Madison Chamberlain, fashion designer + artist
Madison Chamberlain has a love for fashion and, well, dogs. Don't we all? But how does this talented millennial tie both together? ART. This creative educator has been making some big waves with bright, vibrant colors that seem to be sparking joy around the web. Learn more about her custom pieces for some pretty big names.
Madison, you are on a unique journey. Can you tell us how you went from fashion to dogs?
Definitely a bizarre series of events, but here it is. I had/have a podcast that I co-host with my best friend (podcast is currently on a hiatus). We had scheduled an interview with New York City influencer, Chinae Alexander. My mom taught me to never show up anywhere empty handed, so I decided to bring her a gift. What do you bring a person that already gets gifted awesome free things from cool brands on the daily? I wanted this gift to have meaning to her, so I decided to create a painting of her most prized possession... her new pup, Dingo! She was really touched and loved the painting and posted a ton of Instagram stories about it, tagging me, for all of her 150k followers to see. My DMs were flooded with potential customers who saw the painting I did of Dingo, and wanted one of their own!
You seem to keep a pretty consistent color palette. What inspires you to stick with these bright, eye-catching hues? You’re also an educator. How do you incorporate all your learnings into your lesson planning?
Honestly, my favorite color palettes are ones that make my eyes feel good. The ones that trigger this happy eye feeling for some reason always end up being extremely bright and vibrant. I like colors that evoke joy!
Like a rainbow painting, and my hot pink puffer jacket, and my glitter vans. It’s kind of hard to have a bad day when you are dousing your paintings and your body in sparkling bright things.
Currently I assistant teach, so for the most part I don’t create my own lesson plans (which I’m okay with, because it is a lot of planning). I work with some bad ass ladies though who do, and they always create some really fun activities for the kids. We do some fashion related projects at times and they kind of let me take the reigns, I have brought in my portfolio and college projects to look at and the kids went crazy for it! “Ms. Madison can I be your model?!” I love encouraging the kids to be creative as possible, I think that makes them happiest as well.
What is the biggest lesson YOU have learned along the way in this industry? Obviously we LOVE what you are doing, but as creatives, most of us want MORE. What is your ultimate goal with your work?
Ugh. Wow. What a loaded question.
The biggest lesson I have learned to date is, I AM NOT MY JOB, AND MY JOB DOES NOT DEFINE MY WORTH. I think we live in a ego centric, “success” obsessed society. There.. I said it.
Lol. Meaning from a young age we are programmed to think the only way we will be happy or deemed successful is if we get a degree, a fancy job title, a 401k, marriage, and babies... in that order! I worked hard for my degree in fashion design, had the fancy job title at a cool company, and a 401k, I was “successful”. But I was miserable. The fashion industry turned out to be a lot different than I had imagined, and my values started to shift. To be frank, the excitement of being able to say “I’m a designer for this company”, when strangers would ask what I did for a living, wore off. The ethical and ecological negative impact the fashion industry is putting on the world, and the constant anxiety to perform is all I could focus on. So I quit, and was faced with an even scarier question. Who am I without my job? To make a long story short, I have done a ton of work on myself over these past few months really trying to decipher what makes me happy and what is just feeding my ego. That being said, my ultimate goal with my work is for it to always be completely aligned with my integrity and values. My “end” goal is to create my own fashion brand that is sustainable, eco friendly, ethical, inclusive to all sizes and gender, humane to its employees, that gives a shit, and gives back to the world/community!
Interviewed by Emily