Business, Culture, Fashion

Illustrating a New Fashion Era – In Conversation with Emily Chapillion

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Emily Chappilon is a fashion student, and if she is not attending online lectures, she is expressing her love for the 2000’s through her unique art. I had the pleasure of chatting with her about what fashion means, why the noughties were so cool and her deep love for Manchester.

First of all, tell our readers about yourself and what you do?

“Hello! I’m a second year Fashion Promotion student currently studying at Manchester Metropolitan University, whilst also running my own freelance illustration business on the side. I have always had a huge passion for art, and when I left Art A level to move into a Fashion Degree, I knew my love for it would somehow lead me back to drawing at some point. Over lockdown, I began illustrating fashion cartoons and due to an amazing response from my online community, @noughtiesnetwork was created. I have always been really focused on being as sustainable as possible with my fashion purchases, buying second hand and using re-selling platforms like Depop and Asos Marketplace. When I was able to start creating logos for sustainable Fashion brands, I was so excited, and my freelance business has just grown from there!”

When did you start illustrating? What drew you to the craft?

“I’m from a small country village in Somerset, so during lockdown, I was very isolated and I needed a project to prevent me from going insane. I have always been drawn to the fashion of the 2000’s, so I started drawing my favourite cartoons from that era with Fashion Monogram backgrounds. Quickly, people asked me to buy prints of my illustrations. Someone gave me the advice to start drawing digitally, and from then on, it completely took off. I fell in love with digital drawing and taught myself to use Adobe Illustrator to create more detailed pieces that I could get printed. The monogram cartoons were most popular at the start, and I ended up doing a collaboration with the brand @imdesigns, creating 10 prints styling her clothes. After these sold successfully, I started taking on lots of commissions and learned new illustration techniques. Over the last 6 months, I’ve created logos, commissions and prints for so many amazing brands and people, and I think being involved in such a creative community of people has just pushed me to create more and more illustrations.”

What in particular about the 2000’s period fuels your inspiration?

“Rave culture! I have been obsessed with the prints from designer brands that were worn in 90’s garage raves since I was 15. I remember very vividly getting my first pair of Moschino speed print jeans for my 16th birthday and going to my first London rave with a fake ID and all my friends. For me, going to London was such a big deal at the time as I had come from such a small village in the South of England, and I’d been following rave culture-defining pages like Wavey Garms for as long as I could remember. I think the clothes back then had so much more meaning to people and represented specific subcultures so well, so when I started illustrating, I knew I wanted to try and embody this. A favourite of mine is Franco Moschino’s ‘say no to racism’ jacket. The print was so forward-thinking at the time, and his messages to society are still incredibly relevant today. With fast fashion being such a huge issue in terms of sustainability today, I want people who look at my illustrations to take a step back and look at how much love was put into clothes during the 80s and 90s periods. People who wore the clothes treasured each piece, so more people need to be more educated and create a circular economy where we can stop using pieces once and actually buy second hand.”

How did your pathway into fashion come about?

“I’ve always loved clothes. I went to a school where the girls wore leggings and hoodies and I was always the one wearing something ‘different’ that people didn’t really like. I remember wearing flares on home clothes day and people being like ‘what are those’! After Art A-Level I knew I wanted to be in the creative industry and the thought of learning about fashion photography, styling, or advertising just really excited me. When I got to university in Manchester it felt like a whole world I hadn’t really experienced, other than when I had been to raves. Everyone dresses so uniquely and no one’s afraid to wear something different that might make them stand out. The main thing that attracted me to fashion in the first place is the idea of self-expression through what you wear and the inclusive community side of it.”

What is your favourite illustration you’ve produced so far?

“Hard question! I don’t think I have a favourite, but I love learning about the history of cartoons and their original forms, so when I learnt about Betty Boop and illustrated my interpretation of her character. I really enjoyed creating it. I learnt that although she was based off a white woman named Helen Kane, Helen’s whole performance was based on a black woman named Baby Esther who she copied, giving no credit to. I wanted to then incorporate some of Betty’s original characteristics but at the same time give credit to Baby Esther. I think as young people it’s really important to learn about the history of things we have been exposed to from such young ages and educate others on issues surrounding problems like this.”

What is your favourite thing about Manchester?

“Everything! The music, fashion, culture, people, I could literally go on for days. During my first year in Manchester, I was thriving, meeting new people every day and going to events, which was so fun. I absolutely love Northern Quarter with its amazing coffee and vintage shops, and then obviously clubs like Hidden and Warehouse project, which have such amazing histories. Speaking to local businesses like the chippy next to our house, about how lockdown has affected them is so incredibly sad. Manchester thrives at night and with lockdown restrictions, it’s affecting the whole city very negatively. I am being optimistic and hoping ‘normal life’ will continue again soon, and just sending prayers out to all the small business owners who’ve been hit so bad.”

Who is your number one fashion inspiration?

“Rhiannon Isabel! Always will be, looking at her collections from the nineties n noughties era is what started my obsession with fashion in the first place.”

Where can people buy your art?

“Instagram at the moment, I am working on a website, but I currently just sell all my work on my Instagram page @noughtiesnetwork!”

Where do you see yourself in 5 years?

“Honest answer – no idea! I am working on securing a sustainability or content creation placement to gain some experience working for a brand, but ideally, in the future one day, I’d love to work for myself. I think there are so many exciting brands out there at the moment, so I am going to explore working within those and go from there.”

About the author / 

Nina Schaarschmidt

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