Emily Faulstich is as charismatic as her ice-cream-pastel-hued imaginative illustrations. As designer, photographer and illustrator who just happened to co-found cult clothing label Wildfox back in 2007, Faulstich is that girl we all aspire to be like.
“I wanted to be a Broadway actress growing up,” Faulstich giggles in her sweeter-than-syrup American drawl. With her perfectly preened blonde bangs and her duck-egg blue shirt, it’s as if she planned her outfit to compliment our surroundings, the plush velveteen Pepto-bismal pink furnishings of Sketch’s Parlour room, wallpapered with drawings by David Shrigley (which she decides are the perfect accompaniment to the room “to stop it feeling too sickly”.)
So how did an illustration degree lead to a globally recognised brand that every girl is desperate to have a piece of in their wardrobe? “Wildfox started as t-shirts,” Faulstich explains. “I was literally sick of seeing those printed t-shirts with like trees on the front and birds flying out of them, with distorted writing.” So, by designing things that she would love to wear, at the age of just 23 Wildfox was born. “We always designed with the campaigns in mind,” recalls Faulstich, “the Wildfox girl is fun with a carefree spirit.” Of course, the brand’s campaigns starring leggy bombshells in high-cut swimwear and playful blondes pillow-fighting in Wildfox pyjamas are testament to this.
Alongside running a super-brand Faulstich’s a successful photographer too, crediting her interest to her husband. “I stole my husband’s camera and literally didn’t give it back, I still have it now,” she gushes passionately. Take one look at her Instagram page with the byline: “Professional Vacationer”, and her love for photography, along with travel, is most evident. In amongst photographs of London (“I love London, I’ve always wanted a British accent”), NY, Versailles and Paris, you’ll find her endearing illustrations. Faulstich quite literally illustrates her world. Opening a well-worn orange sketch book infront of me, Faulstich explains that her illustrations are an extension of her blog Hawaiian Coconut, that documents her daily travels. Always featuring a little blonde girl, who is of course, Emily, each page of doodle-like sketches tells one of her adventures. “It could be me on a plane,” explains Faulstich . “Or it could be me sipping a piña colada on the beach listening to Ace Of Base.” In other words, it’s a visual diary. “My granddad has a diary he has kept since he was a teenager but I could never do that. So this is my way of documenting my adventures.”
So when London clothing brand Oh My Love were looking to collaborate with an illustrator for a series of dresses, swimsuits, shirts and skirts for SS15, Faulstich was the perfect fit. “I wanted to work with things that were a little bit naughty or cheeky. So there’s a little Mai Thai, an ice cream, a peace sign…,” she explains pointing at each doodle on the dress laid in front of us. I ask her the meaning behind the half peeled banana and she just laughs. She’s got a sense of humour, too.
Aside from her collaboration with Oh My Love, 2015 holds a whole new adventure for Faulstich, with plans for a a new clothing line of her own in the pipeline that sounds like it stems from a simpler mould than Wildfox. “It’s for girls but it’s things you need, that perfect jumper you can never find, or the perfect fitting t-shirt,” she explains. “At the moment I have two names for it. One is Capri, just because I like all that it conjures. But I’m not sure yet.” 2015 will also bring Faulstich an office in the Big Apple. I’ve already asked if I can visit, but for now we exchange tourist recommendations for her flying visit to London. For someone who only disembarked a plane from NY a matter of hours before our encounter, Faulstich sure is chirpy. Her secret? “Lots and lots of tea.”