Fashion Illustration at the Mall

Fashion illustration at the mall? Yep! Traditional painted Fashion illustrations have come back into vogue in a strong way.  It seems like there are cute drawings on display everywhere I turn! Recently I have noticed that Target and Forever 21 are both using what look like hand-painted fashion illustrations in their store displays.

Last week I spied these cute boards in the trendy “teen” area of my local Target.

Summer Chic

I love the young, fun, attitude expressed in the drawings and how they convey that crossover time between the hot weather at the end of Summer and the beginning of the colder weather of Autumn.

These are “Summer Chic, Fall Fabulous” indeed. I wonder who created the drawings.  I can’t find any reference to them at the Target website, and there were no signatures on the displays.

Fashion illustration in stores – When did the trend begin?

As I recall Barneys was one of the first to start using fashion illustration in their advertising back in the late 90’s, and Nordstoms used Ruben Toledo’s gorgeous illustrations as displays in their stores recently. I’m excited to see more companies using illustrators to create a look for their stores, but I wonder if it’s trickled down to the lowest level and will now fall out of fashion.

The cute illustrations by Ruben Toledo which used to be all over my local Nordstroms have pretty much dissapeared.  All I could find was this one reminding shoppers not to bring their dogs on the elevators.

Forever 21 is forever changing it’s window displays.  Their newest, as of this posting, shows what look’s like a designer’s sketch of their early Fall 2011 offerings.  I think it’s very clever.

The fashion industry is notoriously fickle. What is “in” today is “out” tomorrow. Do you think fashion illustration has become too trendy and therefore over-saturated? Will fall out of fashion now as it was in the 80’s, or do you think it will stay in vogue for a while?

Comments (13)

  1. September 7, 2011 - 11:01 AM

    I really like that 4th one. Awesome.

  2. September 8, 2011 - 5:19 AM

    I think it is like all things . . . what is in today is out tomorrow and back by next week. Have you ever considered asking for one of the posters/displays? Of course they probably won’t give it to you while it is on display and you may get a no BUT, sometimes if you ask the right person nicely they will usually call you and say come get this. I have done it before 🙂

    • September 8, 2011 - 5:46 PM

      I didn’t even thing about asking for the displays! The ones at Target will probably be down next week, when the Missoni stuff comes in. I wonder what happens to all the old display boards?

  3. September 9, 2011 - 6:04 AM

    What’s too fashionable? Aren’t we thrilled about this? It looks like the artist that Target is using also has a line of greeting cards sold there so there’s a tie-in but the use of illustration is great! There was a time when every retailer used illustration instead of photography. I think there’s room for both. Don’t you?

    • September 11, 2011 - 11:22 AM

      Hi Edwina,

      I was very excited to see the drawings at Target and Forever 21, I was just worried that sometimes when a trend moves to the mass market it’s on it’s way out. I’m not sure those illustrations are being used in greeting cards as they weren’t signed. I’d love to know who did them.

  4. September 14, 2011 - 2:09 AM

    Fashion Illustrations are such a wonderfully expressive way to highlight the beauty and artistic value in clothing and accessories … I really hope the “trend” sticks around for a while. I’ve love the escalator painting:))

  5. September 14, 2011 - 5:21 PM

    These are all pretty great, glad to see fashion illustration is coming back and going strong again!

  6. September 22, 2011 - 9:23 PM

    I like that you noticed all the advertising in the stores, it’s interesting to study it I see it as less about whether illustration is in or out and more about what style of illustration is big at the moment.

    • Heather Fonseca
      September 23, 2011 - 3:33 PM

      Mary Jo I hadn’t thought about that but GREAT POINT! From what I’m seeing very loose marker sketches are all the rage.

  7. PvdH
    September 29, 2011 - 3:30 AM

    I suppose I am an illustrator as well and I love seeing all the different styles. Definitely have also seen it around much more lately!

  8. September 29, 2011 - 10:57 AM

    I’m happy that they are back, it’s nice to see actual art once in a while, instead of models sometimes. getting fashion back to it’s graphite & inking roots so-to-speak, before hi-tech took over, haha! These lovely sketches make me want to finish my drawings I have pushed aside.

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