You’re Not Dreaming: ModCloth Teams Up with Paperfashion

Katie Rodgers of Paperfashion
All photos courtesy of Katie Rodgers.

After stitching together our new customer art-inspired stylebook, Fashion From the ‘Art,’ we couldn’t resist bringing a touch of collaborative whimsy to our shopping pages as well! Finding fun and helpful ways to demonstrate the scale of our bags is always on our minds, so we teamed up with fashion illustrator Katie Rodgers of Paperfashion to create watercolor “models” for our bags section. Information has never looked so pretty.

Paperfashion for ModCloth
Katie’s work in action for this Betsey Johnson handbag.

Before we parted ways, we asked Katie to dish on the creative process behind this collab and her artwork in general, and got a color-packed virtual tour of where all her fantastical illustrations come to life.

Storytime! How did Paperfashion come to be? 
I started Paperfashion on a whim after getting my first job out of college. I’d hide away in my room after work and sketch for hours, and one day decided it’d be fun to post them on a blog. I had no idea what I was doing, or where it would take me. Three and a half years later, it’s now my full-time job.

Tell us a bit about what the process for this collab was like on your end.
When I begin illustrations, I start by finding and sketching poses that will work well (sometimes I find them here). Once I have the poses down, I sketch their clothing and accessories, and then add a fitting hairstyle and face. The hairstyle and face can completely change the personality of the illustration (as it can it real life too!). Once the sketch is finalized, I add some color. Of course, there can be multiple rounds of this until it’s right! Then I scan my illustrations and clean up the backgrounds in Photoshop… and voilá!

Katie Rodgers of Paperfashion's Workspace

What drew you to illustration and watercolor?
My aunt gave me my first set of watercolors in elementary school, and I’ve been hooked ever since. It wasn’t even a question. I’ve just always enjoyed the way watercolors work.

I love working with a simple palette of colors to create something on a blank piece of paper. I’ve always been drawn to fashion illustration… ever since I can remember I’ve been painting and sketching ladies in gowns. Fashion is visually stimulating to me.

Katie Rodgers of Paperfashion's Workspace

Where do you pull ideas and inspiration from?
Ideas come from anywhere and everywhere! Internet wise, I find tons of inspiration on Pinterest and blogs. I go back through my pins daily to look for new sources of inspiration. Away from that, I find travel to be very inspiring. Whether it’s a trip to a foreign place, or just out my front door, getting out is something that always refreshes my mind and inspires new ideas.

Katie Rodgers of Paperfashion's Workspace

At ModCloth, we’re forever dreaming up narratives for the clothes we carry. The ladies in your work feel so nuanced, and there’s often a lovely, caught-in-a-moment quality to their poses and expressions — we’ve always wondered, do you sketch them with secret little storylines or character plots in mind?
Definitely! Some of my best sketches are inspired by music. When I put on the right music to go with the mood of the drawing, my mind wanders off and creates a whole world around the character in my sketch. I was watching the live stream of this year’s Met Gala, with the perfect music, and created an entire scene in my head around this girl arriving late… and it’s still one of my favorite sketches to date. I love when I look back at a sketch and remember what I was thinking, and how I felt while I drew it.

Katie Rodgers of Paperfashion's Workspace

Katie Rodgers of Paperfashion's Workspace

What fuels you through the work process? 
Music and coffee! Always.

Any fun facts about each illustration or about this project in general?
Ha! Well, it’s a shame when you drip coffee on your illustrations… thank goodness for Photoshop!

Get more Katie and fashion illustration goodness on her blog, Paperfashion, or discover more of her artwork by browsing our bags category!


About ModCloth

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  1. Avatar
    Vasil (ModCloth) 08/08/2012 at 2:11 pm #

    Stunning job, Katie! I am a huge fan of your work and so happy with our collaboration!

  2. Avatar
    Ebelin 08/08/2012 at 9:57 pm #

    wow! beautiful stuff! and i love the fact that we can get a feel for the scale of a bag/purse, and enjoy a nice work of art:) very whimsical indeed modcloth!

  3. Avatar
    Alex K 08/09/2012 at 4:17 am #

    Really cool stuff! Way to keep your merchandising fresh modcloth! This is why I love you!!!

  4. Avatar
    Eliza 08/09/2012 at 5:23 am #

    What a pretty place to work!

  5. Avatar
    Alice Stribling 08/09/2012 at 2:51 pm #

    Thank you for collaborating with Paperfashion. I’m now thoroughly in love with her illustrations.

  6. Avatar
    Hannah 08/15/2012 at 2:50 am #

    Love everything about this! Pleasantly surprised to see that her room is the picture that inspired what my dorm room will look like, including fashion illustrations and colorful tape.
    Now it’s even cooler knowing where it came from. And I LOVE the idea behind the sketches. I always have difficulty judging the size of a bag.

  7. Avatar
    Jen 09/08/2012 at 4:34 pm #

    I love the sketched models; the artist is definitely talented – but I’ve found that they’re EXTREMELY inaccurate in representing the size of a bag against the size of the bag. ModCloth used to have photos of actual humans holding the bag/wearing it, which is far more accurate.

    Every purse I’ve seen since ModCloth made the change look about the same size in the sketch model’s hand even though the measurements are drastically different. I wish they would actually use the bag images to scale.

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