Kareem Iliya

Becoming a Professional Fashion Designer

Become a Professional Fashion Designer

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What inspires you?

Everything, but in particular the space i live in and the nature that surrounds it.

Are you interested in fashion?

Yes, in fact for many years while illustrating I was also working as a menswear designer for various companies including A/X Armani Exchange, Express Men's and Banana Republic.

Describe your work.

It often gets described as "ethereal". However, I think I usually aim for something graphic and yet soft and beautiful.

Which media and techniques do you use? Watercolours, inks, pastels, charcoal and various papers along with my Apple Mac and Adobe Photoshop—depending on the assignment, I may or may not involve any computer manipulation.

What, for you, makes a successful fashion illustration?

An image that grabs your attention and holds it, making you wish for more.

What artistic training have you undertaken?

When I was ten, my brother taught me to use watercolours, and my father showed me the best technique for colouring in maps for my school projects. I also took various art courses throughout my education, including high school and college. During my college years, my degree in fashion design focused my attention on selling my design ideas via my illustrations, and that is when I realized how much I loved to illustrate fashion.

If you could give one piece of advice to a student, what would it be?

Well, I was kicked out of my fashion illustration class in college because I refused to draw in the manner my professor requested, I was bored to death and let her know. I think developing your own style and not conforming to the masses is the best lesson one can have. Also, follow your passion rather than what is expected of you.

Describe yourself and your greatest achievement.

I've had several goals throughout my career. My earliest goal, in my early twenties, was to be published in W Magazine (it was a publication I had followed since pre-college days and throughout my career as a designer). The day they gave me a call to work with them was one of the best, and I've since worked with them many times over the course of the past decade. The other publication I was longing to be a part of was Visionaire. From the moment the first issue was published, I became a collector. It was a great honour to be a part of what they were working on, and I was fortunate enough for my work to be in several of the early issues.

Kareem Iliya

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