In the first edition of The Hair Edit, we caught up with Megan Hess to find out more about her work, her love for Kérastase and just how she has become a global Instagram success in the world of illustration…
How did you start illustrating? What is your background?
I studied Graphic Design because it felt like a ‘real’ job in the art world, but I really always wanted to be a Fashion Illustrator – I just never knew back then that it was a possible career choice! After working as an Art Director in Ad agencies for several years I packed everything up and moved to London. It was in London that I worked in a million different creative jobs and in my final job there I realized that I had a burning desire to be an artist. At this time I’d became the Art Director for Liberty Department Store. Whist I loved art-directing fashion I loved illustrating it more. I started to do very small illustrations for Liberty and from this art directors saw my work and little commissions began to follow. After about a year I found myself with non-stop illustration work and I knew I was going to do this forever.
As my clients got bigger and better I was able to be a little more selective and just work on briefs that I knew had a great creative opportunity. Then in 2006 I got a call in the middle of the night from Candace Bushnell’s publisher asking if I would illustrate the cover of ‘Sex and the City’. This really was my big break and suddenly my work was seen on a global stage. After this was released I was contacted by TIME magazine in New York to create portraits for them.. Following this, I began illustrating for Tiffany & Co, Chanel, Dior, Cartier, Vanity Fair, Italian Vogue, Bergdorf Goodman, Versace, Prada and Ferragamo….. Ironically, at the same time as my work finally took off I had my first baby!! Its funny, I always tell people that I haven’t really slept since 2006!!
How has social media/Instagram helped to shape your career?
It's funny because when I first started posting on social media it was purely just a creative outlet for me and I never saw it as part of my business. As things grew and my followers really increased I realised how powerful it was - suddenly I could post an image of a new print collection and the whole collection could sell out in 20 minutes! What I love most about social media though, is that it's almost like your own edited magazine and I love that I have complete control of the content. You can essentially show your world through your own eyes.
Kérastase is the first hair care brand that you have collaborated with, why Kérastase?
Kérastase is the best haircare in the world and I always knew that if I was going to collaborate with a brand in that category it had to be Kérastase. It's also a brand that I have been using on my own hair since I was a teenager. The products that I've used within the brand have changed as my hair has changed over time. Initially it was all about gaining volume - now it's the opposite and it's all about calming and counteracting the frizz! It's nice to work with a brand that you admire and trust.
What does the Kérastase woman represent?
I see the Kérastase woman as someone who is successful and positive in the way she leads her life. She wants to look her best but she also wants her beauty and hair rituals to be a natural part of her life. I see her travelling, working, creating the life she wants to lead. She is someone who is selective about the products she chooses
Where do you get your inspiration from?
Everywhere! I seem to find it when I’m least expecting it. I love beautiful photography books, travelling and just getting out of the studio and seeing other exciting things that are happening in the world. In terms of subject matter, I find people and all their differences and quirks the most inspiring. I love seeing how other people dress, live and create. I’m an observer and I love all the little details that make people interesting. I also think travel has a huge influence on me and provides endless inspiration.
How is your work different to other fashion illustrations? How did you find your signature style?
I think all illustrators have their own style. I always think of my work as capturing an imaginary world of chic women in amazing locations. I always want my work to inspire or bring a smile to the viewer. When students ask me how they can find 'their style?' I always say... 'just keep drawing and your style will find you!'
Why do you think women connect with you?
I think they connect with me because we share a common love of beautiful things. I love to draw and create beautiful images that are inspiring and I think we can all do with injecting a little beauty and inspiration into our lives.