A fashion story featuring minimal and deconstructed pieces by the London based independent womenswear brand S-Ba, photographed by Marco Giuliano and styled by Anca Macavei starring muses Soileir and Mathilde.
Can you share with us your journey?
I have always been interested in making things since a very young age. I am originally from a tiny town in Western Australia with a population of 200 or so, there wasn’t really much to do there. My mum used to make all of my clothes when I was young and I remember helping her to unpick seams when I was about 7 years old. I was around 10 when I sewed my first stitch. I went to boarding school for my high school years, and during my school holidays I would dig up fabric in my mums sewing cabinet and I would try to make trousers or skirts. After a few years off from high school, unsure of what I wanted to do, I decided to enrol in a three year Fashion and Textiles course at NMT in Perth, Western Australia. I realised then that this is the path I want to follow. I still think of those three years as some of my best years, and am grateful of the support and help from my lecturers who are now my friends today. Alongside studying, I was working in a cool store where my boss really took me under her wing and took me to buying appointments and opened my eyes to the other side of fashion.
Then SBA started slowly a few years ago. I was interning with a womenswear designer in London and working in a concept store supporting young designers in Shoreditch. I remember speaking to my boss at the store about how tired I was with trying to keep up with the pace of living in London, having no money and a bit confused with what my next move should be. He said to me “why don’t you try to start your own brand? We can sell in the store.” At the time I thought it was a bit crazy, I felt like I didn’t know enough, and didn’t have enough connections as I was still pretty new to living in London. So from that moment I started to play around with designing, making things and selling in the store to test the waters. I did this quite loosely for a couple of years, but it wasn’t until the start of 2019 that I decided to put all of my energy into the brand.
You state that ”S-Ba is an independent womens label”. Can you tell us more about the inspirations behind your brand and collections.
Since the beginning I have always wanted to keep it in house. I think that by making small batches/to order, it feels more personal. I also like to add a bit of hand work to each piece, so most garments have an element of hand stitching/embroidery, it’s almost like I am giving a small piece of me with each order. I am inspired by a lot of things, I would not be able to pinpoint one thing. It could be the music I am listening to, things that I see when I am traveling, a certain fabric that I find and want to use, etc. I am also inspired a lot by people I see on the street, I can envision the kind of people I want to wear my pieces, so this is always in my mind when I am designing.
What about your creative process, how do you start working on a collection?
An idea always comes to me when I’m not expecting it. I am a big daydreamer and my thoughts sometimes lead me to an idea for a garment I would like to make. I always feel excited when I think I am on to something so I sketch the idea, which then leads to other designs. I then take this to toiling/sampling stage, where the initial idea can change again. My partner is also a creative (photographer), he has helped me a lot to bring my vision to life.
You decided going against the norm of the biannual seasons, by creating one main collection for the year. Everything is designed and made in house, with online orders being made to order, to reduce wastage. How much is sustainability important for you?
Sustainability is very important to me, and I try my best to have as little wastage as possible. Everything is made in either very small batches or made to order. I only buy the amount of fabric that is needed, and I save any usable scraps. Last year I had the idea to start to make Remnant Tops, using these scraps. They are all one off pieces, which I really enjoy making and is a great way to minimise wastage. By doing one main collection a year, I aim for the pieces to be quite versatile and transeasonal. I also carry over some designs that I think work from previous collections, such as the Slit Trouser, which was one of my first ever designs, and still one of my favourite pieces! Each piece I design is made for longevity, I hope that each of my customers keep their pieces to wear over and over again.
Which do you think is the future of the fashion industry in the intricate nowadays context?
Hopefully the end of fast fashion.
What do you think is a fashion designer’s biggest struggle today?
I think it is very important to take time out (I am very bad at this), the mindset of getting caught up in thinking you have to be busy all the time and what the next step will be. Fashion is a very over saturated market so it is very easy to compare yourself to others, so I think it’s good to set your own individual path and stick to it.
I haven’t been able to work on any performance work for the last year so that is a big wish that I hope will come true in the upcoming year. And then, you know, to just keep going.
Any future plans for you would like to share with us?
I’m currently working on some new textile explorations for my next collection as well as creating some winter basics (to be released soon). It’s hard to plan too far ahead right now, but I’m hoping to have some small pop up events, when it all calms down, so watch this space!
All we ever wanted
Photography: Marco Giuliano / @marcogiulianoph
Styling: Anca Macavei / @ancamacavei
Models: Mathilde / @mathilde.mougin at @bravemodels
& Soileir / @soileir at @fashionmodel.it
Set design using: Jipy Fondos / @jipyfondos
All garments: SB-A / @s_ba___