Meet the illustrator behind our jungle print collection, Lily.
Lily Kate Vallance is one talented individual. Not only is she a graphic designer, illustrator and vintage fashion aficionado, she is also the talent behind our exclusive jungle print collection, which is available in-store and online now. We sat down with Lily to ask her about how she created the jungle print pattern, what she loves about this collection and …. the jungle!
What was your inspiration for this print?
Our footwear designers wanted a tropical-inspired print which tied together the colour palette of the entire spring/summer collection. They gave me the Pantone colours for the range to assist with the process – that’s where the red and green came from, the pink of the birds, and the orange too. We thought this was a nice way to bring together the spring/summer collection as a whole.
What was your process for creating the jungle print collection?
When I first start working on an illustration, I look at the piece as a whole, loosely sketching the shapes and colour blocking out the different areas, before concentrating on the finer details e.g. working in a feathered texture or leaf details.
Once sketched up, I scanned the drawing into Photoshop and started laying down block colours and working out which composition looked best.
The most important part of creating a pattern is ensuring that it runs seamlessly across the textile it is being printed onto. This involves creating a ‘tile’ of illustration, then moving this from left to right, top to bottom, sometimes drawing in another leaf or vine to create a seamless join and thus making the pattern.
The pattern was then sent for printing onto material selected by the design team. Choosing the material is important and requires testing a few different options, as some show the vibrancy of the colours more than others, which is why we went with satin.
For the embroidered flat, Waterloo, I took a piece of the pattern and measured out where it would fit, then aligned it on the shoe and vectorised it (the process of turning a drawing into shapes an embroidery machine can recognize) and sent it for embroidery onto the shoe.
All of this takes a lot of finessing and back and forth to get it just right!
How do you want the customer to feel when they put on a pair of shoes from the collection?
I love the idea of a woman who is quite eclectic with her style and wants to try something new – perhaps she errs more towards kitschy style – and that this collection satisfies that intrigue in some people. I like the idea that it might also encourage people who aren’t so comfortable dressing like that, to come out of their shell. This is one of the reasons we laid the pattern on a background of black satin – whether you want to wear this as a statement piece with perhaps a forest green trench coat and a black dress or as part of an outfit that’s completely eclectic and bright.
There will be women who love this print who are quite ‘out there’ in their style, but I also want it to appeal to women who want to try something different. I like the idea of this print encouraging people to not be afraid to wear something a bit fun.
Which pair of shoes from the jungle print collection will you be wearing all summer?
My favourite style is Waterloo, the embroidered flat. I think she is really fun – I love the look and feel of embroidery, and I think she’ll be great for running around in all summer.
How did you become an illustrator?
Illustration has always been a big part of my design style. I started my career in publication design, working in magazines. I integrated illustration into my work, right from the beginning of my design career so even when I was working for magazines such as Girlfriend, I drew over fashion shoots, did all of the drawings for the horoscopes section and enjoyed including it as much as possible. I was also illustrating in a freelance capacity in my spare time and I guess it just progressed from there. It’s one of my favourite things about my career. I love being a designer/illustrator, someone who gets to play with patterns and colour palettes, drawing things from scratch. I like the way that as an illustrator you can create something from nothing, you don’t need any other elements – you’re just creating it from an idea or inspiration. Even when I was a kid, I was always drawing on walls, my mum ended up making my walls giant chalkboards – she really encouraged that in me. Now, illustrating is complete escapism for me, like a form of meditation– I can be drawing something then look up and four or five hours has passed without me even noticing!
If you were banished to a remote jungle, which three items would you take with you?
1) My two dogs to protect me from angry jungle-dwellers such as the notorious Capuchin monkey! They would also provide warmth and hunting skills.
2) A never ending supply of platter nibbles.
3) A phone with a battery that never dies so I can listen to endless podcasts!
Which is your spirit animal?
A flamingo! Because they’re brightly coloured and a bit out of the ordinary, but they seem to really like doing their own thing. I can be out there, I can be bright, I can be the thing you’re staring at …. But then I like to go home and listen to my podcasts, paint, watch a good documentary, and have some downtime. I think that’s a nice mixture and I think that’s why my spirit animal is definitely a flamingo.