Have you ever wondered what the great and powerful Valentino was like as a kid?  Did Anne Wintour really have a childhood?

This is precisely what the mysterious “Fashion Cartoonist” does through her, or his, blog, “When they were kids”:  imagine what their lives were like in the past.

We know almost nothing about the “Fashion Cartoonist”, whether it’s a man or a woman, where he/she lives or his/her age (just take a look at the portrait we received from the Fashion Cartoonist for the article).  Everything about this person is a mystery.  The only thing that is clear are the drawings, where you’ll find most fashion celebrities depicted as children, in funny and innocent situations that bring a bit of humanity to the sometimes frivolous world of fashion that is, as the artist him/herself notes can be too serious at times.

At So Catchy! we spoke to the brains behind “When They Were Kids”, the blog that talks about the ‘possibly’ childhoods of the great icons of the fashion world.


SO CATCHY!: Who is the person behind “When they were kids”?

FASHION CARTOONIST: I was born in one the world’s four fashion capitals. I studied business, but really I have always had a passion for drawing cartoons: in school I was famous for drawing caricatures of all my teachers and schoolmates!

I work in fashion, but – contrary to what you may think – I am not fashion-obsessed.

SC!: How did you come up with the idea of creating this blog and why did you make it about “fashion celebrities”?

FC: I was once browsing in a bookshop where the Kids Section was for some reason right next to the Fashion Section… The idea just presented itself. Within minutes I had thought of the first ten cartoons and I had to stop and write down all the ideas before I forgot them.

I now always carry a small sketchbook to jot down any idea the moment it strikes me.

SC!: Are you the only person working on the project?

FC: Yep, it’s a one-cartoonist operation.

But I do have someone special (and very demanding!…) who’s always the first to see and review every idea and cartoon: if I don’t get “approval”, I’m back to the sketch pad or to my laptop.

SC!: What criteria do you use to make your cartoons? Tell us about your creative process.

FC: I keep up to date on recent fashion news, and the ideas for the jokes and the situations depicted in the cartoons kind of appear in my mind! Sometimes they are immediately clear, sometimes they are more elusive and I need to try and try until they work.

To create the actual characters, I look at images of the person I want to draw and try to imagine what he or she may have looked like as a kid. I work on several sketches until I feel I got it right.


SC!: Have any of these fashion celebrities tried to reach “When they were kids” to congratulate you on your work (or to criticize what you do)?

FC!: Yes, I had a few people reach out. Luckily nobody complained so far!

SC!: What is fashion for you?

FC: I like a quote from Miuccia Prada, who said: “What you wear is how you present yourself to the world, especially today, when human contacts are so quick. Fashion is instant language.”

But when one goes too far, may I add, it can become instant humor!

SC!: What do you want to say with your blog, I mean, what do you want to show us?

FC: My blog is, in its own way, a tribute to the extraordinary personalities that populate the fashion world. I also believe that, while fashion is definitely a very important and serious business, sometimes we take it too seriously: my cartoons put fun, irony and humor back into it!


SC!: What are you going to do next, do you have any plans?

FC: I will continue to create new cartoons. Eventually, I would love to find new ways to give life to the characters I have created. Would you buy a little Anna t-shirt or a little Karl print?!

SC!: What would you like to do in the future, let´s say in 5 years?

FC: Sell Whentheywerekids.com to Facebook for $ 19 billion?!

SC!: What´s your favorite online fashion magazine or blog and why?

FC: Of course I love all the websites and blogs that covered my work in over 27 countries, which has been amazing! Right now SoCatchy is getting higher on my list… 😉

I’ll also mention Business of Fashion: a great resource on what is going on in the business. I collaborate with them and they regularly post my cartoons, which shows they have a great sense of humor!

All images courtesy of the Fashion Cartoonist

Post by Esther María Portilla and Anabel Cuervas

Translated by Michael Padilla

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