A Quick Q&A with Benjamin Seidler
Benjamin Seidler is the illustrator to keep your eyes on. His mashup collages, which bring together the best looks of the fashion shows with stills from Hollywood’s most iconic films, have become Instagram catnip since he started posting them to his feed in March of last year.
Benjamin has always been interested in the creative arts. He studied at Central Saint Martins, where he received a Foundation Diploma in Fashion, and he got a degree in architecture at Cambridge University. Along the way he did an internship with Anna Sui when he was just 16, worked with Suzy Menkes during her time at the International Herald Tribune and designed illustrations for luxury brands like Prada, Acne and Smythson. His current day job might be designing accessories for a prestigious New York-based fashion house, but illustrations are Benjamin’s life long passion.
Here the artist answers a few of our burning questions.
Q: How did you first get interested in fashion?
A: I was born and raised in Rome, Italy, so fashion was always around me and I loved accompanying my mom for walks around the Spanish steps to Gucci, Valentino and Fendi. My father always read the International Herald Tribune while I was growing up and I loved Suzy Menkes‘ writing in it and the whole world she described through the lens of fashion. I was hooked and knew I wanted to be a creative part of that world.
Q: What was your big break?
A: The one moment that started everything was writing and illustrating for the International Herald Tribune when Suzy Menkes was there – and when it existed. We both went to Cambridge University and I interviewed her for the university newspaper (which she edited in the 1960’s). Her support and those tear sheets opened a lot of doors for me. After that, it’s been a series of opportunities that let me progress – from Acne asking me to design a scarf for them to Katie Grand re-gramming one of my fashion-film collages that started a new chapter in my illustration career.
Q: How did you come up with the idea to do the fashion/movie collages?
A: It was really inspired by Vetements and the mania that surrounded it about a year ago. It made me think about high school and how fashion has a way of crowning Queen B’s every season. Mean Girls is the ultimate high school film for me, so it seemed like a good way to express my point – but I don’t know why I felt like expressing that point. I just wanted to make something funny and cute. Making things like that is a creative outlet different to my work as an accessories designer and it’s good to exercise your brain in different ways that can feed off each other.
Q: Who inspires you?
A: Many people, but the collages were inspired by Julie Verhoeven, Karen Kilimnik, Peter Blake and Rem Koolhaas’ fashion books for Prada. I was also thinking about Stalin and how he altered history by doctoring photographs – it’s a very scary virtual reality that I feel is pertinent to our world.
Q: Who living or dead would you love to be able to have dinner with?
A: I hate making small talk with people I don’t know. So probably one of my friends that I admire like Suzy Menkes, Anna Sui, Emily Stokes or Gabriela Hearst. After a meal with any of them, you leave feeling like you’ve improved as a person because they inspire you with their amazingness.
Q: What is your favorite trip?
A: I went to Santa Fe last summer and was awed by the culture and the vintage shopping there. Generally trips that combine luxury and discovery work well for me.
Q: When are you happiest?
A: When something I’ve designed comes out “right.”
Q: What is the biggest challenge you are currently facing?
It’s always the same – how to become rich, famous and skinny.
Q: What is your secret talent?
A: I’m quite a good actor but haven’t done any acting since university.
Q: What is your motto or the best piece of advice you ever got?
A: “Live your dream” – Anna Sui.
Q: What emoji do you use the most?
The heart with stars.
Q: What is the latest Instagram feed you decided to follow?
Jessica Michault is the Senior Vice President of industry relations at GPS Radar by Launchmetrics. She is also the editor-at-large for ODDA magazine and contributes to publications like the New York Times, the Business of Fashion, Vogue, Harper's Bazaar and Mixte magazine.
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