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dream.create.inspire: dallas shaw; fashion illustrator

February 4, 2013


i am so very excited to introduce you to dallas shaw! she is an amazzzzing fashion illustrator for much of the industries top brands. you may recognize one big one – she was the DKNY Pr girl. she has a great focus for what she does, + offers some great insight into staying committed to what you love. i hope you enjoy the interview as much as i did! to see more from dallas, here are her sites. oh! and check out her newly launched site style files tv! it is all things for girls!

website  blog  pinterest @dallasshaw instagram

see some of her work below:

what was your childhood dream?

My childhood dream was to work for Walt Disney as an artist, animator or imagineer. I wrote to the head animator in grade school and asked him to hire me. He admired a sixth grader with such drive and ended up acting as a mentor for me throughout my education.  I actually worked for Walt Disney right out of college before I got into the fashion industry. I love the company- not a lot of people know that but, they have always been a large part of my life.

your dailies (job)

I am an artist specializing in fashion illustrations for large fashion houses  (Chanel, DKNY, Ralph Lauren, Kate Spade…). I also do commissioned pieces for individuals. In addition to that, I’m an online style expert. I share my personal style favorites on social media sites, with publications and on filmed tv segments.

what is your favorite thing about your job?

I have a list of favorite things about my job. It never really feels like work which is a blessing. I do what I love and I am lucky enough to be in a position where I can surround myself with the projects, people and companies that I believe in and that I enjoy working with.

how did you come about to do what you do?

I was living in FL and realized that wanted to work in fashion, but I didn’t know how to make that happen without any support and/or contacts in the industry so I used the talents that I already had and created my own business. I designed and branded my work and my sites to meet the needs of a very specific groups of fashionistas while  making sure it heavily reflected my own personal style.

favorite quote(s)

Beware of artists. They mix with all classes of society and are therefore most dangerous.” – Queen Victoria.

favorite flower

cabbage roses

how do you stay motivated daily?

My job is unique in that I constantly find myself surrounded by beautiful things ( I attend fashion shows, press previews, events ) and when I am not doing those things I am searching for really unique brands and websites online so it’s not difficult to keep motivated when you are surrounded by really lovely things. I did not grow up in the industry and don’t know that I’ll ever be jaded by the amazing things I find myself surrounded by.

how did you get your start?

I took on every job I possibly could. I tried my hand at everything and of course did many jobs pro bono in order to prove my talents. I vowed to try to get experience and share my work wherever I could. In doing that I learned what I enjoyed doing most, what I didn’t enjoy and what I simply wouldn’t do. Getting started took years but in hindsight, every experience I had in those beginning years was a learning experience.

toughest challenge(s) upon working towards your dream?

There are numerous challenges you take on, which is most likely what deters people from trying to work toward their dream or makes them give up at some point.  You need to devote hours upon hours of your time, it’s costly, there is a lot of rejection – and you take all of that on while comparing yourself to others who you view as more successful.

how did you work through that challenge?

Honestly, I just kept at it. I have always been one of those people who has that drive built in, so while certain days were frustrating- I would usually take a day to regroup and just get back at it.

suggestions on the best way to pitch your work to companies?

 It’s actually very different for every person, what works for one person may not work for someone else.  I just tried everything. Ad space, postcards, press kits, agents, reps… For me personally word of mouth worked best. Work hard and do an amazing job for one company and they are sure to share you.

how did you get your first break?

I have been doing this for a long time, but getting signed to do the DKNY pr girl project ( currently on twitter and tumblr) was a big opportunity for me. I had worked with a number of companies before them, but they were the first brand to introduce my name to a large fashion audience. I am lucky to have added them as a client, and also lucky to call Aliza a friend.

how many times have you heard no?

Too many to count.

often times hearing “no” can be very demotivating, how have you turned “no’s” into “yes’s” or find the silver lining? 

There isn’t really a way to sugar coat it. When you are starting and you hear “no” it’s a terrible feeling.No” 4-5 years ago for me are much different from “no” now. Years ago I was seeking work so the word “no” stung at that time. Now, I am the one saying no if the project doesn’t fit our brand or it I am over booked with drawings. For the most part you just have to shake off the “no”, but after a certain number of “no’s” you should absolutely reflect on what you can be doing better. In art and design you can’t overthink or dwell on a “no” because the truth is that it doesn’t make you any less talented, it’s only a no b/c it’s not what a company needs at that time. The only thing you can do is stay on their radar. Eventually they may need you.

i find it very important to recognize your accomplishments, while you set new goals to have a sense of achievement. list your favorite accomplishment this year?

This was an amazing year for me. I worked with Anthropologie to represent their petites line, which was fun for me since I love their brand. The 31Bits campaign was another highlight. I got to be the face of a campaign that I really believe in. It was special to me to have the opportunity to endorse a product I love in that way. The illustrations were incorporated as well. I love what the company stands for and made some amazing friends while working on it. It was a project I won’t forget.

balancing free services vs paid while building your business.

This is tricky. I think you need to make sure you know your worth and stay away from free work…most of the time. Your time is worth money and if you don’t believe it you simply won’t have a business, but I do think every now and then we all bend and offer free services. My best advice is to choose wisely if you are going to offer a service for free. Helping a friend out, or a charity is one thing but remember you’ve got to pay the bills.

what is the one thing that has given your company a big boost?

Social media. My online following is made up of amazingly stylish women and supportive friends. Throughout the years this group of strangers has become a massive support system in my life and I don’t think I’d be doing what I do if it weren’t for those people.

as we grow + learn more about ourselves, evolution may be necessary. how do your dreams evolve as you do?

My job changes daily and I know it will always continue to change. I work for myself so if I decide I don’t like a project any longer I can drop it. If I decide I want to try something new, I will. I’ll always do what makes me happiest, and then design my job to fit whatever that may be.

when do you know when it’s time to let go of a goal and move on to another?

When it’s exhausting. My general rule in life is you do something until it’s not fun anymore.

what inspires you?

Fashion, the style industry in general, and music.

creatives tend to have numerous passions, how did you hone in your focus to keep your creative self-satisfied?

When I first began I was all over the place, I wanted to do it all and had too many ideas. But I am a businesswoman and a branding geek so I knew the importance of choosing one goal at a time so you can devote your energy to making that one goal successful.

your favorite go–to books/magazines/brands that you adore?

Vogue, Elle, Harpers- you name it I read it. Stacks of magazines are everywhere in my house. I enjoy online inspiration but really like to sit down with a coffee, and turn pages every now and then. As far as brands- I like a new one everyday, which is why I started the blog.

persons you have looked up to for drive + inspiration?

My grandparents. They have a suit shop and are the most amazing tailors. They introduced me to the importance of hard work combined with fashion.

I’m constantly inspired by the creative friends in my life. I have met some amazing people in 2012 and am always looking to them for guidance as my career changes.

as a new mom myself, balancing a corporate career + a creative life; do you have any advice on how you balance it all?

Luckily many of my work friends have turned into real friends so I try to make some time for a personal life in between the work. I actually sometimes schedule time

what do you recommend for creative, budding entrepreneurs working to create their dreams?

Do something. Don’t just sit around and say “I wish I had a creative outlet ..” Instead, do something to make that happen. Contribute to a blog, start your own website, research what it would take to begin doing what you want to do and take some steps toward doing it.

thank you SO very much for helping to dream. create + inspire others.

image provided by dallas taken by trever hoehne

read prior dream.create.inspire interviews

information on this series

© christina loucks.


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