Fashion illustrator Blair Breitenstein
“Eventually, everything connects.”
This is one of the quotes recently posted to Blair Breitenstein’s trendy Instagram page, @blairz, and certainly one that holds true throughout her life.
She posts her captivating, daily drawings to the page along with inspirational images, quotes and NYC living. The 28-year-old fashion illustrator has been recognized by Harper’s Bazaar, Oscar de la Renta, a slew of international magazines and more.
While Blair is currently working her dream job in the concrete jungle, her story starts right here in Bellevue, where her passion was born.
From a young age, two seeds of inspiration were planted in Blair: art and fashion. Her grandfather worked as an artist for Walt Disney in his younger years. She recalls feeling that first spark of amazement watching him paint with great detail and discipline. At the same time, her affection for art was steadily growing, both her mother and grandmother were contributing to her love for all things fashion. With their special appreciation for styling and great shopping finds, she began to develop her own sense of style, which she now describes as “comfortable and classic.”
Those two seeds continued to grow throughout Blair’s school years, but when it came time to decide on a major for college, she chose a safer route. Blair decided on communications at Washington State University but was steadily drawing during her own time. Her tools were simple: watercolors and a sketchbook.
Simplicity is something she prides herself on.
“You have to know when to stop. It is important for every artist,” Blair says.
After graduating in 2011, she took the first step in sharing her work. Blair started a Tumblr account and opened an Etsy shop as a fun way to deliver her chic, abstract drawings. In 2014, she laser-focused on the Etsy shop and started to make a name for herself in the fashion world. Social media played a huge role in building her client base.
“I draw for myself and for Instagram every day. I make sure I am creating daily,” she says.
The platform has helped Blair to present her portfolio to clients and target the brands she wants to work with. She encourages any young artist or entrepreneur to start an Etsy shop and to take advantage of the opportunities that are available online.
Blair was soon ready for another big change in her life.
“I’d always wanted to live in New York City and I just felt that this was the time to do it,” Blair explains.
She was already working with big clients in the area and knew this was a leap of faith she needed to make. Now two and a half years later, Blair can look back and see that she made the right choice.
She has worked her way up from various freelancing jobs to a prestigious list of clientele that includes Prada, Netflix, Air France, Miu Miu, Chanel, Teen Vogue and so much more.
Blair especially enjoyed working with Glamour Spain. Her work was featured on its own page in each month’s issue throughout 2016.
She pulls a lot of her inspiration from ‘60s and ‘70s beauty. One of her favorite fashion icons is French actress Brigitte Bardot. Blair loves all things vintage and enjoys bringing that essence to the current generation.
Blair loves to read through current beauty blogs and magazines. Outside of work, she enjoys yoga and walking in outdoors, especially parks. One of her favorites is The High Line in NYC. While her motivations are constantly changing, she is clear on one thing.
“Being able to support myself illustrating is a dream come true,” Blair says.
One illustration can take Blair anywhere from 12 minutes to two hours.
Her favorite piece of advice comes from Donald Robertson, who says to “draw, draw, draw.”
“It is important to put your work out there,” Blair emphasizes.
This has made all the difference in her life and she continues to blaze her own trail by delivering “an expressionist take on contemporary high fashion.”
She features luxury designers in many of her illustrations, including Louis Vuitton, Alexander McQueen and Prada. Her work has attracted over 100,000 followers on her growing Instagram.
Blair’s artistry started with a vision. One that she was able to manifest through consistency, passion and brave leaps of faith. Her work speaks for itself and she is excited to continue growing her craft one illustration at a time.
You can see more of her work at BlairaBreitenstein.com.