IN Interviews : Sasha Helim


With a handful of experience, a blog full of illustrations, and countless photographic inspiration, British designer and third-year fashion illustration student, Sasha Helim, is gaining momentum that will motivate her career for years to come.

Sasha doesn’t live the life of an average student. If she’s not tied up with London College of Fashion, she is immersed in her own list of projects : from travel, London Fashion Week, illustration and design, styling for the English National Ballet, to working with The British design council and top fashion designer Vivienne Westwood. Sasha is a well of inspiration and works enthusiastically to stay Infashuated.

Full name: Sasha Helim

Educational background: After completing school where I studied subjects including art and textiles, I headed straight to college and then went on to study Foundation Art & Design at London College of Fashion where I developed my portfolio to progress onto studying a degree in Fashion Illustration at the same institution. I am currently in my third year and due to graduate in June.

Where are you from? Wapping, London

Favorite place to shop? Topshop

Two words to describe your personality: Girly/ honest


What are you Infashuated about? Any sources of inspiration? (i.e. magazines, artist, exhibitions, exciting restaurants, etc.): My favourite magazines are British Vogue and bi-annual Lula Magazine, the dreamy, feminine aesthetic theme of that particular publication (and even the paper it is printed on) makes it a beautiful read. I've been collecting them over the years. My favourite websites include thecoveteur and style where I love looking at the backstage fashion show photos. I find photographer Tim Walker completely amazing, his style is so fun and fantastically themed; his photo-shoots are complete with amazing set designs, never disappoints, and will forever inspire me. My current infashuation? Feather embellishment!

What is your favorite medium of choice when creating illustrations? I notice much of you work contains collage. What made you gravitate toward this format and style of working? My medium of choice is usually ink and pencil, however I enjoy creating collages along with these disciplines, as it enables me to combine my favourite techniques, creating an interesting visual. I also like the way in which collage enables you to manipulate scale and layer photos and illustration together to produce an abstract and unique image, I sometimes use sewing, too, to add texture over the illustration.

Do you gravitate towards a particular style, time period, or design aesthetic perhaps? I love clothing complete with embellishment; my favourite designer is Ricardo Tisci at Givenchy for this reason. I find this design aesthetic to be inspiring as the craftsmanship of the intricate details are amazing. My particular style of illustration is feminine, dreamy and sometimes abstract, I feel this comes from a reflection of my personality and inspiration.


Tell us about past projects and affiliations: My illustration degree got off to a great start when my fashion illustration was chosen as the 2010 design for charity Jeans for Genes annual fashion t-shirt which was a fantastic experience as a first year degree student; my t-shirt was modelled and advertised by model Amber Le Bon and featured in publications including British Vogue, Glamour magazine and to name a few. 
I have since done styling with the English National Ballet, worked with the British Fashion Council and in the Vivienne Westwood studios which was amazing. I had the opportunity of working backstage at the London Fashion Week show as well as travelling to Paris with the team to work on the Paris Fashion Week Gold Label show. My latest experience was working with Fiona Leahy creative events, which consisted of creating props and producing creative ideas for events for brands such as Louis Vuitton and Vogue's Fashion Night Out.

With all the amazing photographs of your travels, parties, fashion shows, and designing, how has this helped to provide vision and inspiration for your work? In all of my fashion related travel, my trip to Paris was particularly inspiring as seeing the fantastic street style surrounding the shows as well as the photos of the atmosphere backstage I captured is something that has stayed with me for a while and even prompted me to base my final year illustration project on just that. During the upcoming London and Paris Fashion Weeks I intend to go there and do some street style photography of my own as well as work backstage on some shows, working the images into a collection of illustrations and collages.

How do you prep for projects; what is ideal in regards to your preliminary stages? In order to prep for a project I tend to source inspiration from my favourite blogs, websites, magazines and visit my university library for books on the subject. I even visit places such as Bond Street to view shop windows as the creative way, in which they present products can help visualise an illustration concept. Art galleries and museums such as the V&A and Tate Modern are also great sources of research depending on the subject matter.


Being that you're a knowledgeable fashion illustrator and you have a level of significance to your work, what are your feelings on the saturation of online blogs and fashion websites? Online fashion blogs can be great sources of fashion images and be hugely inspiring, I also think they give creative people a portal to present their work, much like myself and can fulfill the function of collating all your creative work, experiences and inspiration into a story. I welcome the development of fashion blogs and websites as you can never be too inspired and are great for seeing fellow up and coming creative people in the industry and projects they are working on.

When did you first know that you wanted to become a fashion illustrator? I was determined to work within the fashion industry from a very young age, I always knew I would study at the London College of Fashion and realised drawing would be the medium through which I would do so when I was around 15 years old. When I was little, I loved to draw then, too; I constantly entered drawing competitions and at one point had my whole bedroom wall covered in drawings! In this respect, it has always been quite obvious that I would come to be a fashion illustrator.


What's next for Sasha Helim? Collaborations future endeavours, design prospects? This year is rather exciting as I graduate from my fashion illustration degree and will be exhibiting my final university fashion illustration project in June. I have another charity t-shirt out this year in April too, which will be sold in a major British department store and bring about some great press for my work. Prior to this I have my work due to feature in various publications and look forward to working on some more London Fashion Week shows.


-- Special thanks to Sasha Helim (check out her blog). Interview by James Buford, and edited by Alicia Fairclough for Infashuated © 2011. No part of this content or information included therein may be reproduced, republished or redistributed without the prior consent of Infashuated.