On our radar: Miss Magpie Fashion Spy

by Cass Art

Niki Groom's style of illustration is incomparable to anything else we've seen, yet at the same time fits perfectly with current styling and trends. Miss Magpie Fashion Spy is the company name and having collaborated on projects with Glamour, River Island, Grazia and BBC Radio 1 to name but a few, Niki is showing the fashion industry her incredible talent is here to stay. With London Fashion Week at a close, we chat to Niki about the creative process behind fashion illustration and the technique she's developed in her work.

How did you get into the world of fashion, illustration and style?

I’ve always loved drawing and doodling and so it was a given that somehow I’d carve a job out of it. I did a degree in Fashion Design at Manchester and have balanced commercial fashion design work alongside illustration work ever since.

My first published artwork was a commission for Australian Vogue, and was a result of a chance meeting with someone on a bus in Sydney! You never know who you are going to meet where…so I always keep a sketchbook and a card to hand.

What is your creative process like? Your illustrations seem very fluid and natural - can this be difficult to achieve?

My style is a result of hours and hours of drawing. I’ve finally found a process that suits me after years of trying to imitate other people. My best work is done quickly…if I draw slowly and carefully it can lack magic.

I love illustrating at events, or publishing ongoing work on Instagram….I get a great buzz from this and the work seems to benefit from it.

What are your favourite techniques and materials to use?

I used to use ink, watercolour and pencil….but have since moved to Letraset markers. They are great because I’m often on the move when I’m illustrating and so there’s no huge set up or time needed for them to dry.

I work with a mechanical pencil first, then marker, then fine liner, then thick black outline.

How do you prepare for London Fashion Week?

All I do is buy a big piece of paper, new pens and download the show schedules! Then I just follow all my favourites on Instagram and twitter and react to what I’m seeing on one big piece of paper.

What would your advice be for budding designers and illustrators?

Work hard, be professional and stay down to earth.

What's coming up in the future for Miss Magpie Fashion Spy? Have you ever been tempted to design your own fashion line?

I design ranges for High Street companies, but would love to do a range of illustrated pieces preferably in silk. I’m investigating this at the moment so watch this space!

I’m also working on new pieces to add to my section of limited edition prints that are for sale on my website www.missmagpiefashionspy.com as well as opening up to non-fashion commissions.

See some of my work here for Fair Trade company Ock Pop Tok that I visited when I was in Laos this year: http://www.ockpoptok.com/blog/five-tips-for-designers-visiting-luang-prabang/.

Miss Magpie can be found on her site, keep track of her latest sketches on her Instagram, Facebook and Twitter too.

Back to blog