Categories FashionPosted on

Sadie Williams

"I’ve always been quite mad about clothes. I used to choose my outfits for school from when I was a really little girl because my primary school had no uniform, so I remember experimenting with my style from then."

When did your passion for fashion start?
I’ve always been quite mad about clothes. I used to choose my outfits for school from when I was a really little girl because my primary school had no uniform, so I remember experimenting with my style from then.

What was it like working with JW Anderson, Marc by Marc Jacobs and Katie Hillier?
I met hillier when I was 18 and when I first started working for her as an intern I was still quite a shy teenager. It really opened my eyes to seeing how a creative business works and functions in London. I love Katie and her team and continued to work with her for year and still ask her for advice with my own label. Working with Marc By Marc was amazing because Katie Hillier was on board, and so was Luella Bartley, who I idolised as a teenager. Working with Jonathan was so important because not only was I able to really contribute because his team was still very small and he was a young and growing designer, but it really exposed me to how tough it can be running your own label, yet exciting too.

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She wears Sadie William’s look, shoes Ganor Dominic, ring Calvin Klein and necklace Evra the art of Eve.

When did you decide to start your own collection, and why?
After graduating from CSM in 2013 I went on to do a Selfridges ‘Bright young Things’ projects, which the people from ‘& Other Stories’ noticed and approached me about doing a collection for them. Just before my collaboration launched I had an interview with journalist Sarah Mower, who is a great champion of young designers in London, and she invited me to apply for Newgen sponsorship. So it took off from there really.

What kind of feedback did you get on the collection?
The feedback was really positive, and I think that people enjoyed that I had focused on creating innovative and new textiles that were highly crafted.
I had just launched my high-street collection for & Other Stories, so I wanted my first debut collection under my own label to steer away from commerciality for a moment and express my brand identity as a textile driven fashion designer.
So I created pieces in embossed silk velvets, padded printed lurex pieces, foil printed melton-wools, silk-organza’s with metallic leather applique and woven appliques patches using metallic Indian ribbons.
But the creation of an entire collection of such labour intensive pieces is exceptionally expensive and time consuming. So I now work hard to continue incorporating these special elements into each collection, whilst also offering pieces that are simpler, lighter and often more desirable and wearable.

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She wears Sadie William’s look, shoes Ganor Dominic necklace Topshop.

Do you feel there’s a significant interest in young designers at the moment?
I think there’s always going to be a significant interest in young designers, because by its nature, fashion should be engaged with the modern world, creating original, innovative and exciting new work.
But I do not feel that there is particularly more of an interest in young designers than there is in the label heavy big brands, whose huge theatrical events and celebrity heavy content is constantly being pushed into the media, especially via social media.

How do you select the materials you use, and what is your inspiration for these?
I often like to mix different kinds of fabrics/textures and colours together. I particularly love finding something that may seem tacky, cheap or a bit off key and then using my skills in textile design to manipulate/alter and elevate the fabrics into something special, original and modern. So often I will source things from cheap fabric shops or markets, or buy vintage or folk pieces and entwine these into my work.

What do you think of eco-fashion?
This is definitely an important issue and I’m glad that there seems to be a shift towards thinking more responsibly regarding the environment. I definitely design pieces without thinking about trends, because I want to create special pieces that I hope people will cherish and want to keep for a long time, or archive. I hate the idea of people buying things and chucking them away so quickly!
I do find it quite tricky to work on the kind of textile that I create using eco-fabrics, but I do make efforts to bring waste down and often introduce recycling and up-cycling into my work, often using old stock fabrics or resourcefully sourcing fabrics swatches that would otherwise be thrown out. I also feel it’s important to bring the carbon foot-print of manufacturing down, so I make everything in the UK and try to be as resourceful as possible so as to create as little wastage as possible.

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She wears Sadie William’s look, shoes Ganor Dominic rings Alexia Jordan , earring Evra the art of Eve.

Was there anyone in your family who inspired your passion to design?
Yes for sure. My mum works a lot in textiles on soft furnishings, so I grew up going to fabric shops with her. And my dad is a primary school teacher and was always doing creative things with us as children, so there were always lots of crafty and arty materials to play around with growing up. My aunt is also a stylist, so I was exposed to some elements of the fashion industry from quite a young age through seeing her work too.

How do you balance creativity with commerce?
It’s tricky and I’m learning as I go along. I am still very much trying to build a sustainable business from what I do, and would not be able to have created the collections I have made without the support I receive from Newgen sponsorship and the BFC. So for that I am very lucky.

What else inspires you?
All sorts! I don’t like the idea of pigeon holing inspiration to one area. I find it in markets, E-bay, photography books, exhibitions, charity shops, people watching etc.

What do you like in London in terms of fashion?
I like that L0ondon is quite playful in it’s style, more open to mixing colours, prints and textures, an perhaps sometimes looking a little on the scruffy side! I never feel polished enough in Paris and New York!

What’s the craziest dream you’ve ever had?
Oh gosh, not sure! I’m not the best at remembering my dreams, but I had one recently where everyone had to wear ice skates to walk anywhere, even though it wasn’t icy.

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She wears Sadie William’s look, shoes Ganor Dominic, cuff Evra the art of Eve ring and necklace on the arm Alexia Jordan.

One final question… As SEEN magazine is about art, architecture, culture, music, fashion, gastronomy, shopping and entertainment, what are your personal recommendations of what to do in London by day and at night?
I’m a London girl and I love London so much! There are so many great markets and boot sales in London. My local Portobello Market is great on a Friday morning for vintage clothing and bric-a-brac, and Shepherds Bush is fantastic for fabrics, kitsch accessories and knick-knacks, whilst also selling great food from around the world. We have so many beautiful parks, so when the weathers nice I like going to walk in Hyde Park and visiting the Serpentine Gallery in the middle. This is only a short walk from one of my favourite museums, the V&A. My studio is based by the canal in East London, which has some great cafes, like The Towpath which opens every Spring/Summer and serves delicious brunches and cakes (served on old French plates my mum sold to them from her brocante stall at Spitalfields Market). East London has one of my favourite bookshops, Donlon Books, on Broadway Market, which is worth visiting on a market day. There are hundreds of ace museums and galleries in London, which are free or have very cheap ticket prices, like The Photographers Gallery in Soho, and The Whitechapel Gallery in Aldgate, East London. I quite like visiting galleries when there are late night entries on Thursdays, Fridays or Saturdays at many places like The Tate Modern and The V&A. If you are visiting London you there are tons of cool pop-up bars like Franks bar on a car-park roof in Peckham, but I think it’s essential that you go and have some pints in a nice local pub somewhere too!

www.sadiewilliams.co.uk

Credits

  • Text Enric Montserrat
  • Photographer Alex Piñero
  • Videographer Stina Rattasepp
  • Art Director Pedro Rosenblat
  • Stylist Jessica Gazzurelli
  • Hair Stylist Weic Lin
  • Make Up Kite Chuang
  • Model Laura B. @ Named Models
  • Production by SEEN Concept

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