Lauren Tamaki is an illustrator and graphic designer in her final year of study at Alberta College of Art and Design. Lauren has a degree in Fashion Design from Ryerson University and has interned at Mulberry, Pink Tartan and Jeremy Laing. She has worked in the wardrobe of The National Ballet of Canada and is thrilled to be creating contemporary costumes for Lucy Lost Her Heart. Lauren hopes to continue working as a freelance illustrator and designer after graduation and has clients that include Murale, GOOD magazine and Swerve Magazine. She also had the privilege of creating the identity and designing campaign materials for the Theatre Junction GRAND 10/11 season.
CF: What is your idea of fashion?
L: Essentially it is this fluid, evolving form of expression. There is so much amazing work being done but there is also a ton of fashion being made that adds nothing to the dialogue. I have a bit of a love/hate relationship with it.
CF: How do you define your personal style?
L: It is always changing. I’ve gone through many phases and it honestly changes from day to day. I think the only things that have remained consistent through the years have been leopard print and sequins. Right now I am trying to channel British 80’s “New Wave” boys half the time and 70’s party girls the other half of the time. Winter in Calgary is hindering my personal style at the moment!
CF: Do you think that your roots, whether through your heritage or from places you have lived or have been to, have helped to evolve your style?
L: Living in Toronto and London in my early 20’s still leads me to experiment a lot with my look. Being young and living in big, crazy cities instilled this spirit of just messing around within me. Why not throw on this with that? Who cares? If people judge you its because they are boring!
CF: How do you think your current creative environment influences your style?
L: In ACAD, I can pretty much guarantee I’ll never be the weirdest-looking chick so I tend to dress a bit stranger when I’m in school.
CF: As an artist, do you feel that your style expresses yourself, more or less like a piece of your work would?
L: They are completely different forms of expression. I interact with a lot of people day-to-day that have no idea (or interest, probably) that I’m an illustrator/designer and will never see my work, but they do see what I’m wearing and size me up accordingly.
CF: Are there certain colors, patterns, or pieces in fashion that particularly inspire you for your illustrations and designs?
L: I love vibrant, pop colors – super-saturated pinks, oranges and blues work their way into my work quite a bit. Many people in my illustrations end up wearing men’s tailored button-ups and oxfords, two items of clothing I’m really obsessed with.
CF: How would you relate your own style and fashion to your work?
L: I love loud images and loud clothing, I suppose. Sometimes I draw something to amuse myself (and only myself) and I dress that way as well.
CF: Similar to the effects of various artwork, do you feel that an outfit can have the same quality of captivating an audience? Why?
L: I think they are different. A lot of a great outfit has to do with your confidence – it’s more about the person inside the amazing clothes. A beautiful piece of art has a lot to do with the person who creates it but you may not know who made it or what they look like. It also doesn’t matter most of the time.
CF: If any, who is your inspiration when it comes to style?
L: I love anyone who dresses like they do not give a shit. Crazy old ladies and drag queens put together some incredible outfits! They are out to please themselves with what they wear and that is really appealing to me.
CF: If you have one, which designer is your current favorite?
L: I love Dries Van Noten, Raf Simons who designs for Jil Sander, Rei Kawakubo, Junya Watanabe… My all time favorite will always be Alexander McQueen. He has inspired all of my work since I was old enough to know what fashion was.
CF: Where is your favorite place to shop?
L: There is nothing like a good second-hand store. I hit up Value Village in the south whenever I can. When I lived in Toronto, Cabaret and House of Vintage were two stores I couldn’t get enough of. I love Gravity Pope as well, which is one of the best shoe stores I’ve been in, anywhere.
CF: What is your favorite trend right now?
L: The Spring 2011 shows had insane, clashing colors –Jil Sander sent out incredible color-blocked dresses and jackets that I hope trickle down to stores that I can actually afford! I’m also in love with girls dressing like schoolboys, which seems to be a trend enduring over the past few seasons.
CF: What trend would you particularly like to see take flight?
L: Whenever I see people subverting their ‘gender’ through their clothes it makes me very, very happy. More of that please!
CF: Do you have a personal trend that you would love to ‘set’?
L: Everyone in sequins! It seriously changes your outlook when you reflect all the light in the room. It would for sure improve everyone’s shitty winter moods.
CF: From platform sneakers to crocs, what is a trend or fad you had in the past that you regret now?
L: A friend said to me the other day, “We will definitely look at pictures of ourselves from this year and regret it when we’re older.” I’ve done a half-assed grunge thing, worn Sorels in the middle of the summer with skirts… lots of dumb stuff. I regret nothing! It’s all a learning process.
CF: What is your signature piece or look?
L: I suppose I am seen in leopard print a lot. I wear a ton of plaid button-ups as well… I don’t have a signature look yet – I’m hoping to nail it someday soon.
CF: What is a fashion staple in your wardrobe?
L: Gray. Gray wool, gray jersey, and gray silk… I know it’s contrary to what I was saying about loving bright colors but gray really sets off a fuchsia or cobalt blue piece like nothing else.
CF: What do you enjoy most about design/fashion?
L: The fact that it keeps evolving – fashion has an insatiable curiosity.
CF: What is the best fashion advice that you have been given and from whom?
L: Okay, it’s not specifically about fashion but I kind of like to live by this quote from the 1958 film Auntie Mame: “Life’s a banquet and most poor suckers are starving to death!” It’s pretty depressing to dress to ‘correct’ things about your body or be scared of looking foolish. Just wear what you want and let others feast their eyes!
CF: Where do you see fashion going in terms of being used as a tool for those in the creative industry?
L: I can only speak from my own experience in the creative industries of graphic design and illustration. In my design classes, fashion is used as a reference point in branding (everything from wine to pencil crayons). In my illustration classes, I research vintage fashion illustrators because they are insanely inspiring. It’s the fantasy element of fashion that makes it a fascinating tool to explore – and exploit. For better or worse, there’s nothing else like it.
For more on Lauren Tamaki please visit:http://laurentamaki.com