starch water from potatoes and later watering the plants with it for better nutrition. This starch material is the basis for the bioplastic material that she started to experiment with and that became the basis for the collection.

During the show of Pink Matrix, there was a unique and interactive moment that caught everyone’s attention. One of the models lay on a table while the other models took a knife and cut off pieces of the dress. The models then placed the pieces on a cake platter and offered them to the audience. The audience members were surprised and intrigued by this unconventional act, as it showed that the pieces of the dress were actually edible. This was a clear demonstration of Mata’s commitment to sustainability and her willingness to experiment with innovative materials and techniques in order to create sustainable luxury fashion. It was a bold move that left a lasting impression on everyone who witnessed it.

Final Thoughts on London Fashion Week

In conclusion, one of the best parts of attending London Fashion Week as an illustrator is the opportunity to network and collaborate with other professionals in the industry. This can be as simple as striking up a conversation with a fellow illustrator or fashion blogger, or as involved as creating a collaborative project with a designer or model. The fashion industry is all about connections, and attending events like this can be a great way to make new contacts and expand your professional circle. In terms of the actual experience of attending London Fashion Week, I have found it to be a thrilling and inspiring event. The energy of the space is contagious, and there is always something new and exciting to see.

All in all, this was one of my most memorable experiences. It allowed me to see the entire process of putting on a runway show from start to finish. Furthermore, as an illustrator, I have found that one of the most rewarding aspects of attending London Fashion Week is being able to share my work with others. This might mean posting images of my illustrations on social media or creating a portfolio to showcase my work after the event. From the elaborate runway shows to the behind-the-scenes glimpses of the fashion industry, there is truly something for everyone at this event.


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