An Insider Guide to London Fashion Week with Fashion Illustrator Jessica Bird

Fashion illustrator Jessica Bird shares her insider intel on the “it” places to dine, drink and dance during LFW.

stopping for a seated meal in between shows is more of a
luxury than a likelihood for most fashion editors, the city has
some great grab-and-go dining options worth a look-see. Mealtimes
sorted, we’re diverting our attention back to the clothes and
plotting the best locale for our post-show debrief: a) a dimly lit
drinking den, b) the back of the car en route to your next
appointment, or c) in bed.

Here, fêted fashion illustrator Jessica Bird – her colourful
chalk pastel and charcoal drawings have captured backstage activity
and key runway season after season for the likes of SHOWStudio and
go-to spots while in town.

What shows on the LFW schedule are you most looking forward

I always look forward to Molly Goddard, Rejina Pyo and Roksanda
– they all use colour in such an exciting way.

How did get into fashion illustration?

Accidentally. I’ve always drawn but I went to art school
assuming I would perhaps do fine art and ended up studying fashion
design. I didn’t have any awareness of the fashion world at all
before then. Like most of my fellow students I left thinking I
would be a designer and I worked very hard heading down that path
for a few years. I pushed myself to go to a life drawing class once
a week if I could get away from work; it was a welcome relief from
the intensity of the industry and allowed me to keep up my drawing
skills. It was a natural progression from the nude figure to the
clothed because of my love of colour, fabric and characters. It’s
been a very gradual but very exciting journey since I quit that job
to now being able to call myself (still rather sheepishly) a full
time illustrator/ artist.

Any models in particular you get excited about sketching?

Not any particular names as such but I am drawn to unusual
faces, exaggerated features, strong eyebrows and big ears.

What shows are we likely to see you backstage at this

It’s too early to say for certain, they like to keep you on
tenterhooks until the last minute. All part of the fun!

The hottest spots to dine during London Fashion Week

This image is on holiday


Heading back to East London after a long day at the shows, I’ll
opt to go to this Newington Green gem for a late-night bite from
its daily changing menu. It serves the best olives I’ve ever had,
and has an amazing wine list too.


21 Newington Grn, N16 9PU

This image is on holiday


The Senate Room at the Royal Academy of Arts

Overlooking Burlington Gardens and serving a selection of
Italian inspired small plates/charcuterie, this is one of my
favourite central London quiet spots to gather my thoughts and sort
through my sketches in between shows.

The best bars for drinking and dancing

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My Place

This is a favourite discovery among my friends and I. By day a
café, it turns into a cute bar in the evenings, serving great
cocktails with super friendly bar staff. It’s right in the heart of
Soho on Berwick Street.

This image is on holiday


The Seven Stars

I love a pub. A very old (1602), no-frills pub behind the Royal
Courts of Justice, The Seven Stars has really great food and a cat
that wears a ruff around its neck – enough said, surely.


Trisha’s Soho

A tiny tavern hidden under Greek Street, this is a go-to spot
for late night drinks.


57 Greek Street

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Lobby Bar at The London EDITION

This spot has a glamorous air to it – and a great mixologist
behind the bar. Each night during Fashion Week, from 6pm until 8pm,
I will be taking up residence in the Lobby Bar and creating
individual 15-minute fashion portraits of the hotel’s guests and
public alike, free of charge.

Where to take a power nap


The Connaught

I spent a night here recently as a bit of a staycation. The
spa/swimming pool is a total tranquil haven under busy Mount


Carlos Place


The London Edition

This is where the fashion crowd bed down while in the city;
editors, influencers and buyers all under one roof.


10 Berners Street


The Hoxton – Southwark

The newest branch of the Hoxton Hotel – the interiors are
reason enough to visit. I haven’t stayed yet but I do have a number
of framed fashion illustrations hanging in their beautiful feature


40 Blackfriars Road
South Bank

Where to shop your next show look

1. King &
– Founder Stacey Wood creates perfectly
simple, yet elegant pieces that are sustainably sourced and
responsibly manufactured. The silhouettes are beautiful and the
overall look is so effortless. Check out its online “hand-me-down”
section where you can give pieces a second life for a reduced

2. Depop
In an effort to reduce my environmental impact I’m aiming to shop
less from the high street. I have found SO many amazing things
second hand on this app. I recently bought a new season Roksanda
dress for under £50!

3. LF
– Another slow-fashion favourite, LF Markey
makeS the most wonderfully bold coloured workwear pieces. Its
boiler suits are perfect for me for LFW – totally practical and
they look great.

The best places to recharge your batteries post/ during

1. A life drawing class – There are plenty all
over London. Try the website Meetup to find places near you.

2. Visit an exhibition for some inspiration – I
recently saw Finnish artist Helene Schjerfbeck’s exhibition at the
Royal Academy – it’s
incredible, possibly the best I’ve ever seen. Her work was so ahead
of its time, totally modern and you can really see a fashion
influence in her portraits.

The South of France
– That’s my plan anyway!

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