Journey to dreamland: Getting to know local fashion designer Robert Wilkins

Sewing patches of fabric over holes to mend jeans was only the beginning of Robert Wilkins journey to becoming an artist, photographer and fashion designer. Being the youngest member of his family,Wilkins’ creativity was displayed in his wardrobe early on in life while going through growth spurts. “Looking back now it was as much of a fashion statement as it was a sewing experiment gone wrong,” Wilkins said.

Wilkins moved to Spokane when he was three. His early interest in art had him experimenting in many art mediums. Wilkins is a self taught artist, photographer and fashion designer with credited work all over Spokane.

“I've always been an artist, I believe I was born one,” Wilkins said.

Now at the age of 21 Wilkins has taken big steps into the fashion industry. Launching his first fashion show last year in Spokane. He also has a impressive portfolio of photography including fashion photography displayed at several locations including the Spokane Transit Bus Plaza, Belle Capelli Salon, Sante restaurant and Charcuterie, and Eccochi at Northtown mall.

Wilkins’ young age could be seen as a set back to many industries. However he has managed to use his age to his benefit in an industry craving youth and talent.

“People would see my work and think I'm an experienced well-seasoned photographer. Then they would find out that I was 18 at the time and it opened many more doors for me,” Wilkins said.

Joey Newell, a fellow photographer and model, was impressed with the quality of Wilkins work when they first met, Newell said. Recalling his surprise the first time the two had worked on a project together that Wilkins was a self taught natural in the field.

“Bobby is someone of pure talent,” Newell said. “He can pull off amazing photos. It goes to show he has a natural gift”.

Inspired by humanity Wilkins’ art starts with ideas filled with passion. Collaborating with local models, photographers, and hair and makeup professionals he begins to solidify his ideas into art with hidden stories and messages.

“I perceive the reality around me, filter it and translate it into my work. I see life through rose tinted glasses, focusing on the good in people. I tend to put an emphasis on the more distorted sides of things, highlighting the "ugly" and creating things one could only dream of,” Wilkins said.

Wilkins hopes to bring real artistry back to the industry where many people are just searching for fame. Too many people sacrifice their self expression in an attempt to conform to ideals, Wilkins said.

“I've chosen a career of illusions it's easy to get lost along the way,” Wilkins said.“If you're young and talented you'll get eaten alive.”

Surrounded with a strong support system and following your moral compus is what Wilkins believes will help keep him grounded in the industry as he continues to grow.

Wilkins’ art is contentiously growing and evolving as he plunges into his projects and shares his Dreamland. Long time friend and model Hillary Murphy has been able to witness the evolution that started with doodles and led to fashion design and photography shoots.

“It has been absolutely amazing watching Bobby and his work grow and transform as he blossoms,” Murphy said.

As an artist Wilkins is determined to change the world, challenging and inspiring people to think.

“He is one in a million,” Katelyn Eyford said, a model who has worked with Wilkins on many projects. “I think everyone, if given the opportunity to meet him, would leave with stars in their eyes, dreams in their heads and a smile on their face,” Eyford said.

Wilkins is currently working and pursuing an education in Florida limiting his time to create but still sells some of his work online. You can find Wilkins work on the following links:

Story by Nejela Almohanna