Don't Throw Out Your Banana Peels, Wear Them
In the ever-expanding crowd of artists on Instagram, Gretchen Roehrs stands out with her wonderfully simple and whimsical illustrations of food as fashion. What initially started as a joke quickly turned into an enjoyable exercise in expression for the San Francisco-based Roehrs. From banana peels to oyster shells, the fashion illustrator shows us just how closely related food and fashion can sometimes be with fresh produce, meats, and other edibles. Her source material frequently changes - peaches are transformed into a fur coat and corn on the cob, a full-length formal gown - but all offer a very refreshing combination of food and fashion. As they say, art imitates life:
LUCKYRICE: From the initial concept to the finished illustration, what is your artistic process?
Gretchen Roehrs: The inspiration is bi-directional; sometimes, it starts when I touch an eccentrically-shaped fruit at the stall of a farmer's market and at other times, I start with a sketch.
LUCKYRICE: Where do you get inspiration for your illustrations?
Gretchen: I downloaded Instagram way back in 2011 when it first came out and used it as a way to collect my favorite memories in a feed. Since moving to San Francisco, I have been inspired by its infectious food culture and exuberance for local produce.
LUCKYRICE: For the most part you use fruits and vegetables - would you ever consider using processed food?
Gretchen: Of course! I just haven't gotten there yet.
LUCKYRICE: Do you see any parallels between the fashion and food industries?
Gretchen: There are tremendous parallels between food and fashion. Both cater to the visual senses but it's just as important that they have a pleasing texture. Fashion is a lot like cooking in that average ingredients or fabrics can be transformed with beautiful execution and care. Christina Tosi of Milk Bar does this with her delicious compost cookies just as well as Rei Kawakubo can turn a trash bag into a gown.
LUCKYRICE: What do you do with the illustrations once you photograph them?
Gretchen: I have tons of sketchbook pages filled with lines of heads, legs, and arms!
LUCKYRICE: Most memorable meal?
Gretchen: My most memorable meal was the first time my partner made me fresh pasta carbonara on a whim at midnight. I've never been happier!