Fei Wang - better known as Mr Slowboy - talks us through his artistic and sartorial inspirations, and discusses the nature of tradition, the resurgence in fashion illustration, and making a living doing what you love.
Mr Slowboy first came to our attention through Instagram back in the early days of 2016. We really loved what we saw; the wit, the skill of his artwork and his modern take on fashion illustration. We couldn’t help himself, and thus reached out to Fei Wang; the talented artist behind the Slowboy moniker. We asked if Slowboy might be interested in collaborating with Goods on something fun for the store. We’re so delighted that he said yes and his drawings have been on the walls of the store, in our windows and on our postcards ever since. What he ended up creating for us was pure magic; a triptych of Hannes, Kasper and Mark hanging out by Kasper’s old Volkswagen Beetle. Fei asked us about our interests and Hannes said music while Kasper answered food. Mark was off that day and so Kasper and Hannes decided to reveal Mark's only interest being chasing girls! Fei's drawing ended up perfectly visualising this trifecta, whilst also managing to depict us in some of our favourite items of clothing from the store. Suffice to say we love his work and hope to keep collaborating with Slowboy in the future!
So without further ado, here is the interview from Drake's:
I spent the previous 12 years making all sorts of advertisements in the creative department of an American ad agency in Beijing, while illustration was always my biggest hobby on the side. I have been interested in menswear since I was in college, and my focus shifted from street style to classic menswear and workwear. In June 2015, I started a personal blog on social media called ‘Slowboy’ to share my knowledge, experience and tips about men’s fashion through writing and illustration, which was well received by my colleagues and friends, who encouraged me to post stuff more frequently. Later in the year I moved to London to be reunited with my wife, and finally jumped off the boat and became a full-time menswear illustrator.
The tide has changed direction towards traditional menswear over the past few years. I remember when I opened my account on Instagram in late November 2015, the first few posts only gained 10 or 20 likes, and just one month later I got my first commercial project from Lock & Co Hatters. I couldn’t really believe it when I received the message from their PR manager – they’re probably one of the best hatters in the world and have been in business for more than 250 years. I’m definitely lucky enough to have accelerated the reach of my illustrations with the power of the current ‘menswear boom’.
One of my favourite fashion artists, and a great influence on me, is Kazuo Hozumi. He invented a brand new visual language to depict men’s apparel, in a vivid, cute and light-hearted, yet iconic style. His work was nurtured by the distinctive Kawaii culture of Japan, and was revolutionary in a sense that changed the way people saw clothes. The iconic cartoonish round face, huge eyes and smiles are so lovable and well designed by using basic geometric shapes and simple clear lines. On one hand, these classic and systematic designs make his illustrations a perfect match to ‘traditional’ menswear which also has basic shapes and timeless designs, and on the other hand, the trend of making menswear less serious and more approachable echoes Hozumi-san’s artistic expressions.
It might sound cliché, but I see myself as a global citizen, though I don’t speak many languages, but I like mixing things together and blurring time and space. I’m really grateful for my background in advertising, it trained me to be very open to all kinds of resources of inspirations, and only create universal ideas applicable to everyone across the world regardless of ethnicities and cultures. At the end of the day, one’s artwork is just a reflection of one’s self.