In line with the latest capsule collection by Monki that features the vibrant and colourful illustrations of London-based artist and illustrator Lynnie Zulu, HANGER speaks to the equally exuberant character about her Monki collection, and how she goes about with her artwork that is hugely inspired by her mother’s Tanzanian heritage.
How did the collaboration with Monki come about?
I’ve been a fan of Monki for a while now, so it’s amazing when they got in touch for a collaboration. We just clicked instantly; we were on the same wavelength, and their artistic direction was very on-point with my style of illustration. Exotic environments and mysterious characters have always been the inspirations behind my illustrations, so when this collaboration came about, I saw it as a great opportunity to bring my work to life, and have Monki transform my prints onto garments that I would love.
Is there a specific reason as to why bananas and watermelons are the key prints for this collection?
Well, I wanted the prints to have a real lust for the summer feeling, and I thought that the watermelon and banana theme is a fun summer statement that can create a cool atmosphere to represent the collection while complementing all the other prints, some with a feminine playfulness to it, and a graffiti attitude on the others.
Monki has always been about crazy designs and prints when it comes to their collections.
How do you think your illustrations contribute to the craziness of it all in the Monki world?
My illustrations are colourful and playful, and I think that’s an important criteria to what Monki was looking for in this collection. At the same time, I really love how Monki has fully embraced colour and illustration in their past collections, so I knew they would be perfect to collaborate with. I’ve also got a big love for accessories, so I was super excited to hear that bags and wallets are also part of the collection!
Do you have a favourite fashion piece from this collaborative collection?
It’s hard to just peg down to one favourite when it comes to clothes from Monki, but at the moment, I do love the Sarah dress that carries a float-like and feminine look.
What do you love most about the summer season?
I’m a summer baby, so I’m very prone to a bit of sun worshipping (laughs)! I love the general pace of summertime. It’s a lovely transformation, especially when you’re living in London. You can just see the city unwinds as the season changes.
What kind of themes would you generally go for your artwork, and how do you think they fit into today’s world?
My illustrations are never premeditated. I don’t like to over think or plan ahead the outcome of what I produce. The spontaneity of how I work is the key to creating energy and atmosphere for my work. For me, each illustration is an immediate expression of an emotion or a feeling, and often times in the form of imagined female faces set amongst bold colours and patterns, which are obvious importance to me as an artist. I’ve always been drawn to the mysterious and powerful nature of women, so they’re often the portal for my ideas. These personalities often form part of an exotic theme for my artwork, with motifs and patterns associated with that subject in mind.
You speak highly about your artistic mother and her Tanzanian heritage playing an important part in your African-influenced illustrations. But you’re also bred in the Scottish borders.
Any chance we’ll be seeing some Scotland-inspired artwork from you soon?
Scotland is a very inspiring and beautiful country, which has so much soul. However, when it comes to what motivates me to draw, it is places that are full of people, colour, music and diversity, rather than the beautiful landscapes of the Scottish Borders.
Monki loves to do up their stores around the world with different themes, such as the Forgotten Forest, the Sea of Scallops and the City of Oil and Steel.
If you were given the chance to design how a Monki store would look like, how would you go about it?
If I were to have my say on how a Monki store looks like, I’d go straight for a fruit theme. I’d blow up the prints to sizeable scale, and have massive banana sculptures all over the store! There can be a couch shaped as a fruit basket somewhere in there, where you can chill out with some watermelon pillows. Heck, maybe even get a juice bar going, why not (laughs)!
This article was featured in the HANGER SS15 issue.