Shira Barzilay's fashion illustrations have caught the attention of brands like Roberto Cavalli and H&M. Shira Barzilay's fashion illustrations have caught the attention of brands like Roberto Cavalli and H&M. Shira Barzilay's fashion illustrations have caught the attention of brands like Roberto Cavalli and H&M. (Photo: Zohar Shitrit)

From fashion illustration to temporary tattoos, this artist is in demand

Brands have fallen in love with Shira Barzilay's Koketit character.

Fashion illustrator Shira Barzilay is one of the fortunate few who knew from a young age what she wanted to do with her life.

"I guess my career in fashion illustration began at age 5. To my mother's detriment, my first exhibition was our house walls," the Israeli told From The Grapevine. "By the time I was 11 I regularly made cutouts of fashion figures that my sister and I used to play with, like Barbie dolls."

Fast forward to the present day, and the 33-year-old Tel Aviv resident's work is exhibited on more traditional canvases, like sneakers, shirts and even people's bodies in the form of temporary tattoos. A hot commodity in the fashion world, she's worked with such brands as Roberto Cavalli and H&M. For Barzilay, her career really got a boost during a post-college stay in Los Angeles, where she was able to attract clients more easily than she expected.

Koketit has appeared in various fashion campaigns.Koketit has appeared in various fashion campaigns. (Photo: Shira Barzilay)

"That really gave me the confidence and reassurance I needed to believe that I can make it happen, no matter where I am," she said.

Following her return to Israel, Barzilay immediately began working with globally recognized designers and brands. She also became a graphic editor for the fashion magazine GOstyle, where she still works to this day.

But it was one specific creation, her illustrated character Koketit (the term is Israeli-French slang for "fancy stylish girl") that brought her wider attention within the fashion world.

BensimonKoketit has appeared in several high profile fashion campaigns. (Photo: Shira Barzilay)

"She existed in forms of doodles even in my early sketchbooks," Barzilay explained. "One day, I made a conscious decision to name her and bring her to life, get her to navigate through the fashion world."

A few years ago Barzilay launched a temporary tattoo line called "Koketit: Not Forever Tattoos." Since then, Koketit has been used in several high-profile fashion campaigns.

"Last year I collaborated with the Israeli based H&M. It was about promoting the conscious denim collection using Koketit. Koketit cutout boards were created and displayed in the windows of flagship stores in Israel, and inside stores country-wide," Barzilay said.

Koketit's most high profile gig has been for H&M.Koketit's most high profile gig has been for H&M. (Photo: Shira Barzilay)

Other collaborations have included hand-drawing on French brand Bensimon shoes in a limited edition Koketit collection, designing a capsule collection for a line of eyewearand creating Instagram images of Koketit to promote big fashion brands.

"I always found it more interesting to design or illustrate when there is some sort of story, and Koketit helps me tell that story," Barzilay explained, noting, with a bit of irony, how her illustrated alter ego has progressed over the years. "Basically her life is way more fabulous than mine."

Popular French shoe brand Bensimon collaborated with Shira Barzilay.Popular French shoe brand Bensimon collaborated with Shira Barzilay. (Photo: Shira Barzilay)

Perhaps most impressive, however, is how aware Barzilay is about the nature of the fashion world. She isn't one of those fashion world darlings with a sense of entitlement, and she's quick to note how fortunate she feels.

"I feel very lucky in the sense that I get to make a living off of my passion. I'm glad people see my unique perspective and commission me for work. I'm grateful for it every day."

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