Sunday Best Market Creatives Interviews: Part 1
Monster Alphabets was formed by Sarah Watanabe in 2012. Her designs are extremely unique, a little dark and high in quality. I spoke to her about her influences and working in the industry.
How did you become a fashion designer?
I have always been creative but my desire to pursue design in a smaller scale lead me to fashion.
What influences you when you create a collection?
I tend to have some sort of evocative feeling that I want to express every season. Then it's just a matter of trying to develop that feeling into visual elements. It may sound intense but it's actually quite a loose process. I never tie myself down to a theme. I give myself flexibility and freedom to experiment and have fun.
How do you come up with new ideas?
I have a very hands on approach- I do my own pattern making and toiles and that's when new ideas and new methods are born.
What is the hardest thing about being a fashion designer/ working in the industry?
The hardest thing about being a designer is the unpredictability of the industry. It can be good and bad...
What would be your advice for new designers entering the Perth fashion scene?
My advice is to be kind to one another. It is a small industry, we all have to stick together.
Wild Horses was established by Natalie Donovan after graduating from Fremantle TAFE with a Diploma in Design and Textiles. Donovan's designs are fresh and edgy, combining fine fabrics and beautiful colour palettes to create gorgeous pieces at affordable prices.
How did you become a fashion designer? Have you always wanted to be one?
That sounds so weird being called a Fashion Designer! I'd say I am a woman that multi tasks a lot! Like many of us when we have a lot of things going at once. lol I have always loved design and styling so naturally the desire to become a Designer of some sort came to the top of my mind in my mid-twenties.
Where does your inspiration come from for your designs?
I would have to say ... from my mind!??*+&^%?
I like to imagine a lot and daydream.....creating shapes and lines in my head...which then evolves into structures of garments. From there it keeps changing and evolving into a beautiful piece of clothing for someone amazing to wear.
You are about to launch your new SS15/16. What is the collection about?
This range is all about being strong, fierce and versatile. The collection speaks beauty from within and takes us on a wild goose chase of pretty pastels, exclusive prints in two colourways and the feeling of silky smooth silk/satin fabrics that feel like feathers against your skin.
You are known for your beautiful exclusive prints. How do you go about selecting these?
I work closely with my Graphic Designer, who is based in Melbourne. She is the best and knows everything about printing and what's coming in for next season's trends. Because we have to develop the print a year in advance, sometimes you get overwhelmed by it all and forget how beautiful the journey is. The hardest part is choosing colours!
What would be your advice for those wanting to launch their own fashion label?
Baby steps are a key element for success. And doing things right from the beginning, no cutting corners! Go with your gut instincts.
Sab Five Five was established in 2005 with the opening of the flagship boutique in Claremont, Western Australia. Designer Sabrina Wong creates collections of trans-seasonal and beautifully intricate pieces. I interviewed Sabrina about her life as a designer.
How did you become a fashion designer?
Actually I started my business with a friend and she was the fashion designer and I was the stylist. After a year she decided to leave our business to pursue in her family business. After she left I was just selling other labels. Initially I had no confidence and was afraid of judgement so I started only designing for myself. While wearing my own designs, I had customers asked me if they could buy them. This motivated me to create more unique pieces and slowly it built up my confidence and I started my label sab five five.
Your designs are very unique, what / who influences you when you create a collection?
I am inspired by many things, especially when I travel I see culture and people. The texture and flow of their cultural outfits excite me. I am very much influenced by a mix of Japanese, Indian, tribal African, native Malaysia cultures and costumes. I love to pair Japanese kimonos with low crotch male Indian pants. It's such a mismatch but a unique combination. This collection for TPFF has a tribal woman's face wearing her cultural outfit. It's an original painting by a local BRUNEI young artist Wilson Lau printed on organic linen fabric. This collection is called "bumiputra" originated from a Sanskrit word meaning "the sons of soil"!
What is an average day for you in your studio in Brunei?
I usually see clients during the day. When all appointments are done I work with my sewers. I look at the finished products that I created and do more alterations while I try everything on to ensure that it fits comfortably. I often discover new ways of wearing a particular design.
In three words, who is the Sab Five Five woman?
Confident, individualism, powerful
What is your advice for young designers entering the fashion industry?
Go with your intuition. If you are passionate about what you do you will succeed. It's not about the destination is about the journey! Find joy in what you do and appreciate every moment that you are living your dream.
Thank you Sarah from Monster Alphabets, Natalie from Wild Horses and Sabrina from Sab55 for taking the time to chat to me.
You can find these designers and more at Sunday Best Market for TPFF, this Sunday, August 30 10am - 4pm at WA Museum.