Receive our Newsletter

The hush lifestyle delivered straight to your inbox with news, promotions and favourite content from our blog

  • 60 Seconds with: Niki Groom

    Photography by Remco Merbis

    Last month we had the pleasure of partnering with the woman behind Miss Magpie Fashion Spy, Niki Groom, at the launch night of our Edinburgh pop-up. For the past 15 years her amazing illustration skills have allowed her to work with brands all over the globe. In between sketching our stylish guests, we caught up with the award-winning illustrator to find out more about her career in 10 quick-fire questions...

    Describe your perfect day…
    I love spending the day painting in my home studio. I make a huge pot of coffee, find some great tunes on Spotify and generally lose track of time. So much of my work at the moment is quick sketching at events all over the world (this year I’ve worked in Santa Barbara, Berlin, Hamburg and Edinburgh for hush!) so it’s lovely to get some time at home. My cat usually curls up on the day bed and I often share pieces of what I’m doing on Instagram Live.

    The book you would recommend to everyone...
    I think everyone should read 'Why I'm No Longer Speaking to White People About Race' by Reni Eddo-Lodge. It’s made me consider my privilege growing up more and helped me change some of the ways that I think and behave.

    Your dream brand to work for...
    I used to have dream brands but now I just really value working with great creative teams on interesting projects. I’d love to do more travel illustration and I’d love to do a book; so they're ambitions of mine rather than particular brands.

    The commissions you've been most proud of...
    I worked with the charity Help Refugees in Calais in 2016 and illustrated scenes that I saw there. Many people don’t want to be photographed and so this offered a way to tell stories without being intrusive. I then worked with book designer Jim Smith to create a fundraising magazine using these reportage images. I’ve since done similar work for Refugee Women of Bristol and it’s rewarding as well as challenging.

    Describe your illustrative style in 3 words…
    Colourful, decorative and full of energy!

    Your secret hobby...
    During my 15 years as a fashion designer painting was my secret hobby, but I lost that when I became a full time illustrator. Over the past year I’ve been searching for a new pastime and the one thing that has stuck is running. It helps to clear my head and, the older I get, the more I respect my body and feel I should exercise.

    Favourite artist...
    I don’t have a favourite artist as such, but I’ve always loved paintings of women. At the moment I’m particularly drawn to oil painting, something that I’ve never tried myself.

    Where you find inspiration...
    A lot of my inspiration comes from travelling over the years. I’ve been to India about 50 times and this has really fed into my work. Last year I went to Vietnam and again that really inspired me, I love seeing hand process like indigo dye, embroidery and batik.

    On the other hand I am inspired a lot by what I find on social media. I enjoy following artists - @unskilledworker, @poppywaddilove and @buttonfruit - but then I also love seeing fantastic interiors. The body positive posts of some on Instagram also inspired me to start a blog where I illustrate 3 different women in the same outfit.   

    Biggest achievement...
    Managing to carve out a profession doing what I love. It’s a lot of hard work and I’m not sure I ever really switch off, but I wouldn’t have it any other way.

    Working on any personal projects...
    At the moment I’m working on my new website with a designer, and so in any spare time I have I am creating new art to go on there.  Once that’s done I’ll be putting together a pitch for a book that I really want to do - the time feels right for that now. 

    Photography by Remco Merbis

    Check out Niki's work on her online shop and follow her on Instagram @miss_magpie_spy!