When New York Fashion Week begins, Emily Brickel Edelson will be sitting in the front row at many of the shows, drawing on her artistic skills to create whimsical, of-the-moment illustrations for IMG and Chic Sketch, her fashion mobile app.
Brickel Edelson will also be backstage, capturing moments such as seamstresses fluttering around a champagne-hued ballgown at last season’s Marchesa show for her blog at Chicsketch.com.
“Sketch & Go: 5 Minute Fashion Illustration,” Brickel Edelson’s first book, will be published in October by Race Point. A primer on the art and technique of fashion illustration, the book includes 500 templates and tips for live sketching.
Drawing fashion wasn’t Brickel Edelson’s first career choice; she wanted to design it. After attending the Fashion Institute of Technology’s fashion merchandising management program, she was intent on starting her own brand. “My dad taught me how to draw when I was three years old,” she said of her father, Scott Brickel, an artist who was comfortable with a variety of mediums from painting and drawing to glass-blowing. “I wanted to learn the business of fashion.” But her company, Rock Hard Atelier — day-to-night fashion where the neck could be removed from a garment to turn it into a strapless version — didn’t get enough orders.
Feeling creatively blocked, Brickel Edelson sought the help of a mentor, inspirational speaker and “Miracles Now” author Gabrielle Bernstein. “She told me to just draw something — anything. I drew her as a gift and she put my art on her meditation CD,” said Brickel Edelson, adding that the image of a cross-legged Bernstein in a meditation pose, opened the door to other jobs. “I would go to live events and draw boutique openings. I saw people’s reactions to my sketches and decided to turn it into an app.”
The iPhone app launched February 2015. Downloading the app is free; users can buy a sketch for $9.99. A new 2.0 version for Android phones bowed this month. Jordan Edelson, a cofounder of Chic Sketch and Brickel Edelson’s husband, said that the company is in the process of raising Series A funding.
Fashion and beauty brands have sought out Brickel Edelson. At Kate Spade New York’s pop-up home store in Manhattan’s SoHo in March, Brickel Edelson’s sketches were party favors. Brickel Edelson in April sketched looks from the Kendall & Kylie collection at Bloomingdale’s, and she did a recent event at Neiman Marcus in Bal Harbour, Fla. At Sephora’s Time Square location, Brickel Edelson sketched shoppers for a new Lancôme foundation.
“I do a lot of partnerships,” she said. “I’m activating Saks Fifth Avenue’s opening at Brookfield Place [in lower Manhattan] on Sept. 9.”
Brickel Edelson, who said she draws hundreds of sketches each week, works with a team of 10 to 15 fashion illustrators.
“It’s so fun,” Brickel Edelson said. “I want to inspire our users. Everybody does the selfie. This is a way to elevate that.”