Australian creative, Greta Larkins makes her mark as the fashion industry’s go-to GIF maker. WGSN’s Sarah Owen interviews the Tumblr superstar.
Behind every great Tumblr is a great artist, and such is the case for Melbourne-based creative, Greta Larkins. The 30-year-old digital creator (as highlighted in our recent youth report) has built a community of over 350,000 followers who visit her FashGIF Tumblr for a creative dose of animated runway images. WGSN caught up with Greta to chat about how her passion project caught the attention of everyone from Kenzo to The Huffington Post.
You have a huge following of around 350,000 on Tumblr, how did this come to be?
I have Tumblr to thank for my following. The team there has promoted my blog very regularly on the platform. Back when they had the ‘Spotlight’ feature where they promoted blogs they deemed to be of note in certain categories, I was featured in ‘Fashion’ alongside brands like Vogue and Marc Jacobs. That was a huge step for FashGIF and a great show of support.
Are your photoshop skills self taught or do you have a degree related to graphic design?
They are self taught. A combination of asking for help over the years, YouTube tutorials and a lot of practice. I still have skills to learn but for the most part I can retouch with confidence. No degree yet, I’m the worst student – I’d rather do dishes all day than even look at an essay.
About how long does it take you to make a GIF and what is the process?
It really depends on the idea but with every GIF I have a problem to solve, for example: how do I get clouds to grow from her shoulders? It’s about editing the background, doing very neat clipping paths and watching the loop over and over looking for mistakes and giveaways that the image has been retouched. Some GIFs take 10 minutes and others can take a day or two. I always ask myself, “will the amount of hours be worth it for the final result?” before I start.
You have done very successful collaborations with companies such as Calvin Klein, ASOS, and Nasty Gal. How were these partnerships established?
I’ve been very lucky to have been approached by these brands and work with social media teams who are really generous and open with creative direction and brain storming. I’ve worked with the Anya Hindmarch team for a few seasons now and they are truly a pleasure to collaborate with. Their product always lends itself so well to animation and they’re always open to new ideas; it’s always exciting to see what they show season in season out. I also get a big smile on my face if a brand Tweets or reblogs a GIF I’ve made featuring their work that hasn’t been a collaboration. Having support from major brands like Valentino, Proenza Schouler and Marc Jacobs, through to younger brands like Sibling and Mary Katrantzou is a real bonus and honour.
It must be overwhelming to funnel through tons of runway images, what is the deciding factor for picking your final images?
I used to work as a trend forecaster in accessories and jewellery so I’m lucky to have developed a ‘browsing’ eye! I look at every single collection each season so you very quickly get a feel for what each designer (usually) presents: this person does gowns, that person does American sportswear, London cool, Milan sleek etc. But of course then you have brands who always surprise, Marc Jacobs, Christopher Kane, Prada, Ghesquière at Louis Vuitton: so you have to be alert. No judgement! I’m looking for a great photo, something fresh, colour, a model that’s really rocking their look and a GIF that will be a new challenge for me is ideal.
Do you create GIFs with content outside of the fashion industry?
I do! Animating buildings is something I love to do and wish I did more. Anything can become a GIF, finding the humour is where the challenge lies.
What do you think about social media as a platform for individuals or companies showcasing their work? Do you advertise or use certain hashtags to gain more followers?
At this stage I don’t use hashtags, I’m only so good at self promotion! Ha! Maybe I need to lift my game but I like people to find me because they want to see my content. That said, social media is so important for brands and individuals – everyone can have their visual CV on display and that’s crucial. When I meet people who want to be writers and they’re not posting content online it’s like, how on earth are you going to get found?! Whatever it is that you do, you should be able to display it thoughtfully and consistently on the social media platform that suits you. Less is more; if you hate Twitter, don’t use it – if you only love Tumblr, stay with it and do it well. I don’t use Facebook for example and it’s not a site where I believe FashGIF needs to be.
Where do you see FashGIF in the next few years? Do you plan to be the only one behind the name or would you consider expanding?
I see FashGIF as a way for me to work my own hours and in turn allow me to focus on it and other interests simultaneously. It’s not something I aim to do forever (though who knows!) and I’m a big believer in not being too precious about your own projects, to an extent. You need quality control but you need to keep working and producing in order to improve and simply get whatever you do out there! Your first GIF, book, article won’t be a masterpiece so don’t sweat it too much and keep working. 10,000 hours etc.! I can’t really imagine working with someone else as I enjoy making GIFs so much but someone answering my emails would be pretty sweet haha! Need to lift my email game!
Follow FashGIF here.
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