Known for her quirky, fun and comic-book-esque designs, there couldn’t be a better person than London fashion doodler Hattie Stewart for Soap & Glory to collaborate with this Christmas .
Having worked and partnered with everyone from Kylie Minogue to Marc Jacobs, Luella to House of Holland, her supreme artwork skills have been highly sought after from the heavy-hitters of the runway to the music elite. And she only graduated from university in 2010.
With this year’s Soap & Glory gifts comprising of two box sets with two different designs, Hattie has put her stamp on the brand’s hero products, providing a booty of beauty goodies to give Santa’s sack a run for its money. With a Hand Dream super cream, Orangeasm body wash, Butter Yourself moisture lotion, Heel Genius foot cream, Sugar Crush body scrub, Whipped Clean shower butter, The Righteous Butter body butter, Off Your Face 3 in 1 daily purifying cloths, Sexy Mother Pucker lip lacquer and Thick & Fast mascara, whoever finds this under the tree will be one lucky lady. Worth £76, it comes in at a purse-friendly £29. It has ‘beauty bargain’ written all over it.
We caught up with the in-demand doodler to ask her about how to crack into the design business, her career highlights and what inspires her.
GTG: Could you talk us through your career so far?
HS: So far in the past 2 years since I graduated Uni in 2010, it’s been so varied with the people I’ve been able to work with. From Soap & Glory to early this year doing animations for Kylie Minogue to working on magazine covers, it’s all been very different. But because I’m quite an impatient person and get bored easily (not in a negative way, but just looking and biting for something else), it’s been really exciting.
GTG: The projects you’ve worked on have been so varied. How do you come up with your artwork and illustrations?
HS: Starting from when I was younger, I always kind of naturally had a style of working which I just fell towards and I just loved which is the comic-based, character-based illustration. My work used to be more heavily detailed, now it’s a lot simpler.
The way my style is now, it’s been a completely organic and natural development. I feel I’ve reached a point where I’ve developed these particular characters that are specifically related to my work, especially when you take away the whole thing and just focus on the eyes. I can apply them to so many different things. And there are so many different motifs which have been carried on in my work, without me deliberately applying them. I’ve now built up a repertoire of the things I like to use and the things I like to play around with.
Developing a style, it can never be a conscious process, it kind of just happens naturally. You just suddenly realise that you’ve been doing a lot of the same things over time or people come up to you and ask for those designs in particular.
It’s nice having those specific few but also having their extensions - having the heart characters like the eyes and building different motifs and designs around them. When it comes to a new project, it’s usually about getting to know the brief, the client and who I’m working with and then my work can be taken and applied to it. It’s finding which elements should be left behind and which elements which should be brought forward, so it’s a real collaboration. Finding that nice equal balance and I feel that’s what we’ve really been able to do with Soap & Glory.
GTG: How did the collaboration with Soap & Glory come about?
HS: It came about last year when they asked me to collaborate with them with these box sets and I was like ‘Freakin’ yes! Hell yes!’ I’m a big fan of Soap & Glory, I’ve used it myself for years.
Creatively though, I was aware that the brand had a really strong visual aesthetic that’s recognisable, vintage girls and things like that. So when they mentioned the project, I already had a clear idea of what I wanted to do. I wanted to draw over one of the vintage girls, I wanted to include some of my motifs like the eyes and create some really fun patterns. Considering the motifs they have already are very specific, I was so excited when they said they wanted me to play around with it and really go further. So being able to push it like that and collaborate with a brand that I know personally but put my own little stamp on it too, it’s been a really fun process.
GTG: What inspires you?
HS: Inspiration usually comes from anywhere and everywhere. The one specific place I go to is Tumblr. I have an inspiration blog which has all of the different things that I love visually. I’ve been introduced to so many different incredible artists while scouring through people’s archives. And then there’s documentaries, music, going out with friends, just drawing and seeing what happens. The inspiration kind of finds you if that makes sense, it’s whether you grab it or not.
GTG: What would be your advice to anyone hoping to do what you do?
HS: I always say, hard work. Don’t get caught up with names or anything like that or think. 'I want to work with that person because that will get me there,' as it doesn’t work in that way. You can collaborate with a big brand but that doesn’t necessarily mean that more things will come from it. Plus, working with smaller brands or even friends or family around you, it’s those opportunities that can lead to the big things.
Work hard and keep doing it. Apply yourself, put your work out there and be totally prepared to fail. You’re going to fail more than you succeed - I’ve had more rejections than I’ve had successes, which considering how many successes I’ve been able to have shows how much I’ve had to fail to get there! [laughs] But it’s been worth it, because once you start doing well, all those past failures and anxieties begin to fall away. I’m still incredibly insecure and I’m still nowhere near where I want to be, but I keep on working because I love it.
GTG: What have been your career highlights?
HS: Definitely Soap & Glory because I’ve had the chance to work for a well-known brand and one that I’ve always loved. It’s amazing to be able to design something that’s so me and so them, but also has my name on it. That’s something that’s so rare for an illustrator. I never thought I’d be able to get to that point and being there is incredible.
Keeping on the pink theme, my other career highlight was also working with Kylie Minogue for her Kiss Me Once tour and doing the animation for the backdrop during her Dollhouse medley section. That was fun - pink, silly and playful.
Both of these were completely different and it’s good to see how fun it can be. The fact that I’m able to do all the things I’m able to do and work doing what I love, that’s another career highlight for me too.
The Next Big Thing Christmas gift set, £29 is available in-store at Boots now.