From Disney to DKNY: Dallas Shaw has become an in-demand fashion illustrator and style consultant.
In the sixth grade, most kids busy themselves by doodling notes during class. When Pennsylvania-native Dallas Shaw was in sixth grade, her talent for sketching went far beyond scribbles, and she was begging Disney for work. “I wrote a letter to the head animator, Mark Henn, and asked him for a job,” Shaw says with a laugh. “He wrote back and said he couldn’t hire me but that he would help me if I really wanted to do this.” Shaw’s tenacity paid off, and with Henn’s guiding hand, she landed a job at the famed studios in Florida upon graduating from Marywood University with a degree in illustration. But while working with the creator of Princess Jasmine in Aladdin was a dream come true, Shaw soon realized that another, more pressing desire had taken hold of her. “Something was missing,” she explains. “I loved clothes, and I wanted to work in fashion.”
With no previous experience—save for designing fashion magazines for her mother as a child—Shaw started her own business creating whimsical fashion illustrations and sharing style tips. With her signature elegant style and fanciful designs, it wasn’t long before DKNY approached her to design the Twitter avatar for their fictional fashionista DKNY PR Girl. “I saw a definite change with their support,” Shaw says. “The company got behind me as an artist and a brand.” After moving back up north and settling in Wilmington, Delaware, assignments for New York’s Fashion Week soon followed, and then the chance to work with some of Shaw’s sartorial icons like Oscar de la Renta, Ralph Lauren, and Kate Spade.
Her latest collaboration allows the illustrator not only to draw, but to flex her muscles as a style expert as well. Shaw is partnering with Glossybox, a subscription-based beauty service, to curate the products for their June offering as well as to design the packaging. The collection features items from Shaw’s previous clients like Estée Lauder as well as nail polish that she created for the new brand Bondi.
Her success is the result of years of schooling and plain hard work, but even Shaw was surprised at how quickly she’s risen from simple illustrator to It Girl. “This year has been really exciting and overwhelming,” she says. “I just hope that it continues.”
When the frenetic energy of New York or LA reaches a fever pitch, though, Shaw’s also glad to be able to return to her home in Wilmington. “It’s nice to duck away from all the craziness,” she says. “I get a little bit of an escape. People here are really sweet, and you have a lot of a space.”
With Shaw’s meteoric rise in the fashion community, she may not have many free days ahead. But she’s not worried: “I’m so excited every day that [this is] my job,” she gushes. “I feel so lucky.”