Sadie Williams’ stark white London studio is a clear contrast to the designer’s signature high intensity color combinations and vivid print design, providing a clean slate in which to create her playful collections. Animated samples hang from racks and sparkling Swarovski crystal embroideries cover moodboards, acting as the backdrop for a lively discussion of fashion (and personal) influences with the London born designer.
In chatting with Williams about her processes, a running theme of communication comes to light. As a graduate of Central Saint Martins`, excelling in textile manipulation, symbols, shapes, and colors are a means of storytelling developed through abstract messaging.
Williams walks us through her techniques, chronicling her SS17 collection, and offering personal tidbits that give insight into the creative’s character.
First fashion memory?
Morning of my third birthday, on my parent’s bed, opening my present of a Chinese turquoise satin dress, and loving it.
Favorite song on your playlist?
I quite like playing Sia’s ‘The Greatest’ at the moment because she keeps singing “I got stamina”, which is quite good for motivational studio vibes!
What do you think of the role of fashion in providing a social commentary?
Fashion is absolutely always going to reflect the times that we are in, which I feel makes it one of the most fascinating things about working in this field. I love studying the social context for historical dress, and feel it’s really important to understand and respect this when using anything from the past as a reference point.
This collection played a lot with communication and hidden meanings – what moment/concept inspired that?
I’ve always loved bold graphic flags, quilts, banners, and sportswear etc., and when someone showed me the bold and simple flags that spell out the nautical alphabet, I instantly loved them and knew that there was so much that I could work with in a way that was true to myself. I’ve also always preferred to be more abstract in communicating my strengths in pattern & print, and have always shied away from slogans or text based logos (hence the shape I like to use for my logo). So after I delved into my nautical theme more, I kept picking up on all these great signals and codes that I wanted to incorporate, embellish, and in some-ways, distort into my collection.
What’s your take on gender and how that relates to fashion?
I’ve always been a mix of quite feminine, yet also a real tomboy, so it’s definitely something I like to play with in my work. A lot of my friends and peers also dress in clothes typically designed or associated to another gender, and so this doesn’t feel like something unnatural to me or ‘fashion’ in general at the moment. I’m often asked if I’ll consider doing menswear or making men’s versions of certain pieces (and I have previously made a successful unisex range of sweatshirts for Selfridges) but for now I’ve been focusing on my womenswear label. Never say never!
Your favorite hobby?
Hunting/rummaging for bargains in Portobello and Shepherds Bush markets and charity shops.
Describe your Spring/Summer collection in 3 words or less.
Glistening, coastal, tactile.
Next vacation destination?
Not sure! No holiday planning until I’m back from the showrooms at Paris Fashion Week! But I would love to go far, have an adventure this year; I’m thinking about going back to Japan.