It’s the beginning of March and I am SO READY for winter to be over! Winter this year has been long and tough – lots of snow and bitterly cold winds, so I’ve been looking forward to spring for awhile now.
Thankfully the wait is almost over and spring will be here by the end of the month. I’m celebrating this happy news by drawing a lot of spring and summer illustrations, so check back soon for more warm weather looks.
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The 2014 Sochi Olympics start today. In its honour, I decided to post this illustration of a plus size figure skater. I love the Olympics, and I studied Russian history when I was doing my undergrad degree a decade ago, so I’ve been looking forward to the 2014 Olympics for awhile.
HBC makes the official Olympic clothing for Canada, so I illustrated her hat with the famous Hudson’s Bay Company stripes – go Team Canada!
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I sat down with a cup of hazelnut coffee this morning to sketch plus size model Felicity Hayward. I absolutely love this fashion editorial from VOL●UP●2 (it’s not from the current issue, and unfortunately I’m not sure which issue it’s from).
The photo reminds me of Marilyn Munroe and Tinkerbell and was really fun to draw. There’s something delightful about the legs and feet – those tiny toe covers are adorable.
Happy New Year, everyone! Welcome to 2014 (I know, I’m a month late!).
Sorry about the extended hiatus. My day job in the fashion industry took up a lot of my extra time and energy over the past few months, so my focus was still on fashion but I wasn’t sketching much at all.
I’m back to illustrating now – contact me if you are interested in a custom sketch for yourself or as a gift for someone else!
Calling all fatshionable plus size Montrealers!
My friend Mylène of Montreal Drama Curves and Gordita Productions is hosting a terrific event today for us fuller figured ladies. The Plus Size Flea Market will be held from 12 pm – 5 pm and will have a ton of great gently used clothes, from lingerie to winter coats, office skirts to party dresses, and lots more.
What I love about the Plus Size Flea Market is that you can find clothes all the way to 6X, so you’re sure to find something you love – no matter what your size. Also, everything is only $5 – $10 so it’s all going to fit within your budget (a great perk at this time of year!).
Mylène is one of the most amazing plus positive women I’ve ever met – so come down to meet her at 4001 Berri in the Plateau this afternoon, and enjoy a great shopping experience. Bring your friends!
Event – Friperie Taille Forte / Plus Size Flea Market
Place – 4001 Berri, Montreal
Date – Nov 30, 12 pm – 5 pm
This has been such a historic year for plus size fashion. From the plus model feature on the cover of Elle Quebec to the first plus runway show at New York Fashion Week, plus fashion has continued to gain ground inside the realm of straight fashion.
Eden Miller showed her spring/summer 2014 Cabiria collection at NYFW this month, which garnered a lot of attention and praise. It was a small collection and unfortunately it didn’t feature the excellent FEATHERS print, which is my favourite Cabiria dress (illustrated above). But the runway did showcase other great fabrics, fun prints, and chic details, and proved that Miller has the effortless knack of combining comfort with elegance. I’m looking forward to her next line already.
I would love to see more plus size collections at straight size events. Cabiria is a strong collection, but my only critique is that the silhouettes were very traditional for plus dresses. Flattering? Of course – I can easily see myself buying and loving one or more of these flirty dresses. Risky runway extravaganza? Not quite. One of the things I love about straight fashion shows is the over the top drama, and I would be thrilled to see more risks taken with plus runway at future fashion weeks across the globe.
Every August when I was growing up, my grandmother gave me money for a back to school shopping spree. By the time I turned eleven, I got to choose my wardrobe myself. I shopped mainly at thrift stores to stretch my dollars – the budget had to include staples for the whole year, including a winter coat and boots (serious business here in Canada). The end result was an eclectic wardrobe cultivated around my adolescent sartorial influences – Days of Our Lives and outdated issues of Canadian Living.
The end result was an eclectic wardrobe cultivated around my adolescent sartorial influences - Days of Our Lives and outdated issues of Canadian Living.
I didn’t have much of a fashion sense back in the 90′s and I struggled to understand current trends, failing to pull off any of them except neon and scrunchy socks. Regardless, one of my favourite shows was Fashion Television with Jeanne Beker, which I watched in bemused fascination with my grandmother between episodes of Golden Girls and Murphy Brown.
