The self-taught fashion illustrator is based on the grey western coasts of France. However, his creations are anything but bored. Crazy vibrancy, bold colours and clashing patterns composed to create very aesthetically pleasing results; such extravagance that somehow works in perfect harmony. We chat with Jeremy Combot about his daily sources of inspiration and aspirations to someday see his work on the runway.
Who is Jeremy Combot?
I am a French fashion illustrator, born in Paris and living near the west coast of France.
I can imagine drawing was always a big part of your life. When did you decide to pursue illustration professionally?
After five years at university and being graduated in something very far from the art world, I decided to come back to my true colours and take my chance as a freelance illustrator.
In three words, how would you define your personal style?
“I am inspired by very eclectic references: sometimes a chic and cool Saint-Germain-des-Prés Icon, or a Shoreditch neo-punk, or even a Geisha doll-like. It is limitless.” You reference an extensive repertoire of international subcultures that inspire your illustrations. Is there any city specifically that stimulates you the most?
For me subcultures are the heart of every cosmopolitan city where many influences are mingling and complementing together. I must say that London has a special place in my heart. I love its unique energy and the people’s open-mindedness. Each neighbourhood has its own codes that make the city vibrant, powerful and beautiful. I am also very attracted by Tokyo but never got the chance to visit it yet.
Your work always features a beautiful use of different prints and colours. How do you get inspiration for each of these?
I live a region where the sky is grey most of the time; that is why I have a true passion for bright colours. The inspiration is simply linked to my mood of the day; the mix of colours is limitless since I love them all! The only combination that I don’t really use is red with black. The inspiration for the prints comes from the nature around, the architecture, people that I meet or even the music I listen to. It also comes from the tones of magazines pictures that I collect in my inspiration books and from runway current trends.
When sketching, do you base yourself on a real model/ photograph or do you use your memory and imagination?
I actually do both! I try to use my imagination for most of my sketches but I also have a lot of pictures collected in different binders used as pose references. I specially consult them for hands expression and hair.
Do you have any muses?
Yes I do! I can’t list them all, so here is a sample: Françoise Sagan, Iris Apfel, Arletty, Béatrice Dalle, Pamela Anderson, Nina Hagen, Louise Brooks, Tilda Swinton, Mademoiselle Yulia, Angelica Huston, Chloé Sevigny, Gilda Ambrosio, Sigourney Weaver, Beth Ditto, Kate Bush… and many more.
What’s the first thing that strikes you when looking at a person or character?
I like faces with strong expressions and imperfections.
The women in your sketches always manifest confidence and sass. If these characters could speak, what would they say?
They would say a lot of things. They would speak up for equality for men and women, they would stand up for LGBTQ+ rights, they would spit on extremist groups who preach for racial hatred, they would fight against animals’ torture, they would defend self-expression freedom. All these root causes jeopardized by a certain movement of fear and distrust that is spreading in our societies.
Alessandro Michele (Gucci), Simon Porte Jacquemus, Josep Font (Delpozo), Vivienne Westwood and Victoria Beckham.
You illustrate a lot of runway looks. Is designing or collaborating within the fashion industry something we can expect to see from you in the future?
I would LOVE to collaborate with any designer for a collection, like Prada or Gucci did. I could die just to see my characters on the runway. Designing my own collection would be a dream, but it is a very different approach that requires very specific skills. Still a lot to learn!
What are your aspirations for the future?
As many illustrators and artists, my biggest aspirations are to live decently from my art and to keep sharing my aesthetic and vision with the world.