click click – 13-03-14

click click — Danielle on March 13, 2014 at 8:25 pm

Welcome to click click, the sporadic review of what I find worth clicking on the internet.

Lanvin by Kevin Tachman

Beautiful multiple exposures of FW14 fashion shows on analog film by Kevin Tachman, featured on Vogue. Above, Lanvin. Below, Versace. Lots of links, it’s been a while.

Versace by Kevin Tachman

Karma players,

invitation – performative lecture “Silhouettes and Signals” at The Drake Hotel on March 16

drawing,events,fashion in canada,illustration,live drawing,performance art,toronto — Danielle on February 26, 2014 at 12:54 pm


After flying back from live sketching the runways of New York fashion week, I hit the ground sketching in Toronto with a series inspired by the Queen Street West style, currently installed at The Drake Hotel. It was an interesting challenge to draw three times larger than I usually do, inverting the usual value scheme by drawing on black paper, and focusing more closely on the silhouettes by reducing my palette to a single colour.

Now that live sketching fashion shows isn’t as unique as it once was, I want to stretch the skills I’ve acquired practicing this technique, combined with my speaking experiences, to create something new. In that spirit, I’m doing something different at The Drake Hotel on March 16th to kick off fashion week in Toronto.

drake 2
Images Courtesy: Bryan Da Silva/The Drake Hotel

“Silhouettes and Signals” will be a performative lecture combining live sketching on the iPad (using the Paper app) with a trend-theory lecture – sort of a Final Fashion post “in real life”. We’ll be examining various historical silhouettes and discuss identifying social attitudes through style. Sketching my way from the distant past to the 21st century, I’ll discuss how the shapes we make with our clothing are visual manifestations of ideas about sex, politics, money, youth, class, taste and other fun stuff, and even put my skin in the game with a few predictions.

drake header

What: “Silhouettes and Signals” live sketching lecture

Where: The Drake Hotel, 1150 Queen Street West, Toronto

When: March 16th, 2014 at 2pm

Admission: $10

This is the first time I’ve ever done such a thing (although my talk at Apple Soho was definitely moving in this direction), so it will be a novel opportunity for the style-curious citizens in Toronto to see an experimental performance and kick off Toronto Fashion Week in a weirder way than usual. Please come!

drake 1

Images Courtesy: Bryan Da Silva/The Drake Hotel


NYFW FW14 live runway sketching portfolio

live drawing,New York,portfolio — Danielle on February 18, 2014 at 8:32 pm

Danielle Meder - BCBGMAXAZRIA


This season was bookended by two speaking gigs. Before the shows began, I did a talk at the Apple Store in Soho, about sketching runway shows using Paper and Pencil by FiftyThree. It was my first ever proper speaking gig, and I was excited to share everything I have learned about artists at fashion shows, and doing quick sketches on a touchscreen. I also got to talk about live sketching as an emerging trend.

Georg and me at Apple Soho

2013 was the year the tide of live sketchers out there rose noticeably. Not just in fashion either; in 2014 I see people live sketching TV shows and press conferences and sporting events too. It’s a very interesting time to be an illustrator. So naturally, when I approached live sketching this season, the aim was to draw as true to myself as possible – trying to discover in myself what I can bring to fashion week sketches that no one else can bring. Also, I’m preoccupied with thinking about what’s next. Because I like being in on things from the beginning.

Danielle Meder - Carmen Marc Valvo

Carmen Marc Valvo

To me, the sketches from the first few shows I attended seem a bit more hesitant as I’m searching for this season’s vibe. I was aiming towards being wetter and more valiant with paint application, while also simplifying. I used only one brush pen per show this time – last season I sometimes used 3 pens per sketch. I did a bit less sketches per show – around 4 or 5. I also tried to give more generous margin. The result is a portfolio I’m pleased with. Danielle Meder - TOME


TOME I attended with Rachel, and it was a pleasure to bring her to a much cleaner, more tasteful production than the Herve Leger show we attended last year.

Once I’d warmed into the week, the first show I really grooved on was Son Jung Wan. This designer gave me gold lips and leather when I happened to have a gold pen on me. Plus, shaggy pastel furs. So much fun. Danielle Meder - Son Jung Wan

Son Jung Wan

This was an annoying fashion week for access. There was a sense they were trying to keep out the riff raff, and being somewhat raffish I sometimes felt among that number. There’s this new form of humiliation that certain PR companies commit on the unassuming would-be fashion week attendee. This has happened to me at least once every season at every major fashion week I’ve ever been to, but was executed particularly cruelly this season in New York, and THREE times.

Here’s how it works: you receive a confirmed invitation to a fashion show. It’s a standing ticket. You go to the venue 20 minutes before the show like a reasonable human being. They put you in a corral. Then they proceed to march everyone else past you and your fellow corral-mates. Just as the show begins, at 40 minutes after the hour, a security guard approaches the corral and says that they are at capacity and the show is started already and go home.

You can sense this villainy is about to committed upon you when even the volunteer interns look at you with pity. Some of these companies even make their corral outside in the cold, so you have the option of freezing while they waste an hour of your life, trying to shame you out of wanting to come to fashion week with these bogus invitations.

The weird thing is that I’ve spoken to friends who were on the inside of these shows and they say that the spaces weren’t even packed – that there were even unused seats.


Danielle Meder - Yigal Azrouel 2

Yigal Azrouel

Then, the exact opposite happened at Yigal Azrouel. New York Fashion Week embraces as just well as it snubs. Even though they were a bit mystified by me at the media desk (“who are you shooting for?” “No I’m sketching.” “For who?” “For you?”), one of the gatekeepers at the the show recognized me from attending my Apple talk. The venue was great, and even though I was corralled in standing, I had a perfect vantage point – head-to-toe view of the models. Sat on the floor in front of a security guard. No one stepped on me. The sketches were as ideal as the conditions, although they were slightly damaged as I attempted to get them home through a snowstorm.

Danielle Meder - Yigal Azrouel 1

Yigal Azrouel

Another show where everything came together was SKINGRAFT. Seated by People’s Revolution, (and did I detect a nod of approval from fashion hero Kelly Cutrone?) gothic streetwear attitudes on high speed. With just one colour – black – and a touch of gold, plus absolutely no time to think, the sketches were hot.

Danielle Meder - Skingraft 4Danielle Meder - Skingraft 3Danielle Meder - Skingraft 2Danielle Meder - Skingraft 1


Jenny Packham was all sparkly princesses to a 1960s counterculture soundtrack, which I enjoyed on a slightly melancholy level because I had just finished reading the oral history of EDIE. However, I was seated next to a wall of lightbulbs which was sweaty, and I was experimenting with a white pen for sparkly highlights which misbehaved on me and marked my dear innocent seatmate, Andrew Sardone of The Globe and Mail. You know what’s embarrassing? Accidentally painting your fashion editor neighbour.

Danielle Meder - Jenny Packham 1

Jenny Packham

The final two shows I sketched were Concept Korea and J. Mendel. At that point, I was already satisfied with my portfolio so I relaxed a bit. I enjoyed the shows more and allowed myself some more consideration than usual. The results are a touch more deliberately drafted.

Danielle Meder - Concept Korea 2Danielle Meder - Concept Korea 1

Concept Korea

Danielle Meder - J Mendel 2 

J. Mendel

At the end of the week, I did a talk at Parsons for a small but influential audience, thanks to Timo. The subject was my own odd career path. New York as a city often feels like you’re being shouted at: “WHO ARE YOU!? WHAT ARE YOU DOING HERE?!” So for 45 minutes I attempted to answer that booming voice. I tried to be honest.

At the Ruffian show, where I did some iPad sketches for Would You Rock This. I had the rare opportunity to sketch alongside another fashion illustrator, Lily Qian. Lily is very talented – check out what she produced after the Ruffian show here. We were talking shop a bit because I hardly ever find another fashion illustrator to talk shop with – it can be very solitary when you have an unusual job and I always have questions. When the subject of establishing a reputation and seeking recognition came up, Lily said that she felt that just doing good work was enough.

The idealistic side of me gets where she’s coming from. Then again, after seven years of doing this, I don’t think doing good work is enough. I want recognition for the good work I do. And I need to be paid. There I see many amazing fashion illustrators, going without recognition and without being compensated for their efforts , in spite of their good work. I don’t think that’s enough for them. It’s definitely not enough for me. Nothing in fashion is a straight-up meritocracy, and illustration is no exception – you also need determination and dedication, invention and hustle. In a word, you need burning ambition, and you better work.

So if success by my own measure is good work, recognition and payment, and two out of three don’t cut it, how do I achieve that trifecta? Sometimes it feels like picking this career is like picking a lock.

Videocast – Live Runway Sketching on the iPad

history,live drawing,New York,podcast — Danielle on February 13, 2014 at 6:01 pm

Screen shot 2014-02-13 at 5.32.44 PM

If you missed my talk about live runway sketching on the iPad at Apple Soho in New York, you can still attend virtually! It’s available for FREE from the iTunes store. I describe the history of artists at fashion shows, demonstrate how to use Paper and Pencil by FiftyThree to sketch runway looks fast, and discuss why live sketching is having a bonafide fashion moment now.

Heartfelt thanks to Georg Petschnigg, FiftyThree and Apple Soho for inviting me to share my love of drawing and fashion with a wider audience.

beauty sketch made with paper

click click – 03-02-14

click click — Danielle on February 3, 2014 at 3:09 pm

Welcome to click click, the sporadic review of what I find worth clicking on the internet.

rick owens 1

Rick Owens by Steven Meisel, via E.P. Cutler.

  • Ana Kinsella – when it comes to fashion-focused link roundups, Ana gives click click a run for its attention deficit disorder. Great mix of long reads and gorgeous image galleries.
  • Vogue Voices – this wonderful series of famous fashion designer interviews is surprisingly revealing. In conversation with a (silent) Sally Singer, we discover what really preoccupies their minds, whether they embrace or resist change, and how their insecurities and sensitivities inform the way they work.
  • The life of a 1930s model in Clothes Pegs by Noel Streatfeild – a fascinating review of a contemporary romance novel which happened to be written by a former model, perhaps offering a quasi-authentic glimpse on the occupation at a time when it was rarely documented. Also in the category of the rare documentary; behind-the-scenes fashion photographs from the 1960s by Henry Wolf.
  • Principles in Logo Design Pricing – this one struck close to home for me as I’ve recently walked away from a large opportunity on principle too. As a freelancer accustomed to precarity, negotiating a big deal that somehow compromises your sense of what is fair is a truly agonizing experience, and few are brave enough to share their story like this – I know I won’t. Via Anne.
  • Resources on cultural appropriation in fashion – a great primer on a complex subject written by an educator for fashion students – the demographic that needs this information the most. Two tangentially relevant links: via Timo, On Gay Male Privilege, and via Fiona Duncan, Ghetto Fabulous.
  • The Portfolio of Greg Climer: Useful Designer – Timo’s friend Greg has done a lot of intriguing inter-disciplinary projects.
  • Fabulous Fashionistas – terrible title, awesome documentary about older women with inspiring style. Via Rea. Two other takes on age – On Jane Morris and Aging and On Turning 30.

rick owens 2

Karma is real.

speaking at Apple Soho in New York on January 30

drawing,events,illustration,invitations,New York — Danielle on January 28, 2014 at 3:00 pm

yigal azrouel 1

Apple Lecture Description


Very excited to announce I’m going to be speaking at Apple SoHo in Manhattan on January 30, 2014 at 7pm. I’ll be demonstrating how to use Paper and Pencil by FiftyThree for quick figure and beauty sketches, narrating the history of artists at fashion shows, and getting trend theoretical about why live runway sketching is having its fashion moment now.

