Instagram’s a funny old thing. It’s the social platform I use most for my blog, but sometimes it can be a bit vacuous.
Yet, if you search hard enough and bypass the #happyvibess, dodge the #fridayfeels and ignore the celebs who get 13M views for simply blowing a kiss, there’s some real gems. Insta accounts with substance and style, their talented creators exhibiting their craft.
Any artist that skilfully blends clever, striking design with 1990s R&B and streetwear styles is a winner in my eyes. It was the TLC-inspired t-shirt that caught my eye and had me scrolling down the page, swiftly followed by the iconic Sade Adu set in colourful geometric style. The image of Brandy from the Sitting Up in My Room video (*finds Brandy on Spotify and listens to I Wanna Be Down on repeat*) made my stomach ache a bit with glorious nostalgia.
Dropscotch is the brainchild of artist and illustrator Luke Davis. He started the business earlier this year with his partner Emma, as a way to combine their key passions: illustration, fashion and music. Luke trained as a journalist and worked as an editor at a London creative agency, which gave him the chance to work with incredible illustrators and designers and ensured a good foundation in the software he uses to create his striking compositions.
Their work really spoke to me as it combines two of my favourite things; ’90s R&B music and streetwear style. I grew up on the former and covet the latter. R’n’B was the soundtrack to my formative years and in the days before the likes of Spotify, digitalised music and streaming it filled my mixtapes and came crackling out of my first car stereo. I played SWV’s 1992 debut It’s About Time a million times in my early teens and remember being fascinated by TLC’s Ain’t 2 Proud 2 Beg video on MTV.
Although I’ve always been into a variety of genres of music, my tastes have further diversified with rock, indie, jazz, soul and country amongst my favourites but, to me, 1990’s R’nB doesn’t date and still sounds fresh. From a fashion perspective, you only have to look at the likes of Vetements to see how much this era has influenced current trends. I’m just as comfortable in an oversized sweatshirt and voluminous tee than I am in dress and I’m hoping to build up my trainer collection rather than heels.
Dropscotch’s Luke cites his creative influences as including the Memphis Group style of design that was popularised in the 1980s, geometric pattern-making and classical portraiture. In addition, album sleeves, editorial designs and streetwear styles provide every day motivation. The TLC and Aaliyah t-shirts are part of a series called Down in which every illustration is inspired by a classic female R&B video of the 1990s. They are going to release a few as screen printed t-shirts in the coming weeks and months, as well as signed art prints and possibly some accessories which is exciting.
And why the name Dropscotch? As Luke explains, all his favourite things drop – from basslines, to limited edition sneaker releases to dancing bodies, while hopscotch represents fun out on the street.
So there you have it, the power of Instagram. It’s worth enduring the not-so-good stuff to find a real gem like Dropscotch. I wish Luke and Emma all the very best and even though my t-shirt collection is getting a little out of control, I don’t know how long I can last before giving in to the S. Double-U. V. one.
For now, I’m off to listen to Brandy and Aaliyah like it’s 1994 (which it is usually is in my head).