Interview & Report



Fashion Art Blogger

Danny and David Roberts started Igor+André in 2008 as a way of sharing Danny's art. At the time, Danny was a student at the Academy of Art studying fashion design. While there a teacher encouraged him to pursue fashion illustration and from that point on he focused almost exclusively on learning drawing and painting. In addition to the drawings and paintings, they also strive to provide unique photo and video content. They have had the opportunity to collaborate with Harajuku Lovers, Forever21 , Heutchy Shoes, Lancome, and Sundance Channel's Full Frontal Fashion、Aldo Shoes as well as W Hotels.

Danny Roberts is a young creator from California who is rapidly gaining worldwide attention worldwide as a popular blogger with his “Igor+André” blog (adorned with his unique and highly fashionable illustrations) and as a cutting-edge illustrator providing artwork for various media. Danny made his first visit to Japan for the Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week TOKYO 2012 S/S with the invitation of JETRO. How did the culture of Tokyo and the Fashion Week appear to Danny, a proactive artist who uses his blogs as a platform for his activities?

Is this your first time coming to Japan?

Danny: Yes, it is my first visit here under the favor of JETRO‘s invitation. But my sister had studied in Yokohama for a short term before. She told me all about Japanese people and their culture, and how wonderful their clothes designs were, so I was really looking forward to visiting.

Please tell us what inspired you to start this blog.

Danny: I was always an illustrator, but didn’t know a thing about blogs (laughs). Then one day, my brother who works in a computer company asked me if I wanted to try blogging. I said OK on the spot. I started out thinking I’ll just upload one of my illustrations each day and do an “Illustration of the Day” type of thing. It grew from there, and I ended up posting pictures and movies, too.

Most of your blog entries focus on fashion. Did you always like fashion?

Danny: Yes, I did. I even wanted to start my own T-shirt company when I was 13. I used to do iron-on prints back then. I always liked clothes, so I later went to a school for fashion design. There were several illustration courses too, and not so long after I entered the school, my teacher asked me if I’d consider focusing on illustrating. So that’s how I ended up focusing on making illustrations.

What about clothes design?

Danny: Oh yes, I still like that too. I’ve still got a couple accessory ideas and clothes design themes squirreled away that I’d love to be able to use someday. But if I did start seriously making clothes and selling them over the Internet, it’d take a lot of time and manpower. I don’t really have the time right now to make clothes, when I can make a single illustration in like 1 or 2 days.

Has anything changed in your life since you started blogging?

Danny: Since I have more opportunities to think about things to put on my blog or new ways of expressing things, my normal workrate has really sped up (laughs). I can learn things in one day that used to take me one week. It’s a little bit surreal how quickly my blog has become known, but it’s also very fun at the same time. I think it’s great how people around the world can see my works without physically being here, just with a click on their computers.

What is your approach to illustrations? Also, how long does it take to finish one up?

Danny: Well first I take a photo with my camera, then use that photo as a base for my illustration. Depending on how I want the finished illustration to look, I may finish it entirely by hand or use my computer for some parts. This means it can take anywhere from a few hours to a few weeks to finish one up.

Is there anything you keep in mind when sending out information through your blog?

Danny: I don’t really think of it as sending out information. I think of sharing what things I’m doing or making with everybody. So most of the things I upload are things I like, whether they’d be illustrations, photos, videos, or other new things. I don’t want to limit the things I blog about to one topic.

Do you read any other fashion blogs?

Danny: I don’t really have as much time to do that now, but I used to read all kinds of blogs when I was just starting out. I even made illustrations of the bloggers of the blogs I liked, as a sort of thank you.

Why do you think so many fashion bloggers are in the media spotlight?

Danny: Well, everyone used to get their information from magazines, but the reviews in fashion magazines are mostly conservative and didn’t have much individuality. But with blogs, everybody can write what they feel without reservation. It’s easier for most people to relate to the comments written in blogs over what industry reviewers write in magazines. Fashion bloggers fill the gap between ordinary people and people in the industry, which is part of why they became so popular.

How do you plan to present the things you saw at this year’s Fashion Week on your blog?

Danny: I’ve already posted some of the photos I took at the show on my blog. When I get back to the States, I want to spend a few weeks doing illustrations and uploading the videos I took. Japan is really a great place, so I want lots of people to see how much fun I had and be jealous (laughs).

The previous Fashion Week was cancelled due to the Tohoku earthquake. It has been 1 year since the last Fashion Week was held. Did the earthquake ever cross your mind when you came to Japan this year?

Danny: Of course the earthquake was a serious event, but we have earthquakes all the time in California too. I know it’s not something we can control, so I try not to be too negative about it. My parents are really the nervous type, and even they didn’t seem too worried about me going to Japan.

After actually visiting Japan, what was your impression of the country?

Danny: Just being in the city of Tokyo, there’s so much stimulation every second you’re there. Like in America, there are only straight roads and it’s a very bland landscape. But in Japan, there are all these little streets everywhere, and the city and landscapes are very interesting. Fashion is different, too. Mostly straight, clear lines are used in American designs, while clothes made by Japanese designers are mostly curvy. It’s a very interesting difference.

How familiar were you with Japanese brands and designers?

Danny: The only designer I knew by name was Yohji Yamamoto. So when my trip to Japan was finalized, I checked the many designers listed on the Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week TOKYO website. After actually seeing some of the shows, it made me realize once again how great they were.

Please share with us some of the shows that have made a lasting impression on you.

Danny: Each collection had its own character and was very unique. When you go to fashion weeks in New York, all the shows end up blurring together because their presentations are very similar. But the shows in Tokyo really let me enjoy the differences of each brand, and I was very moved by it. I was shocked that I hardly knew the names of the Japanese designers, but that just shows how little information spreads outside of Japan. It made me want to spread Japanese fashion worldwide.

INTERVIEW by Yuki Harada

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