If you’re in NYC on Thursday I’d love to see you! Register to try fashion sketching on the iPad for yourself and learn everything I’ve discovered about this type of fashion illustration.

Danielle Meder by Georg Petschnigg

Photo by Georg Petschnigg for FiftyThree

click click – 08-01-14

click click — Danielle on January 8, 2014 at 12:29 pm

Welcome to click click, the sporadic review of what I find worth clicking on the internet.

From the series Mum

Photographer Nancy Newberry’s portraits of Texas teenagers and their ‘mums’ celebrate a form of modern folk art unique to American youth culture. Via Paige.

From the series Mum

Karma mums to pin on you…

  • Why did you wear that?“social commentary on love, life, fashion, and all things obnoxious.”
  • Paper Doll School“I spend as much time as I can creating art of all kinds, including my life-long hobby: paper dolls.”

2013 redux

redux — Danielle on December 30, 2013 at 11:32 am

Compared to the last couple years in Europe, I felt like maybe I had slacked in 2013, perhaps because everything seemed to come a bit easier than before. Being back in Toronto meant I was living more comfortably, and was placing more emphasis on spending time with my family and friends than working. Then I went back through the archive and was surprised to be reminded of how much I did accomplish this year.

drafting in the studio

On January 1st, 2013, I moved into a new studio. Taking all my equipment out of storage and re-installing it was a wonderful feeling. I love having a shared studio – it’s a place of constant activity, and I’m always meeting new friends working in different disciplines. It is good company and good energy. Above all, I’ve returned to drafting and sewing, and while those efforts aren’t yet focused towards any coherent goal, it feels immensely satisfying to work with my hands again.

made with paper on wwd

Being back in North America meant returning to New York Fashion Week for the first time since 2008. Times have changed a lot since then! My Fall 2013 season was a dream come true – I had access to sketch major shows on the iPad for FiftyThree, and the best results are here in the WWD on Paper portfolio. In addition to seeing my drawings in WWD, I had my picture on The New York Times website!

Screen shot 2013-02-07 at 7.25.22 PM

Back in Toronto in March, I sketched another iPad portfolio for FLARE. Here are a couple of great shots of me working on the iPad.

Danielle Meder by Raymund Galsim

The future of illustration is undoubtedly all about touchscreens – it’s a great privilege to be able to adapt my work to new media while that new media is being developed. Once again, I worked the touchscreen on Microsoft’s Fresh Paint for HP.

HP days 4

I’ve been doing live runway sketching for six years now, and it’s been a fascinating journey. This was the first year I found many clients were interested in this work, and the first year I noticed many other artists conspicuously sketching at fashion shows. It has become a bonafide trend, which means I have to raise my own bar higher. This must be how it felt for the street style photographers, although so far this is a bit more of a fool’s gold rush than an actual gold rush. It will be interesting to see how this practice develops – in the era of ubiquitous photography, people seem genuinely fascinated with more unique, skill-intensive ways of recording events.  Since not much has been written about the subject, I wrote a brief history of live runway sketching, more for my own interest than anyone else’s it seems.

jeremy laing 2

My live sketching highlights this year were many. I went backstage at NYFW for the first time at BCBGMAXAZRIA. Live sketched at Jeremy Laing, Nicole Miller, Lucian Matis, Jean-Pierre Braganza for FW13, and Ralph Rucci, J. Crew and many others for SS14. In October, I was proud to be the official sketch artist at the shOws in Toronto. Above, is my favourite sketch of the year, from Jeremy Laing FW13.

streetstyle banner

I did less trend theory writing this year than I would have liked, but there were two pieces in particular that I think are well done: the metaculture spiral and fear of fashion – the eternal moral panic. In my imagination, there is a more interesting and accessible way to write about fashion than what is available to read, but it seems like I have to write it for myself.

