After months of releasing mostly male-centric editions, we’re taking the testosterone way down to focus on one of life’s most puzzling enigmas—Girls. Chapter 59’s recent release features some of our favorite female personalities, all of whom we believe embody the idea of ‘modern feminism’— in other words, women who do exactly what they want, how they want, and make no excuses for it.
But why stop at the book? We want to continue the celebration of women making an impact, so we’re introducing you a new segment: Femme of the Month, where we’ll be highlighting women who deserve the spotlight.
They say you are what you eat, but thanks to artist Gretchen Roehrs, you are what you wear. Roehrs is turning over a new leaf and making food fashionable. Her twist on classic 2D designs are full of flavor with illustrated traditional ladies wearing leafy green dresses, bright citrus skirts, jumpers made of radishes, and plenty more. With an ever-growing fanbase nearing 60,000 followers on Instagram, it’s hard to distinguish if this young artist is pushing the boundaries on fashion blogging or bending the way we see food porn.
Naming Jason Wu and Lucian Freud as some of her favorite artists and designer Rei Kawakubo a master of patterned and textured recipes, it’s no wonder this San Francisco native is making marks deeper than a Belgian waffle. Take a look at her Instagram and interview to see what this artist and visionary is cooking up.
Tell us a bit about yourself.
My childhood was spent running around and playing make-believe in fields in rural Missouri, which allowed me to be creative and wild. I left those fields just as quick as I could and went to New York before settling in San Francisco. I’m 26.
Your mini bio on Instagram is ‘Still playing with food’—do you remember the first time you played with food? Were you scolded by your parents?
I have been playing with food since my parents placed bowls and cups in front of me as a child. They have always encouraged my creativity, but made me clean up any messes I made along the way.
I love the peach / fur coat piece you did—comparing peach fuzz to fur is genius! Do you see food differently now? Do you now see food in regards to color, texture, and pattern?
I’ve always been a little overwhelmed with markets and stores—anywhere that has an abundance of textures and colors—because my mind has a hard time concentrating on anything that’s not visual. Fashion is one form of art where texture is maybe one of the most important features… you’re wearing it on your body, you know!
What is your favorite food to work with?
I don’t have a long history of working with foods, but the banana peel is certainly the most fun (and least tempting to eat!)
Tell us a bit about bridging the gap between eating food and fashion.
There are tremendous parallels between fashion and food culture. Both really cater to the visual sense, but it’s just as important that they have a pleasing texture. Fashion is a lot like cooking in that you can make up for average ingredients or fabrics with beautiful execution and care. Christina Tosi of Milk Bar does with with her delicious compost cookies just as well as Rei Kawakubo can turn a trash bag into a gown.
Have you always had jobs in art and fashion? How did you get your start?
In school, I earned my BFA in Fashion Design and Product Development, so I have always straddled this odd line of technical designer and fine artist. It gives me a lot of variety in what I do, but I often get distracted when focusing on only one. That’s how this whole food series came about—I was doodling around my lunch while designing an iPhone app.
Is there a difficult food you have in mind that you’re dying to make work?
I’m dying to get my hands on a pineapple.
Who are some of your favorite designers and artists?
While I’m not brave enough to wear them, I am so taken with the subversive collections from Hussein Chalayan. Chalayan’s coffee table dress was one of the first looks that made me fall in love with everything fashion could be. Personally, I think anything Jason Wu puts down the runway is exquisite. As far as fine artists go, John Currin and Lucian Freud create such fantastical and odd portraits that feel almost voyeuristic.
What is your favorite color?
What is your favorite food? Does this have anything to do with shape and color?
I live for grapefruit. The astringent scent, the ruby red color, the spherical shape—I even used to douse myself with Marc Jacobs Grapefruit cologne back in the early 2000s. The day they stopped making that was the day I stopped wearing fragrances. Bring it back, Marc!
Would you ever consider turning your radish jumper into an actual piece of clothing?
Maybe for an infant! I could see Jeremy Scott doing something edgy with the idea.
Could you see yourself collaborating with other designers? If so, who?
Certainly! Collaborating is one of the most exciting things about being an artist. I would love to take a sharpie to a Mansur Graviel bag…
Lastly, what does the next year look like for you?
I work in tech, so lots more coding and designing by day.