IN Interviews : Kathryn Rodgers
Full name: Kathryn Elyse Rodgers
From: Loganville, GA
Favorite colors: No way I could possibly choose a few ... I love change of colors!
Favorite song: I really have the hardest time picking favorites ... but I really like Goldfrapp right now (Black Cherry and Ooh La La)!
Illustration style: Realistic, but whimsical and layered.
Favorite candy: Dark chocolate covered espresso beans (at the moment)!
Favorite TV show: All the bad TV ... The Hills/Gossip Girls/Project Runway/Desperate Housewives.
When did you first find your love for fashion? Ever since I was young, I've loved drawing girls in pretty dresses! I think when I really discovered 'fashion in the real world' and my love for it was in college. I studied Industrial Design, and there came a point when I just absolutely hated it. Not necessarily Industrial Design in general, but the way my college taught Industrial Design (and what they expected us to create). It all seemed less creative than I had imagined it to be. So from there, I began to focus more on what I really enjoyed. I took costume design classes, and started studying fashion on my own. I eventually went abroad for a semester and studied fashion in Italy, which was really the ultimate turning point for me. From then on, everything I did was about fashion, or fashion illustration.
Where did the name 'Paper Fashion' come from? Simple! Almost all fashion starts on paper ... where the ideas begin. This is the part I enjoy most about fashion, because you really can create anything you can imagine (even if it can't actually be made). So I joined the idea of 'Paper' and 'Fashion' in creating the name.
What is your process like, when creating illustrations (tools, medium, where do you illustrate)? I'm always browsing the internet searching for new inspiration. I'm so glad I'm in this generation because the internet is full of so many amazing, amazing things. Once I hone in on an idea, I sketch it out in pencil and then I paint it. There's something about watercolors that is so perfect for fashion illustration- it is so loose and has a flow to it. After I paint it I go over it with black ink, and call out details and the movement of the drawing.
Who or what is your biggest influence as an illustrator? I'm not sure there is one person I can say influences me ... but a billion people. People in general inspire me. Friends' personal styles, runway shows, art, music, color, product design ... really everything inspires me! Sometimes I surprise myself with what things spark ideas in my head ... it could be so random!
What is you favorite clothing item to wear? I must say I'm a lover of all things black and neutral... it's simple, clean, and makes me feel good! It's so easy to wake up and put on black and gray and call it a day. When I try to wear color I drive myself crazy thinking too much. Neutrals and blacks make my life easy.
Where would you love to travel to for inspiration and why? Oh, so many places. I hope that there's a time in my life when I can travel alot. It's something I have to do! Some places I really want to go to lately are ... South Africa, New Zealand, Morocco, Argentina, Ecuador ... and the list goes on! I prefer places with a lot of culture and life! I will always have a love for the Spanish culture also ... it's just so lively and they really know how to enjoy life.
After spending lots of time on your blog and sketching, what would you like Paper Fashion fans and readers to take away from your work? Really ... Paper Fashion is just something I want people to enjoy. I'm not a great writer, not a great speaker, but I think I can offer something to the world in a visual way. It's just fun!
As an illustrator, it's always hard to keep coming up with new inspiration. How do you continue to keep a fresh outlook on design? Honestly, I've never really had an issue with this. I think it's so easy to keep myself inspired just by seeing how many things are out there, and discovering new things constantly. The world is filled with artists that have so many amazing things to offer. The design world is ever-changing, and recreating itself. Also, working as a designer during the day inspires me as well. Sometimes I can only push designs at work so much, so I let the other half of my inspiration out in Paper Fashion.
Kind of off-topic, but what's the craziest situation you've ever been in? Did this inspire any wild illustrations? Hmm.. I'm not sure if I can recall the craziest situation I've ever been in ... but I can tell you my favorite story which always makes me laugh!! When I studied abroad in Italy, I got the most amazing opportunity: to attend my first fashion show ever, in Milan during Fashion Week!! I found out the day before, and left the next day right after class, took the three-hour train ride to Milan from Florence, and hurried to pick up the tickets in a city I did not speak the language (nor had I ever been there)! I rushed to make it to the show. Once I made it, I was so so so excited. I was waiting in line in the freezing cold, and all of a sudden I felt something splash onto my head and drip onto my face ... bird shit! It was horrible, but so funny. I had to try and use whatever I had to get it off because I was not about to miss this show (Moschino Cheap and Chic). Anyway, the show was incredible and I think it was one of the most inspirational times in my life. I always see it as my good luck moment.
What books and/or magazines do you read? I'm definitely more of an internet person, but when I get the chance to read I like to read bios or stories about other people in the industry. I find it very inspirational to hear people's stories. Magazine wise, I love so many .... I love Clear, Vogue, Elle, Dwell, Nylon, International Magazines, Wallpaper ... etc. They all are filled with inspiration.
What's next for Paper Fashion? Any future project, goals, and/or wishes? With whom would you love to collaborate?
Currently I'm working with lots of different people and genres. I'm doing some projects for The Purse Blog, and a new project for a large company that produces illustrations on junior girls shirts. One of my other favorite projects is with Penelope & Coco. They make some very cool and funky boots, check them out! I'd love to do a million collaborations, but one thing I really want to do eventually is make illustrated wallpaper!
-- All images supplied by Kathryn Elyse Rodgers. Interview by James Buford for Infashuated © 2010.