• (Photos via Meredith Jenks)

    Niky Roehreke

    Get to know Niky Roehreke, the incredibly talented illustrator behind our 12 Days of Dresses hangtags.

    Tell us a little bit about yourself!
    I was born in Tokyo to a Japanese mother and German father. I went to a German school in Tokyo and upon graduation I wanted to go somewhere else, so I went to Central Saint Martins College in London. Upon graduation, I wanted to go somewhere else so I went to New York for an internship and wanted to stay. I finally moved there this year and work as a freelance illustrator in Brooklyn.

    How old were you when you first started illustrating?
    I can't remember exactly when, but looking at photos from early childhood, most of the time I am either holding a fork to eat or a pen to draw.

    What are some other types of art you like to do?
    I often simply say illustration is what I do, but it’s a mixture of paint, pencil, ink, cutouts, found things on the street, photographs, stencil, and other things depending on the project. I also create animation, but not a lot since it's very time-taking and I look unhealthy after I finish. I just won the first prize at a film festival called 'Digital Graffiti' this year, which I’m super happy about. It makes me think of making another one maybe next year.

    We noticed that you draw a lot of hands, any reason why?
    I love to draw hands because I enjoy creating with my hands, and I also want to remind people of how important and nice it is to use hands as a form of expression. There is the computer, the mobile phone, a lot of other electronic devices that can serve as a way to communicate with words, but there isn't anything—and I don't think there will be in future—that could replace what hands can do. A hug will forever be a hug; touching someone’s hand will always be a precious connection.

    You make zines too. Can you tell us a little bit about the process behind making one?
    I love making zines because the process is unplanned and random. It’s purely fun. Whenever my sketchbooks I carry around have enough material, I feel like it's time to gather them into a zine. I used to make a lot but now I'm constantly so busy that I can't find the time for it, but thanks to this question it makes me think it's time for a new one!

    You’ve done some work with one of our favorite brands, Insight. What was it like working with them?
    I always enjoy working with Insight very much. We recently worked together again for another T-shirt. I like the fact that they are always interested in my doodles, ink drawings, and personal work, which doesn't happen that often with other projects.

    You created illustrations for the hangtags of our 12 Days of Dresses. Which dress was your favorite to draw and why?
    I don't have a particular one, but I especially enjoyed the ones with different textures like beads or embroidery, because it was fun to experiment different ways to express that in an illustration.

    What do you usually do for the holidays?
    Christmas has always been a big family thing, so I always go to Germany for that. New Year's is the best in Japan: the best food, drinks, and parties with my best friends.

    What are you likely to wear to holiday parties?
    I like to wear high high-heels.

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