British fashion designer Dylan Joel has teamed up with illustrator Tom Taylor to create a limited edition collection born out of the premise of partnership, community and empowerment. This seven piece collection comprises of statement catsuits, sheer dresses, gloves, and graphic tee’s pastel printed to perfection harmoniously blending signature styles from both artists.
Having interned with the likes of Gareth Pugh and David Koma, ever since graduating from the London College of Fashion Dylan Joel has been a fast rising star in the fashion industry going from strength to strength. He has dressed some iconic names throughout the ages of music; namely, Björk, Mel C, Becky Hill and Mabel; artists that are undoubtedly the movers and shakers in the world of inclusive expression. And if that wasn’t enough to spark your glittering interest, Dylan has also made custom pieces for the one and only RuPauls Drag Race UK.
Illustrator Tom Taylor has been dedicated to creating visuals all of his life. Taking his illustrations to Instagram over a decade ago, Kelly Rowland shared his work, and his career has been on a trajectory that continues today. From working with Soho-based t-shirt brands, Taylor’s work is now printed onto clothing that is sold around the globe, whilst also working with corporate companies and the likes of celebrity stylists, too.
We speak to the dynamic pairing about their new venture; discussing motivations, role models and representation of the queer community through style.
What and who are your biggest inspirations?
DJ: I’ve always been so driven by music and popular culture. I’ve been listening to Kylie Minogue on repeat since I was 5, I doubt that will ever change. My mother is also a huge daily inspiration for me, she keeps me motivated and all my ideas have to get Mama Joel’s approval first.
TT: Music and film are an endless source of inspiration for me. I was drawn to artists such as Warhol from a young age. I loved the idea that an artist could be celebrated as a public figure whilst he was alive and mingling with those from all walks of life.
What is the message that you want to convey through your designs at Dylan Joel Studio?
DJ: I want it to be fun and energetic, without needing to say much. I want people to feel empowered and have fun with my brand. Life is too short.
Tom, what drives you to create works that are so representative of the queer community? I love the childhood Disney-become-queer vibe.
TT: I noticed that a lot of imagery in queer culture was all directed at white, muscly, cis-gendered men. Becoming more involved in the gay scene I learned that that demographic only made up a small fraction of the community. I never saw a guy with a belly or a “dad bod” in any art or queer advertising at the time.
I grew up with Disney and always found the Princes – and the dads – attractive as a kid so I decided to reimagine them as queer-coded characters that I wished they could’ve been.
The collection is inspired by inclusivity and diversity. How did you portray this aesthetically?
DJ: This collection is supposed to exude personality. I want people to wear these pieces and feel alive. We tried to bring this out by the use of colour and the type of garments we chose. Who doesn’t feel alive wearing a catsuit? They’re so much fun.
What kind of person did you have in mind when designing this?
DJ & TT: We really wanted to lean into our queer surroundings and create pieces that would be worn by the people within our community. We also wanted to include a wide variety of sizes.
How did the design process work; what elements of both of your crafts did you combine?
DJ & TT: The design process was exciting as we got to play around with a variety of colours and fabrics to develop the best print; it was important that it was custom and bespoke.
TT: Working with Dylan was great. We learned that we value similar things, from our work ethic to who we were designing for.
I wanted to leave my t-shirt style illustration behind to design fabric that could become an entire garment, whilst still leaving a “Tom Taylor” stamp. Dylan showed me some iridescent fabric he’d previously used. I set out to illustrate it using the same colours which we later gave a glitch effect to, becoming the base of the fabric. Dylan still wanted illustration and came up with the idea for me to draw some of his iconic accessories such as the bodice and visors.
What are your favourite pieces and why?
DJ: The gloves; they just jazz anything up, even a t-shirt.
TT: The body suit. When Dylan and I agreed that as well as performance wear, we wanted a collection that could be worn day-to-day. I love the idea of people wearing it with a cute pair of jeans and maybe an oversized blazer to a brunch or the club.
What can we expect from your label in the future?
DJ: I hope to continue making collections and also continue dressing popstars; to keep expanding and have Dylan Joel go more global…..which you will see very soon. My dream collaborator would be a cosmetics company. I used to love collecting the limited edition MAC cosmetics collections – there could be such a fun partnership with a brand like that.
Shop the collection on www.dylanjoelstudio.com/djxtt
See more of Tom Taylor’s work on www.tomtaylorstudios.com
Follow Dylan Joel Studios on Instagram
Follow Tom Taylor on Instagram
Words: Bex Thackery
Photography: Ian Hippolyte
Hair: Tomer Nagar
Makeup: Natalie Emma and Starlet
Models: Molly Leah-Jane, Grace Shush, Rilesa Slaves, Jason Kwan