Joseph Larkowsky, a fashion illustrator based in London, is currently studying at London College of Fashion. Ever developing his already distinctive style of drawing, he is subsequently establishing a prominent place within the fashion industry very early on in his career.
In a quick interview, I attempted to learn a bit more about the way he works; touching on his life as a fashion student and how his love of fashion influences the work he does...
EF: A slightly obvious question but one that must be asked! Who are your favourite fashion designers?
JL: I love a lot of different people. I'm more of a collections freak... I love Givenchy (most of it!), but I'm also a huge fan of designers like Michael Kors and Giorgio Armani. I would love to create a "lifestyle" like they have. It's more than just fashion, it's a way of choosing how you live your life!
EF: Who's your least favourite designer? Don't be afraid to get bitchy!
JL: I don't really understand brands like Blumarine, I think it's just tacky and over-styled. I'm a big fan of embroidery and detail, but sometimes you can just have too much "stuff" and not enough purpose... I have the same attitude towards many other designers.
EF: Who first inspired you to work as a fashion illustrator? Do you admire others such as Hayden Williams or David Downton? Or simply see them as healthy competition?
JL: I never really wanted to be an illustrator, I still don't particularly want to wake up everyday and just draw. I love fashion, I would dive headfirst into the industry and never come up for air if I could... But I see drawing as an alternative way to get my foot in the door, and people do seem to like what I'm doing!
Dior S/S Couture 2007
EF: When did you first realise you could earn a living through use of your talent/love of fashion?
JL: At the risk of sounding cliché, it's all I can remember. I am pretty obsessed! But you have to be, you have to constantly gain and expand your knowledge to succeed in such an influential industry, one that can take your life away. If it isn't your life in the first place (your career path or interest). I am always researching, scanning, reading, ogling at Elie Saab dresses online or just drooling over Givenchy bags in Liberty. It has to be something you enjoy, otherwise you will burn out extremely quickly in such a fast paced industry.
EF: Is there a particular fashion item you regret not buying? Something that you're really gutted you didn't splash the cash at?
JL: Although many of my friends hate it, I LOVED the Givenchy S/S 2012 Sharktooth necklace. I wish I had snapped up that one. I recently purchased a Haider Ackermann jacket which I love; there was also a Givenchy bright red tail-coat from F/W 2010 which I must have tried on a million times in Selfridges (but it was about £6,000!!).
Alexander McQueen F/W 2011
EF: Name a fashion item you feel you've overworn?
JL: I live in black skintight leggings and chelsea boots, it's like my uniform. I have 16 pairs of the same black jeggings haha, it's an item I just love, and I know they suit me!
EF: Last thing you bought (fashion/beauty/miscellaneous)?
JL: I bought two matching silver cuffs yesterday, because I admittedly have a little bit of a Superhero-esque idea about wearing them over shirt cuffs, also a YSL Touché Eclat.
EF: Is there a past fashion collection that you just couldn't wait to start drawing?
JL: When I interned at McQueen (under new Creative Director, Sarah Burton), I worked on the brand's Pre-Spring 2012 collection. There was a beautiful gold bullion skirt suit and dress in the show which I just knew I had to draw. I usually simply remember great collections at random times, and make a little note on my hand. Fashion is so fast and immediate, it's nice to get flashbacks.
Erdem S/S 2011
EF: Being a fashion student myself, I find it extremely hard to work in silence, it's pure torture! Are you the same? Is there a particular album/artist you're working to at the moment?/TV program you need on in the background in order to focus?
JL: I don't have a TV, so I usually just listen to music. I love Austra, Kimbra and Claire Maguire, but recently fell in love with Emili Sande. My music taste is quite varied though, from Beyonce to Steps, to CocoRosie, The Waterboys and classical music. I just love music!
EF: I see on your website (clearly have done my research) that you've worked with quite a few impressive companies, are there any you can't wait to work with again, or any you'd love to work with in the future?
JL: I would love to just work with millions of people, getting my work out and about is the main thing. I would like to maybe work with a really big brand like Chanel, have my sketches seen around the world... But I also like doing little commissions for friends!
Marchesa S/S 2012
EF: 5 celebrities/designers you'd invite to a dinner party (dead/alive)? Reasons for choosing them?
JL: Victoria Beckham, she would have to come! I really admire her for just being the worlds best brand ambassador. Emma Stone, Kristen Wigg and Tina Fey - these three women would be hilarious, I love each of them for their amazing comedy acting and they just seem so friendly. I should probably have a man come too! Hamish Bowle - I think he is witty and comes out with the bitchiest one liners, plus he would give us all a run for our money! And all carried out in a fabulously outlandish suit.
EF: As you've previously studied at LCF (London College of Fashion), do you have any advice for fashion students of any sort on how to cope with student life? How has your experience been?
JL: Explore, see, walk, do, go. Don't sit at home. It's raining, so what.. get wet! Run around! I don't like student life, it's pretty mundane; however, if you live in such a large city as London, you have to go out and make it your own. I find there is nothing worse than someone saying "I'm bored" and doing nothing about it. London especially has a million things to do, so just get out there and watch exciting things take place around you, watch the world go by.
Givenchy Couture F/W 2011
EF: And lastly, what's your favourite part of London? & list 3 of your favourite shops/restaurants/cafes?
JL: I love the Thames, on foot, by bus... even on the tube, I just feel like screaming "THIS IS MY HOME" whenever I'm near it! It's scary to think how many people there are around you, when looking at London from the Thames Southbank. You can't see them and they can't see you, but they are there.
1. Busaba (Covent Garden, Old Street, Soho): The one in Covent garden is the best! Beautiful Thai food and amazing atmosphere. Get the Calamari - it's INSANE.
2. New Row Coffee (New Row, Covent Garden): I love these guys, it's great coffee, from great people and just a lovely atmosphere. I always get a real "living the life" moment whenever I go.
3. Momo's (Heddon St, Regents St): In a phrase, Moroccan madness. I love it, it's just so beautiful (plus Tilda Swinton eats there). It's £££, but really worth a trip! The "Gastronomic Journey Through North Africa" is also preeeetty insane!!
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-CLICK HERE TO LIKE J.LARKOWSKY ILLUSTRATIONS ON FACEBOOK-
And a huge thank you to Joseph for letting me interview him! The first of a series for this blog I hope!
All images used are copyrighted to Joseph and were used after asking for permission.