No matter what platform we use, we're surrounded by amazing drone photography. On a daily basis, you may be scrolling through a mile's worth of overhead shots of foreign terrains you dream about visiting. We all love seeing a pilot's latest shots on Instagram and Facebook, but what if they were also on your clothes? Drone technology and fashion are constantly evolving industries. Now, thanks to Australian fashion designer Yumi Morrissey, these industries are converging.
To give you a little backstory, Yumi Morrissey is the creative mind behind Zilpah Tart, the Australia-based fashion brand named after her grandmother. Yumi started Zilpah Tart to create designs that are both unique and comfortable, and she created all the fabric prints she uses in her collections. After becoming interested in drones, she has further set her brand apart by incorporating her drone photography into her print designs. I was fortunate enough to interview her about her work.
It all started almost a year ago when Yumi purchased her first drone, a DJI Mavic Pro. Like many beginner pilots, she lost control of it on a windy day at the beach and eventually, its battery died over the ocean.Traumatized by this event, she quickly replaced it and aimed to be more careful. “Don’t ignore the wind warnings!!!” was her main takeaway and solid advice.
Yumi’s favorite place to fly is the coast, and her favorite images are top-down photos of the water. In her interview, she states, “I just love the view of the ocean and how [a drone’s] perspective from the sky is so, so different to what you can see from the shore. It's just so beautiful.” Living in Canberra (inland Australia), it’s only a two-hour drive for her to get to the south coast. On the weekends, she loves to escape to the beach to find new spots to fly, which explains why so many of her designs feature crystal clear waves and the blues, greens, and whites of the ocean. Broulee, a town on the south coast where the water is unbelievably blue, is one of her favorite flying locations. She’s also in love with images she’s captured higher up on the central coast where, she states, “It’s amazing that the colour of the water is so different just a few hours north, with a green tinge.”
Yumi's constantly thinking of ideas for her next fabric print and says she automatically looks at every image with a print in mind, taking into consideration patterns and how the colors and shapes would look on the body. As a result, she began to see the potential in her drone shots as possible designs.
“I also love telling stories through my use of photographs to create prints, and using these images tells a story of one of the things that makes me happy – flying my drone at the beach.”
Learning through trial and error, she has gained enough experience as a fashion designer to recognize what kinds of shapes work in prints once they’re on the body and has found that organic shapes work the best. Regarding choosing which images ultimately become designs, Yumi stated that she tries to pick an image that is already a pattern and has high contrast to make it interesting. To ensure that a design works, she also uses Photoshop to visualize what it might look like as a dress.
Moving forward, Yumi thinks she’ll continue to use drones in her business by experimenting with photos of a forest or autumn trees for a new collection, flying for photo shoots with the models, or creating promotional videos of the dresses from the drone’s perspective. When asked for words of encouragement for female pilots and businesswomen, she stated, “Follow your passion and work towards it every day. Put yourself out there. If you love what you’re doing, people can see it in your work, and they’ll want to follow you. Do more of what makes you happy. If that means heading to the beach with your drone, then make time, all the time to do that!”
Thank you, Yumi, for your encouraging words and for taking the time to share your story.
Yumi has now released two collections using her drone images for her Zilpah Tart brand and has recently released Zilpah Tart Active, an active wear brand that features drone images as well. Check out the Zilpah Tart and Zilpah Tart Active main websites and follow @zilpahtart and @zilpah_tart_active on Instagram.
I am a writer and an artist based in Georgia. Specializing in illustration, graphic design, and video art, I love to explore the new ways technology intersects with art. I think drones have done amazing things for photography and video art, making what would previously be costly and difficult more accessible. As a complete novice, it was only recently that I saw what independent artists could do with their drones, and I continue to be impressed by the sights that drones are able to explore and the images they can capture. Instagram: @tyesha.ferron