In celebration of International Women’s Day and women around the world, we’ve started a new series on Disney Style focusing on young women who shine in their careers and do remarkable things with their love of Disney. “Because I’m a Lady” is a series that honors Disney girl bosses who channel their inner Marie and live life confidently.
We chatted with esteemed fashion illustrator Dallas Shaw, who began her career as an animator for Disney and now works with everyone from Chanel to Christian Louboutin.
How did you get started in your career?
For me, it really did all start with a mouse. I was working with Disney in the Animation building that used to be in Florida, and while many of the animators were turning to digital, my heart was still in 2D design. So, I decided to start my own business in fashion illustration, taking inspiration from everywhere, including from what I had learned at Disney.
How was the transition into your solo career?
I was teaching art to middle school students in between jobs, and at night, I built my own business illustrating fashion online. I practically begged designers to let me prove myself to them. DKNY was the first to agree to a collaboration. They shared my name and work with everyone in their building, and within a year, I was working for some of the biggest names in the industry! It was truly a dream come true.
How did your love of Disney inspire you to pursue your dream?
I grew up watching Disney movies, sketching, and studying animation and imagineering. The movies, the artists, the Park design—they all held the reoccurring theme that nothing was impossible, and everything was magic. That’s what kept me going, and it’s still what keeps me in pursuit today.
You’ve worked with everyone from Disney to Chanel. How do the projects differ?
Brands hire me to lend my own style to a marketing campaign of theirs and in turn, share that project online with my followers. While every project is very stylized, each one is unique. Sometimes, I draw and sometimes I design from my own creativity. One of my favorite partnerships, in fact, was with Disney Style! I was asked to turn one of my favorite Princesses, Cinderella, into a fashion powerhouse using custom illustration.
When did your love of Disney begin?
I’ve always been a Disney girl! I decided I wanted to be a part of the company when I was very young. I wrote to the head animator in 6th grade and asked him for a job. He was kind enough to respond and give me some guidance. I interned with Disney through college and visited every summer after. I’ll always have a special place in my heart for Disney and still try to visit often.
How does Disney inspire your artistic design?
Oh, you can see my Disney design training for suuuuure in every project. I don’t know how to describe it but to this day, I still begin each fashion illustration and project concept with circles, which is what they taught me at Disney.
Which Disney character is your favorite to draw?
I used to love sketching Lilo and Stitch. Their proportions are so interesting and basically the complete opposite of what I do right now!
You have a new book coming out this month! Can you tell us a little bit about what to expect?
Of course! It’s called “The Way She Wears It; An Insiders Guide to Finding Your Personal Style” and its a look book-meets-workbook broken up seasonally to help readers find their own personal style. It’s made up of style challenges at all levels to help you figure out what you love and what you don’t, all on your own. It’s also full of beautiful products and illustrations to keep you visually inspired, of course.
What would you tell girls who want to venture out on their own?
Just go for it. Don’t question it, don’t doubt it—just do it. People tell me what they dream of doing every day and I can’t understand why you wouldn’t do everything you could possibly do to create your dream life and career. With the right training and eagerness, you can really do anything.
To nominate someone doing something incredible with their love of Disney, be sure to tag @disneystyle on Instagram and use the hashtag #BecauseImALady.