This Womenswear Illustrator Talks Illustrating Menswear

Words by, Igee Okafor & Christy Joehl

Photography by, Brooke Halteman

After connecting with fashion illustrator, Christy Joehl in the fall of 2015, through a mutual friend, we decided to collaborate on an illustrated piece. Prior to the collaboration, Joehl, had only done one menswear piece. Joehl professes that spending time in New York City opened her eyes to the exciting world of men’s fashion. 

Reflecting on our illustrated collaboration and personal inspiration, she says, "After connecting with you (Igee Okafor) through our mutual friend, Dalton Taylor, I was immediately excited to put your style to paper. You have a clean, sophisticated aesthetic that successfully balances classic and current elements.  It was a pleasure to work with someone who has passion for the industry, as well as charisma and great taste. I am inspired by passionate people, whether they are a blogger, author, actor, friend, or fellow artist. Individual expression is the key to being influential. As an illustrator, artistic aesthetic is like my fingerprint.  No illustrator will interpret a subject in the same way as the next.  Regardless of what someone’s passion is, I am excited by people who truly love what they do and take pride in their individuality."

Christy Joehl, 21, was born in Princeton, Illinois – a small, quaint, farming town of 7,000 people.  She claims it was a wonderful place to grow up but also emphasizes her adoration for the city life.  "Though I’ve spent most of my life surrounded by cornfields, I am a city girl at heart and have spent the last year visiting London and living in New York City."

From the moment she could hold a pencil, she knew she possessed a love for drawing. By fourteen, she was already painting huge canvases. She began experimenting with different mediums – watercolor, acrylic, pastels, and even mixed media. She declares that all she ever wanted was a blank sheet of paper for crafting purposes, even at a young age. Elaborating on the beginning stages of her craft with fashion illustration, she says, "I found an outlet creating paper dolls and would spend hours upon hours carefully crafting a miniature wardrobe.  Growing up in a Catholic School uniform, it wasn’t necessary to frequently purchase new clothes. Every blank space in my closet ignited a spark of creativity that set my ideas into motion. I would flip through fashion magazines and fantasize about the beautiful clothes captured in the glossy pages. I loved the colors, the patterns, and the endless combinations that could make up an outfit. Fashion is an art to me, and art was something I understood well, even then. Illustrating became my unique form of retail therapy, and I’ve loved it ever since."

On top of concluding her senior year at Purdue University in West Lafayette, Indiana, Joehl currently does freelance artwork.  Whether it is creating custom illustrations, designing wedding invitations, or creating artwork to be used as set pieces; she enjoys any project where she can utilize her creativity; hence the Christy Joehl x Igee Okafor collaboration. Her resume is also inclusive of world renowned fashion brand, Ralph Lauren. In Summer 2015, she was a part of their global window concept team where her artwork was featured all over the world. You can find her work on display in the Ralph Lauren children’s store on Madison. Joehl urges to stay tuned for the holiday windows - the set pieces will be her artwork.

When Joehl is not illustrating, one can find her enjoying the outdoors, reading murder mysteries, exercising, discovering new restaurants, and traveling.  "I have a special place in my heart for cute coffee shops; I am a hopeless romantic and love sappy movies like Serendipity and You’ve Got Mail. Carrie Bradshaw is my spirit animal and I am obsessed with peanut butter, photography, spontaneous adventures, baseball games (even if I don’t know the score), and most of all my family and friends."

Upon graduating from Purdue University in May 2016, Joehl has returned to Manhattan to commence her career in luxury branding. She will continue to freelance and take on special projects as well. The eventual dream for Joehl, is to become her own artistic brand. "One day I hope to become my own boss and provide creative direction for a variety of clients, as well as take on art projects for various purposes.  I have many interests and love to constantly grow and learn. Building my brand is a full time job for me, even as a student. Every day, I like to believe my dreams are in making.  Every decision is a step towards where I am supposed to be, and I am enjoying every minute of it."

See more of Christy's work here

Thank you for reading!