One to Watch: Fashion illustrator Abei Liu

There’s a reason why we can spend hours scrolling and getting lost down the rabbit hole of Instagram. We find people like Abei Liu. During the day he’s a partner at Elebbit, a design firm in Taipei, and in his spare time he shares his amazing fashion illustrations on Instagram. Drawing inspiration from photos of such subjects as Yohji Yamamoto and Bill Cunningham, we love how his illustrations are so alive and expressive. Abei booked his first collaboration with Liberty Fairs, the leading contemporary menswear tradeshow, and he’s just getting started. We had to find out more so we asked and he answered.

HOW DID YOU BECOME AN ILLUSTRATOR? As a designer who provides design services as a job, I always need some purely creative activities to relax. So about three months ago, I started creating these illustrations. Of course I still want people to see my works, so I began to share them via social media. I am very lucky that so many people have encouraged me during this time, and also so lucky to get the chance to work with Liberty Fairs from New York on an illustration project. I really feel very grateful.

YOU CAPTURE EXPRESSIONS SO WELL IN YOUR ILLUSTRATIONS. HOW DO YOU FIND YOUR SUBJECTS? WHAT’S YOUR PROCESS? I majored in fashion design when I was in university. This not only makes me passionate for the fashion industry, but I also appreciate and respect those who have been able to keep the stylish attitude.

I chose to draw two themes in the beginning. One is “Dream Item”, drawing some fashion items which I think are great. Another theme is “My Beard Dream”, This theme was created to satisfy myself, because I am a guy without beard… Then I wanted to draw a complete style and a complete moment. So I started to choose some stylish menswear icons to draw. I always love to choose warm and interesting images, then interpret them in my way.
In an illustration of Nick Wooster, there’s no apples in the original photo but I added apples to his bicycle’s basket to make it look friendly and warm.

WHAT PROJECTS ARE YOU WORKING ON NOW? I’m have some illustration collaboration projects, customers including a grooming brand from New York and a menswear brand from Taiwan. There are also some personal portrait work requests. They let me into their personal lives because they love the way I draw, this make me feel very happy. Unrelated to work, I want to start drawing some interesting stores from all around the world as my next theme series, perhaps clothing stores, some lifestyle shops or maybe a restaurant.