The Fible, or fashion illustration bible, now in its third issue has just been released by Fida, the Fashion Illustration and Design Awards, an industry-focused fashion arts organization founded in 2019. The aim of the book is to assemble the best of contemporary fashion illustration in one coffee table tome. It is the brainchild of artist Patrick Morgan whose experience working across design and luxury fashion for over 20 years includes brands such as Tom Ford, YSL, LVMH, Christian Dior, Fendi, Schiaparelli, as well as regular features in the Financial Times, the Guardian, the New Yorker and the Observer. He revealed he was even hired by the James Bond franchise during a chat with FashionUnited during which he describes the challenges of releasing a top-quality fashion illustration book in an online world and why he thinks printed fashion art is more relevant than ever.
How did the idea of the Fible come about?
The Fible was created out of the need for fashion illustrators to have a platform to showcase their work, promote new ideas, and spotlight creativity and vision. The Fible also offers the opportunity for new talent to mingle with past legends and current game changers.
Who designs the layout and what is the inspiration?
I design the Fible which takes around 9 months to produce and design but it is becoming more challenging every year. The inspiration comes from playing and working outside the typical reference space. When designing typefaces it's a very free and playful experience: hand-drawing fonts, raw and dynamic. When considering the layouts I look at many design books, from Margiela books to magazines like The Face or Dazed, a sprinkle of Wallpaper. It never turns out like them as that always feels too restrictive and I take on the David Carson philosophy to just rip up the rule book and let it fly. I was really into skater magazines growing up, like Lowdown and Thrasher, purchasing early books by fashion street brand Mambo, painting fonts, and using unorthodox methodologies for graphic design. I am a printmaker and woodblock print artist, and this is how I worked in college and loved it. The Fible reflects my love for collaging all these bits together in celebration and in pursuit of great work.
You have been a working illustrator for years, so what is your advice for today's emerging illustrators looking to follow in your footsteps?
Working as an illustrator is super challenging and also fantastic. You have to embrace the unknown, follow your passions and just keep pushing. It's better to succeed with work you love than to create something that doesn't feel like yours although that can be hard at times. You might not always be on-trend and might have to do two jobs to survive, but if you love what you do it will come good in the end. Working with brands is great but can also be restrictive, so always try to stay true to your vision while being malleable and open to new ideas. Some creative directors can really bring out a great side of your practice. And leave egos at the door, always.
We are all aware of the challenges within fashion print media, but can you outline some hurdles when publishing a limited run, high-quality fashion book such as the Fible?
Making a book is super hard, paper is so expensive, along with printing. If it feels too simple, not fresh, or uncreative, Diane, my wife and Fida co-founder who never lets me get away with anything, will tell me straight away with no holds barred, and it's back to the drawing board. This happens constantly. With the Fible, I really wanted to get a conversation going and hopefully inspire others to join what is now a movement.
Who is the Fible designed for?
The Fible is designed for any creative, but I want it to be in the hands of decision-makers who will put illustration back on the commercial map for campaigns and large projects. It also aims to document this moment in time and spotlight how fashion illustration as a practice can enrich the professional world. I'm also personally happy to see how it inspires new and established talent and shows what can be created at any level with a little bit of hard work and persistence.
How do you select the artwork?
Selecting artwork is always based on budget, which requires much editing. I want everyone in the Fida community to get a space in the book. I co-edit the book with Diane who reads and checks it numerous times and is glad to see it on the printing press.
This Fible documents high-profile partnerships between Fida artists and brands such as Bulgari, Alberta Ferretti, Halston, Rodo, Lacoste. but is there one collaboration you’ve secured that has made you most satisfied or proud?
Of all those I have convinced to be involved Hiroshi Tanabe and Howard Tangye are two illustrators I really respect and it took nearly 3 years to get them on board. Now they are featured in Fible III. The team at Tom Ford also has a copy which pleases me.
You just launched Triptych, the third in the series. What have you planned for the next Fible?
I am always thinking about the Fible, but to keep things simple we negotiate projects with brands throughout the year and feature these projects. I would love the Fible to be a magazine in my local WHSmiths in the UK or Barnes & Noble in the US - this would make me smile. At the moment, getting the Fible into Harvey Nichols, Harrods, or Selfridges would be the perfect place for bringing our little sprinkle of color and drawing magic into the world.