Fashion illustrator and Delaware resident, Dallas Shaw, kicks off her tour for her new book, The Way She Wears It, tonight at Skirt in Bryn Mawr from 5-7pm. She’ll be signing books and, just maybe, giving a styling tip or two. We recently chatted with Shaw about her fabulous career, her book and why she wants Gucci to call her.
Main Line Today: Your Instagram tagline is “I draw pretty things for pretty people.” It sounds like a dream career. Explain to us what this really means.
Dallas Shaw: I’m a fashion illustrator, which means I help designers bring their clothes to life with those long, leggy drawings. At this point, I mostly do large marketing campaigns only because the work is very branded. On the back end for brands I do visual consulting for product launches. I’m telling them what looks good and what doesn’t and why I relate to it as their target market.
MLT: It seems like you’re traveling all the time.
DS: All the time. I’m kind of a very stylish vagabond. My clients are mostly New York, however we do events with them all across the world. I’m working with a lot of travel companies so we’re everywhere. It’s pretty non-stop. Next week we start on a two-month book tour.
MLT: You’ve worked with so many of the industry’s most coveted brands: Chanel, Christian Louboutin, Ralph Lauren, Kate Spade, Donna Karan—to name just a few. Is there still a brand left on your wish list to work with?
DS: I’ve really worked with everybody on my wish list. When I first started I thought if I could work with Chanel that would be everything. And then in year two I worked with Chanel. So I’ve really gotten to work with almost everybody. I still haven’t worked with Gucci and I’d really, really like to. I guess Gucci is my next target.
MLT: Ok, well if someone from Gucci is reading this, please give Dallas a call.
DS: (laughing) Yes, call me! Will work for shoes.
MLT: It may be an impossible question, but can you pick a favorite project you’ve done so far?
DS: I definitely can’t pick a favorite. The book has been one favorite, because it’s been the most challenging. I wrote it and did all the drawings and the styling for it all with the deadlines of one regular author. It was such an insane challenge. It was so out of the box for me. I definitely loved working on the Glossybox Oscar de la Renta project. I got to design my own beauty subscription box and with that came a sponsorship from Oscar de la Renta and I got to essentially play dress up in his clothes in his office with him and the team for a few days for an amazing magazine shoot. I was wearing dresses that weren’t even finished yet by, in my opinion, the master. They had me laced and pinned into them because they weren’t done. It was a really beautiful experience with someone I admired so much. That was definitely one of my faves.
MLT: We must know, is your life as fabulous as it appears to be on Instagram?
DS: (laughing) Here’s the thing…it’s pretty fabulous. I’m one of the few people who do not schedule Instagram. So what you’re seeing is real time. Insta-stories are a combination of really pretty things and really silly things. There’s a lot of not glam that goes into my life like early mornings and late nights. It’s pretty non-stop with the travel. Even in the most not-glam situations we’re working on things that are unreal. I never take that for granted.
MLT: How did the opportunity to write a book come to be?
DS: I illustrated a book five or six years ago that did really well for a Glamour editor. I was just the illustrator. The agent for that book said you have to do your own book. At that point I didn’t feel like my following was strong enough. I didn’t think I had an idea that was strong enough. The timing just wasn’t right. Two years ago she emailed me and said this is the year. And I said you’re right, it’s definitely time. We decided to make it happen and I knew I had an idea that was really solid.
MLT: Tell us about the concept of the book.
DS: It is a guide to finding your own personal style. It’s a combination of illustrations and products and little daily style prompts to get you to have a renewed interest in your clothes.
MLT: Do you have a number one style tip?
DS: There’s not necessarily one tip. I always tell people to just wear what they like and to stop following all these rules and mix things up a little bit. If you’re not comfortable and confident in your clothes it doesn’t matter. This book is about figuring it out for yourself so you can have style confidence. That’s what it’s all about. If you feel good in it you’re going to look good in it. That’s my biggest tip. Worry less about the traditional rules.
MLT: What’s next for Dallas Shaw?
DS: We’re flirting with the idea of a product line. I think that’s going to be next. I think the book tour will take us on some new adventures so I want to stay open to new opportunities.