With fashion Instagram accounts common and often stale, it takes a lot of effort (and talent) to stand out amongst the crowd–let alone to catch the attention of industry insiders. Enter Angelica Hicks, a new Instagram favorite, who makes her mark in a sea of illustrators with witty sketches of fashion puns. Hicks’ illustrations are not only spectacularly clever, but they also caught the eye of supermodel It girl Gigi Hadid, stylist Jacob K, art critic Jerry Saltz and more.
Hicks takes on brands, models and familiar style memes for her sketches. She’s just one example of the imaginatively-packaged commentary that’s helping to shake up the fashion industry. Having grown up in Oxfordshire, England, the recent college grad says she owes all of her success to social media: “If I hadn’t put one of my first cartoons on Instagram and received positive feedback, who knows whether I would still be illustrating.” We talked to Hicks about what it takes to be a successful illustrator on Instagram today, her favourite accounts to follow and more.
Harper’s BAZAAR: How do you think Instagram and social media have influenced the world of fashion?
Angelica Hicks: I was talking to an editor the other day and we were discussing the way in which Instagram and social media have removed the need for people to buy magazines. Where the September issue used to be long and wildly anticipated, it is now almost all released via various social media platforms. Models, photographers and editors are sharing behind-the-scenes images from the shoots and, in some respects, social media facilitates the spoilers of the fashion industry! From press previews to magazine issues to advertising campaigns, you see it all on social media first.
When you first started your account, how did you start accumulating followers? Did you have any strategy behind it?
AH: Initially I just liked making my friends laugh. But then, when people I didn’t know started to follow me, I thought that maybe I could do something more with it. I didn’t have a particular strategy behind it, but I definitely remember the first time one of my drawings was reposted, my followers grew very, very fast! Olympia le Tan reposted something I had done and suddenly I had a substantial amount of followers. I was no longer posting to just my friends. That was a bit of a game-changer.
How do you handle the competitive nature of being a fashion illustrator on Instagram?
AH: I don’t really think too much into it. I think the illustrations I’m doing are quite different from other illustrators out there. I see myself more as a comedian than an artist, as my drawings are so indebted to puns and wordplay. I suppose the fact that I didn’t go to art school also means that I am less inclined to view myself as an artist because I feel I am undeserving of that term.
Does reaching a certain amount of ‘likes’ on photos ever stress you out?
AH: It definitely used to, but not anymore. I now find it interesting to see which photos perform better than others, as sometimes it can be very surprising! It’s interesting to see which illustrations my followers are more responsive to.
A photo posted by Fashion Pun-k (@angelicahicks) on
Where do you find most of your inspiration?
AH: Anywhere! Mostly, I suppose, I draw from popular culture and current fashion or celebrity trends or events. I also rely on my friends, who are more into and aware of fashion than I am!
Who are some of your personal favorite Instagram accounts that you follow?
AH: Some of my favorite Instagram accounts are @jerrysaltz, who provides the best commentary on the art world. @drawbertson is another favorite of mine. He strikes the perfect balance between art and life with his gaffer tape creations and adorable twin boys. Two up-and-coming comedic accounts I follow are @trevso_electric and @mo_wad.
Who can we expect to see you illustrate next?
AH: I’m thinking of maybe engaging with some “Celebrats” (a.k.a. celebrity children)…so watch this space!