Her Own Glow, a positive space for storytelling.
Tonight’s guest is Chloe Lebow, creator of Tillythings. Chloe and I discuss life as a freelancer, her collaborations and the importance of self care – no matter how busy your schedule may be!
Tell us about yourself.
I’m a 25-year old fashion illustrator based in London. I did an art foundation University of The Arts London and then went on to do a BA hons in fashion at NTU. After I finished it, I had a good understanding of the basics of graphic design. After graduating, I wasn’t sure what I wanted to do so I decided to brush up on my graphic design skills and ended up starting my own creative journey.
What inspired you to set-up Tillythings?
Tillythings actually started out as a pet brand, but I didn’t continue that for long and found my own style by creating fashion designs using animal heads. Like art, fashion is a big part of me and early on, I had a random commission off a blogger I admired which helped me decide to actively start pursuing this as a business. Eventually, I developed my own signature style that I could be proud of.
More and more people have started freelancing – an ongoing trend that’s expected to rise. Have you had an enjoyable experience being your own boss? What challenges have you faced?
Definitely! I have another job, so I had to learn to be organised and manage my time efficiently. I also have had to learn to be adaptable and stay calm and professional, and I try to push myself on every commission.
What advice would you give to those looking to freelance?
Work hard, but remember there is more to life than work! Keep creating, learn from other people and don’t be afraid to experiment – all while focusing on your own strengths. I would say anything is possible if you know your craft. I think it’s just about figuring out what works for you. But don’t forget to get enough sleep and go for walks too!
Art is therapeutic; it’s a form of expression. To what extent has art and creativity played in your life?
I cannot imagine my life without drawing! My grandad was an author and illustrator, and my mum was a textile designer so most Sunday afternoons, as a child ,were spent at galleries and workshops. I have always been inspired by fashion and portrait photography and when I was younger, I used to draw over the figures of my mum’s magazine covers. I have an ever expanding collection of journals and sketchbooks which has always been something I turn to in order de- stress, all of my books throughout school were packed with little sketches to my teaches dismay!
You’ve collaborated with celebrities, bloggers and organisations! What’s been your biggest pinch-me moment in your career so far?
I am a hug Entourage fan and I had Adrian Grenier and Jeremy Piven post my drawings -which was sick! I was obsessed with Bratz growing up so it felt surreal to be recognised by them! More recently though, I was featured in Stylist and You magazine for my collaboration with Radley bags and The South Place Hotel. That was pretty cool.
That’s amazing – you have so much going on. How do you unwind after a busy day at work?
When I’m not as busy, I try to find time to draw only for my pleasure and not commissions. I also write and do lots of reading.
How do you practice self-care?
I know I can’t function without sleep, which is deeply intertwined with creativity so I always try to make sure I prioritise my zzz’s. I also have the Headspace app, which is great for busy schedules. Creative work can be solitary, so it’s important to take care of yourself and make time for friends and family. I think doing something else besides art is healthy for my mind.
Who do you admire?
All the masters, from Dior to Oscar de la Renta. I am also heavily influenced by artists like Klimt, Rembrandt and Warhol. Shows like SATC, authors, photographers, history, films, my friends; lots of things. I have to say though my creativity is heavily inspired by the likes of NWA, especially Dre. In my teens I used to place ‘fuck you’ really loud in my bedroom to piss my mum off.
If you could have a power hour with any woman in the world, who would it be?
Ok, so Annie Leibovitz, JK Rowling or Cher. Random I know, but I can’t choose one. They’re all goals in different ways.
List your top 5 Instagram accounts:
I have so many from all different categories, but off the top of my head I’d say:
What’s next for you?
I am currently in the process of working with publishers to get my first children’s book published, which I have written and illustrated. I am also in the early stages of creating some 90s inspired graphics for potential apparel – which is super exciting!
And finally, what’s your mantra?
It’s a bad day, but not a bad life.
Connect with Chloe: