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Who is Fashion Cartoonist?

Have you ever wondered what was it like for your favorite fashion figures growing up? Like, what kind of childhood they had that led them to what they are now? Do they already showed potential to be in the cutthroat industry of fashion at a young age?

Last year, The Business of Fashion brought us the first installment of their Fashion Funnies column called “When They Were Kids,” a cartoon series depicting fashion figures as children that gives us both a laugh and an idea what was it like for them growing up. If it is fictional or not, that I am not sure.

Jean Paul Gaultier by the Fashion Cartoonist - When They Were Young

The series, which is still ongoing both in BoF and the creator’s own blog which is also called When They Wear Kids, has become so popular it has been featured in several magazines and blogs worldwide. Although the series is very popular, its creator is still a big mystery who hides by the name “Fashion Cartoonist.” All I know for sure is he/she lives around the United Kingdom, probably London because her/his blog’s former domain ends with “.co.uk”

But of course, I want to know more! That is why last September, I crossed my fingers and emailed Fashion Cartoonist for a feature in Style Vanity, to shed us some light of her/his identity and what was the idea why did he/she started When They Were Kids. Luckily, Fashion Cartoonist agreed. [Note: The transcript below has been edited and condensed.]

“If I ever get in trouble you’ll sure find out!” –Fashion Cartoonist

“There is no doubt that there are 4 fashion Capitals in the world: I was born in one of those and live in another one. I will let you guess which ones! So I can say I’m lucky to have easy access to one of the best fashion and art scenes. I do work in fashion, but – contrary to what you may think – I am not fashion-obsessed.

One of the things I enjoy the most is a great laugh! I always loved to tell funny stories and make my friends laugh. I realized a long time ago that cartoons are a great means to do that: in school I was famous for drawing caricatures of all my schoolmates and teachers (and sometimes getting in trouble for it…)! So I still do it, for fun, portraying the industry I work in. If I ever get in trouble you’ll sure find out!

My blog is, in its own way, a tribute to the extraordinary personalities that populate the fashion world.

There are many fashion illustrators that I admire for their elegant and unique style, like Richard Haines for example. I am also a big fun of the humor of old school cartoons like The Peanuts, or Dilbert, and almost anything published by The New Yorker.

I started When They Were Kids more than a year ago. One day I was browsing in a bookshop where the Kids Section was for some reason right next to the Fashion Section… The idea just presented itself. Within minutes I had thought of the first ten cartoons and I had to stop and write down all the ideas before I forgot them. I now always carry a small sketchbook to jot down any idea the moment it strikes me.

My blog is, in its own way, a tribute to the extraordinary personalities that populate the fashion world. I believe that, while fashion is definitely a very important and serious business, sometimes we take it too seriously: my cartoons put fun, irony and humor back into it!

I keep up to date on recent fashion news, and the ideas for the jokes and the situations depicted in the cartoons kind of appear in my mind! Sometimes they are immediately clear, sometimes they are more elusive and I need to try and try until they work. To create the actual characters, I look at images of the person I want to draw and try to imagine what he or she may have looked like as a kid. Sometimes it’s easy, as I actually know some of them very well! Other times I work on several sketches until I feel I got it right. Some of them, I am still trying…

Anna Wintour by the Fashion Cartoonist - When They Were Young

I start with a simple handmade sketch and then refine it and color it on the computer with PhotoShop. I am trying to experiment sketching directly on a tablet, but so far I still prefer to start from paper and pencil.

I particularly love the ones with little Anna: from the frequency she appears in the blog, I guess you can see I like drawing her! But my favorite one always changes and tends to be… my last one… Still, one of my preferred ones is this one with little Andre:

Andre Leon Talley by Fashion Cartoonist - When They Were Young

It is a blast to have so many people enjoying my drawings all over the world. It is really incredible! I’ve had magazines and blogs from almost 30 different countries writing about When They Were Kids! I love when some of the characters depicted in my cartoons reach out to tell me that I hit the spot and they totally recognized themselves. Sometimes I also have my own private joke thinking that some of them actually know me, while they have no idea who’s behind the blog… 😉 As for keeping myself busy, my “day job” does that quite well! Finding the time to work on my drawings is often a challenge…

[My advice to aspiring illustrators] Choose to illustrate something you know well and are passionate about. That is the best guarantee that you will not run out of ideas.”

-as told to Alyssa Martinez last September 9, 2014 via email.

The identity of the Fashion Cartoonist will remain a secret, indefinitely, but at least this feature shed us some light about his/her’s personality. While we wait if Fashion Cartoonist will ever reveal her/his identity, you can visit When They Were Kids blog for some laugh on your downtime.

*All Photos from Fashion Cartoonist via WhenTheyWereKids.com