Sadie Williams: “I’ve always stayed very true to myself”

The NEWGEN sponsored designer talks influences behind her SS16 collection and managing her own label

Hand-picked by the British Fashion Council, only the best upcoming designers make up the talented few eligible for NEWGEN sponsorship at London Fashion Week each year.

After a popular debut AW15 collection, Sadie Williams has, one again, become one of the chosen promising designers to receive funding and will hold an exhibition this September.

Since graduating from Central Saint Martins in 2013, the fashion-and-textile designer from London has leapfrogged her competition in the fashion world. From working alongside J W Anderson and Marc Jacobs, to being hailed one of Selfridges ‘Bright Young Things’ in 2013, Sadie’s innovative flair for textiles has set her apart since the beginning of her career.

Last season, Sadie’s playful and adventurous design ethic made a refreshing statement at London Fashion Week through her AW15 debut collection ‘Ikebana’. A bold mash-up of texture, splashes of primary colour, geometric pattern and futuristic space-suits pretty much sums up her inimitable designs.

Looking back at her successes and forward to her promising SS16 collection, it is not surprising this young designer is fast becoming an assumed name of the London Fashion Week line up.

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Sadie graduated from Central Saint Martins in 2013 with a Distinction for her work on the ‘Textiles For Fashion’ pathway

Ikebana featured a mash up of strong silhouettes, futuristic materials and Japanese flower arranging. What can we expect from your SS16 collection?

I have continued a flower theme, this time incorporating it into the collection. I like mash-ups and juxtapositions, so I’m taking some quite grown up silhouettes and mixing them with more youthful elements. I’ve been looking at old photos from school and I’m making it a bit more personal to me, my experience of dressing up and my personal style.

What’s been the most challenging aspect of making this collection so far?

There are always challenges. I suppose because I am fairly new to running my own label and business, the main challenge is trying to organise my time and interns, because unfortunately you end up spending a huge amount of time doing admin and getting to grips with the business side of things whilst still being a designer!

I’ve been looking at old photos from school and I’m making it a bit more personal to me.

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AW15 collection ‘Ikebana’ featured bold futuristic designs juxtaposed to delicate oriental flower displays

How have you changed as a designer since your graduation from Central Saint Martins? Do you have different influences or a different perspective on the industry?

I’ve always stayed very true to myself so rather than a change there is an evolution. When doing my graduate collection, there was never an urge  or pressure to create something commercially viable – instead I took it as an opportunity to boldly announce myself as a designer specialising in print and textiles.

I’ve always stayed very true to myself, so rather than a change there is an evolution.

So in a way I have had to depart from this mindset because I want to be able to make this sustainable and make living from what I do.

But having said that, I do still spend a lot of time working on creating pieces that are not necessarily commercial, but instead are rather more of a spectacle or something special that I wanted to create. Textiles can work out to be very expensive and labour intensive.


Sadie made her statement playful pieces a commercial reality in her capsule collection with Swedish brand ‘& Other Stories’

If you could design for anyone, who would it be and why?

I honestly never have a set muse in mind when I design. But I love working on special project briefs, collaborations and commissions. I guess it would be amazing one day to create a piece or an outfit for a performance or music video for a strong woman that I admire – someone like Björk, PJ Harvey, Kate Bush or Yoko Ono.

You can see Sadie’s SS16 collection at her upcoming exhibition at London Fashion Week from the 18th to the 23rd September.


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