To that end, I mused about reinventing fashion criticism, and then I tried backing up my theory with practice  for The New Inquiry. Fashion writing for a larger, more academic and politically inclined audience was an awesome way to connect with clever minds worldwide. It made me realize that publishing on Final Fashion is a bit of a backwater, and perhaps future essays might be better placed outside the fashion blogosphere.

cat eyes

I’m also a bit obsessed with the idea of creating more satirical, visually enhanced fashion writing – I made a stab in that direction with liquid liner in this piece about eyeliner signalling.

malefigure 6male figure colour

I love that my site has become a hub for aspiring fashion illustrators, so by popular request I produced a tutorial on how to draw a male fashion figure.

video game females

One of the most interesting assignments of the year came from Jaime Woo of Gamercamp – a chance to combine trend theory and illustration in one epic post - double flawless – five female video game characters go to fashion week

holly godarkly doll web

I didn’t have the time to produce any personal paper doll projects this year but I did several for clients or as gifts – for Style Sequel, a magnet doll for my neice, Mrs. Carter for Stylist, and Holly Godarkly for Shorts that are not Pants.

Danielle Meder by Scott Schuman

Now that I’m in my thirties, I find myself more deliberately addressing my own physical appearance. Besides taking on physical exercise in a serious way for the first time in my life, I gave myself a makeover for New York Fashion Week, and it was validated when I was photographed by The Sartorialist.

chromatherapy 5

Last but far from least, I participated in two performance art projects.

In September I assisted and styled my dear friend Rachel Rabbit White for her performance for gURLfriends at Transfer Gallery in Brooklyn.

Then in October came my first ever durational performance, Chromatherapy at Nuit Blanche in Toronto. I costumed and collaborated with my dear friend Rea McNamara.

Performance art is intense, but it was also incredibly liberating to work on large projects that were wholly non-commercial endeavours, which meant that all the creative work was a genuine expression of our ideas, and what we found interesting, for its own sake. Both experiences created powerful, intense bonds of female friendship too, for which I am profoundly grateful. Offering your total commitment and energy to another artist is truly worthwhile.

lucian matis fw13


In art, as in life, there is no sense in reserving anything – just give it all you’ve got. This is the theme from 2013 that I’m taking with me into 2014. Whole-hearted thanks to everyone who has given me attention, support, and encouragement this year. See you on the other side.

click click – 09-12-13

click click — Danielle on December 9, 2013 at 1:39 pm

Welcome to click click, the sporadic review of what I find worth clicking on the internet.


A cautionary tale about profligacy, Hogarth’s engravings are an ever-incisive exposition of the dangers of fashion for fools.


Karma giftie…

  • A Creative Reality“I am just a positive chic slightly obsessed with the creativity expressed in everyday life.”

closet patchwork

what I wear — Danielle on December 6, 2013 at 11:17 am

closet patchwork

Last weekend I moved to a new apartment. Since 2010, my wardrobe has become quite minimal. Over the course of various moves, all that remains are garments I wear frequently and/or have affection for and the result is a pleasing visual harmony. While I was organizing my closet for the move, it occurred to me it would be interesting to juxtapose the garments together in a single image. This combination of colours and patterns maybe reveals something of my character as well as my fashion sense. I enjoy the idea that you could read a closet like a psychic reads a palm. A self-portrait in textiles.

These are just my skirts, dresses, blouses and jackets – but my tank tops, sweaters, leggings, jeans and shoes all fit within the same spectrum. Blue is the dominant colour, especially indigo in denim or chambray, followed by true reds and warm pinks. Neutrals are either creamy whites, cool greys, pale tans or black. Green only appears as an accent. There are no yellows, purples, or oranges, or browns. My go-to pattern is plaid but I also like certain large-scale florals, lace effects, and navy and white stripes. Almost all of my clothing is in natural fabrics, especially cotton and wool.

I would love to see other people’s closet patchworks! If you feel inspired to do one, please link in the comments.

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