Where biology has its taxonomic classification of kingdoms, the internet has Fashion Biologique, the diligent Instagram account charting the wonders of the runway with the marvels of nature.
When asked what inspired most to get into fashion, the typical knee-jerk answer would be their mother’s copy of Vogue. Typical as this introduction may be, one that stands to be a collective awakening for many, it is admittedly wildly unimaginative. For some, the interest doesn’t come much later and from the unlikeliest of sources. “My father took my Vogue away, so I read the encyclopedia instead,” and so writes self-confessed fashion late bloomer, Jill Sherman, the diligent scribe behind the fascinating Instagram account, Fashion Biologique.
A humorous and ironic telling of what actually was her foray into her combined interests, it all began when she was 10 years old, which involved everything from her father, an unplugged television, and a garbage bin. “We had the entire Encyclopedia Britannia collection on the bookshelf,” she narrates to Elle Singapore. “So I started reading them instead of watching television. The photos of the plants and animals managed to stay with me.” Setting a precedent of what would eventually become a pursuit of passion with the Instagram account documenting her curiosities with, Fashion Biologique is not only inspired by nature, but a verified full circle moment.
With a love for science fully established, the gravitation towards style came soon while taking art classes. “I think the two first crossed paths when I started following Alexander McQueen,” she says. “All of his designs had a natural element or inspirations, and I would always look closely to see if I could find them.”
An Instagram Source Of Fashion And Nature
Contrary to what people would assume, the Instagram venture isn’t Jill Sherman’s first internet project of the research, recount, and report nature. “In 2008, I first began comparing fashion and nature while writing the blog ‘Trend de la Creme.’ And it was Alexander McQueen who put my blog on the map with his Plato’s Atlantis collection. But after a long illness, I gave up my blog in 2012,” she details in one of her early posts as the interest started picking up in the initial onslaught of the pandemic. “Creativity has a way of gnawing at you, so I decided to begin again.”
What began with an Instagram post on the correlation of fashion and nature in a Mary Katrantzou look would spawn into an incredibly thorough fact-finding function in flora and fauna. The social media effort has managed to make focuses such as entomology, botany, and zoology not only educational, but entertaining as well. From comparisons of runway wonders and natural marvels, Fashion Biologique not only proves that inspiration is everywhere, but that fashion isn’t too far off from science.
A deep dive into the archives of aesthetic, the passion project runs the gamut of avant garde to ready-to-wear, these visceral fashion choices are paired with everything from the obvious creative conduit of aviary plumage and the perhaps unbeknownst even to the designer, a lush assortment of fungi. As is almost standard on Instagram, one does come for the fashion, however, it eventually becomes clear that after a fair amount of endless scrolling later, what keeps one latched to the retrospective is the compelling and captivating study of never-before-seen nature.
The Science Of Style
Just like the world it takes inspiration from, the future is mostly unknown for Fashion Biologique. Unlike the certainty of where things began, the rest is still unwritten for Jill Sherman. What she’s sure of is that at least on Instagram, there is a lot of fashion and nature to uncover. There are no concrete plans, but what she’s sure of is that there is no stopping now. Meanwhile, just like the joy of flipping through the encyclopedia in her youth, the rest of the internet can scroll through this evolving endeavor of life imitating art.
Fashion, flora, fauna, and fantasy—now isn’t this fun?