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6th February 2017 / Insiders Share / by Chia Sihan

When Imaginary Worlds Come Alive

With demands from a high-tech marketplace getting increasingly challenging, there is a real need to slow down, reflect, and literally smell the flowers to make sense of our place in the world.

In the name of romance, we asked Paris and London based pattern design studio, Forget Me Not’s director and designer, Coco, on what keeps her in love with the art of creating.

Formerly a consultant for French and Belgian emerging fashion designers and leading couture houses, the talented artist took the leap into setting up her own studio after studying the fine arts in Paris for five years. Her works are inspired by diverse and eclectic elements, from surrealism, geometric patterns, literary references from children’s’ tales and fin-de-siècle novels, to architectural influences from Bauhaus and Art Deco.

Her exuberantly whimsical illustrations have been showcased at Barcelona Fashion Week and featured in international publications, including The New York Times, Vogue US, Harper’s BAZAAR Japan, ELLE, Nylon, and Muse. 

  

TFCS: How did you transition from a communication consultant to illustrator?

Coco: I have always been a multi-tasker. I started my own company in France (www.inoui.io), specialising in art direction and installations. Since graduation, I’ve always been making illustrations and contributing to magazines. I think it’s great to have two jobs in the sense that both are different, yet complementary.

TFCS: What do you think of the relationship between art, fashion and design?

Coco: I think that nowadays, it is really easy to cross over between different disciplines as the borders between art, fashion and design are getting ever more blurry. More and more brands are collaborating with artists, for instance. Work-wise, it’s also very rewarding as it’s a chance to explore new materials and discover new techniques.

TFCS: How do trends play a part in your work?

Coco: I personally never follow trends. I think it’s not that important. The best is to keep your identity and keep exploring.

TFCS: How do you come up with new concepts for your designs?

Coco: I do a lot of different collaborations for interior design or beauty products, and it’s great to have a conversation around a new project, especially when you’re discovering new fields.

Sometimes I have a brief to follow, sometimes I am free to propose something. After the meeting, I will discuss with my team to make different proposals. It’s important to have different points of view and be very focused on the technical aspects in order to make sure you can really deliver on an idea.

TFCS: Do you see technology as boon or bane? How does the speed of demand impact your approach towards creation?

Coco: No, because I am curious to learn. It is great to see something different come out of your illustration, for instance, in the form of a digital installation. What’s more important to me is to have great results, no matter the medium.

TFCS: With e-commerce changing the way we shop and consume information, how does this impact the future of fashion or illustration?

Coco: Well, the amazing news is that small designers can now create and sell directly to consumers. For Forget-Me-Not, our customers are rewarded with exclusive or limited items via our e-boutique.

TFCS: What are your thoughts on collaborating with other designers or lifestyle-related businesses?

Coco: I love the exchange that happens around a project, especially on new items I don’t have in my own collections. I love the world of cosmetics, and it’s always nice to create new packaging for a product I am familiar and comfortable with.

TFCS: Who would you like to work with, and why?

Coco: I would love to work with Miuccia Prada. I love her vision on fashion. I’m also oddly attracted to the idea of working with major sportswear manufacturers.

I’ve been getting more interior design projects, and one of the ideas I have at the back of my mind is to work on a rug. They are such graphic items, and can really shape the entire room.

TFCS: Any advice for young artists who are looking to get a foot in the door of this industry?

Coco: Be creative and passionate. It does sound a bit cliché but to me, it’s all you really need. Being creative as in going beyond your boundaries, limits, and inspiration. Be passionate, because you need to give your all to forge your own path, while keeping an open mind.

Visit Forget Me Not Paris to see more of Coco’s works. Forget Me Not’s online shop ships internationally.

About the Writer

Chia Sihan

A story junkie by nature, this TFCS scribe thrives on uncovering the backstories of her interview subjects, whether they are heads of corporations or a working Mum caring for a child with a developmental disorder. She finds it a privilege to be privy to these personal experiences. Some of the publications she has written for include the Singapore Women’s Weekly, L’Officiel Singapore, and Harper’s Bazaar Junior. It is this genuine love for storytelling and collaboration that led her to kickstart her journey as a co-founder of The Fashion Collective Singapore. Now the chief storyteller at TFCS, she is particularly inspired by the personal journeys of TFCS Mentors, not to mention their dedication towards the refinement of their craft.

Head over to The Editor’s Journal to read articles contributed by Sihan.

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