In high school, I started to choose clothes because I loved them. They weren’t trendy – but they interested me. I had a burgundy faux snakeskin jacket from The Bay that I loved (my grandmother failed to convince me to buy the matching pants, and to this day I’m not sure that I was right to refuse). My closet was filled with chenille sweaters, frivolous shoes, and button-up jeans. I had a maxi skirt made of goretex and a tank top of smocked denim. I was a size 10 with a taste for novelty and a good allowance, but I had no concept of how to match anything and I had a terrible sense of colour. Though high school was my happiest fashion period, I knew I wasn’t really fashionable.
I was a size 10 with a taste for novelty and a good allowance, but I had no concept of how to match anything and I had a terrible sense of colour.
In 2001, I went to McGill for an undergrad degree in history. I gained a lot of weight during my university years and soon wore size 20, which left me with fewer shopping options and plenty of self-consciousness. I wore a lot of hoodies and often felt dowdy. It didn’t help that the majority of McGill students dressed as if they were models in an Abercrombie & Fitch catalogue.
During the summer before my final year, I felt panicked about what to do after graduation. I was lying in bed one night catching up on the fashion magazines to which my impeccably dressed grandmother had faithfully subscribed for decades. There was an article in Vanity Fair (April 2004) about Marc Jacobs that I was mildly interested in reading- he was one of the few designers I recognized, having seen a photo of a dress years before that I had desperately wanted (but could never have afforded) for prom.
I remember the mild interest as I started the article because it contrasted so vividly with how I felt by the end of the first page. My skin prickled, my hair stood on end. I sat bolt upright on the bed, heart pounding, every cell in my body screaming at me that THIS IS IT. It felt so strong and unexpected and it affected me so profoundly that I wondered if this was what nuns felt when they spoke of a religious calling.
I finished the Vanity Fair article – and I read it again, twice. It was past midnight but I went to the living room in a daze and watched 3 hours of runway shows on the fashion network. I felt electrified, strangely excited and terrified. I thought – I can’t do this. But I also thought- I must.
I thought – I can’t do this. But I also thought- I must.
The year after I graduated from McGill, I didn’t go to fashion school. I was too scared – I worried that I was too fat and uncool. It had been years since I had enjoyed fashion, and even then I had certainly never thought of being a designer as a potential job. I had a horrible suspicion that fashion sense must be something you’re either born with or you’re not, and I dreaded the idea that I would turn out to be completely unsuited for the career that was compelling me so strongly.
I worried so much that by the time I finally decided to attend LaSalle College for fashion design the next fall, I was late for enrollment by 2 weeks. I went anyway. And I did often feel too fat and out of place, lacking completely in personal style. But I’ve never forgotten the incredible moment when I read that Marc Jacobs article and simply knew that fashion was my future. I’ve kept that issue and I re-read the article every few years. I have never thought about quitting, not during the three years of college or the four years I’ve spent working in the industry.
However unexpected, fashion really did turn out to be my calling. And I owe everything to Marc Jacobs and Vanity Fair. Without that 2004 issue, I don’t think I ever would have thought twice about fashion design, and my life would have taken a completely different path.
The weather for most of September has been breezy and cool in Montreal – autumn is definitely here.
But the last two days have been muggy and hot and full of sudden thunder storms, so I couldn’t resist one more summery plus size illustration. Enjoy this last look at hot summer days!
I sketched and painted this plus size illustration yesterday while rewatching The September Issue (wonderful documentary).
While Grace Coddington talked about colour blocking, I was laying out my paints – that’s how this sketch ended up with orange hair and such a vibrant dress!
Basically the illustration turned out to be a plus size rainbow pride flag. As I am a bisexual woman, and newly wedded to my wife, I think it’s ok that I ended up with a fabulous rainbow dress!
I love watching belly dancers perform. The costumes are wonderful and the dancing is so interesting. Recently I watched season one of Project Belly Dance, a fun reality show on the search for America’s next top belly dancer. It inspired me to draw another plus size dance illustration!
Last year I drew a bright and colourful plus size belly dancer that I named Sabihah (“beautiful” in Arabic). One thing I love about belly dancing is that it really embraces different female body types – there are many plus size dancers out there who are proud to dance in these beautiful costumes and to continue this ancient cultural tradition.
Meet Aymelek, a tribal belly dancer. Her name means “moon angel” in Turkish. I love the black and green costume that I drew for her, with pops of red accents in her hair, the scarves fluttering at her waist, and her dancing shoes.
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