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Talent Emerging: Sadie Clayton

I have to take the time to applaud Sadie Clayton – a young talent hailing from West Yorkshire – not only for her innovative design techniques, but for the fact that she actually got me to love Fashion Week again. In fact, when I entered the magnificent church (her presentation setting), nestled in the backyard of London’s West End, I was anticipating what was to come, knowing instantly that this was a designer worth seeing this season. What emerged, however, took me completely by surprise. Picture the scene: six architectural looks in an array of black and copper against a backdrop of stained glass windows and ornate gold ceilings of the church.

Clayton is bursting with an infectious energy; you can immediately grasp that she lives for her work. Known as the ‘Copper Girl’ – continue reading to find out why – around town, she studied Fashion Design at Kingston, and has gone on to pursue her own eponymous label that specialises in the same mirrored copper metal and sculptural silhouettes that laid the foundations for her graduate collection. Her ability to experiment with 3D design while pushing the boundaries of structure is what sets Clayton apart (check out her footwear collaboration with Charlene Ong), placing her firmly in the truly innovative bracket. For AW14, Clayton transcends from her graduate work, using empowering silhouettes to create spellbinding pieces. With a natural dramatic flair, she takes her love for copper and extends it as far as she can, and I can’t wait to see what she comes up with next…

0xv53SdLs37yJzzrvAh3jjDkJ-OPj7rQa-Jn1HjYT_4,_52WLatC61mITkQ7jLmiGNZ1e4F0KxxLavYAK5YRn38,YLf8IDn7S4NjcrtTeKvW15_UUVZh6OmKlurCEunC9oYPlanet Notion: Hi Sadie, tell us a bit about the girl behind the label?
Sadie Clayton:
Hey, lovely to meet you! The girl behind the label is Yorkshire Born and bred. Growing up in a tiny little town called Mirfield meant I had to rattle my brain to source inspiration, to produce work that led me through higher education to be where I am today. I am, I guess, a crazy, bubbly, and approachable character now known as the Copper Girl!

PN: Yes! I’ve heard about this ‘Copper Girl’ character. Where did your love for copper come from?
SC:
That stemmed from my graduate collection. I produced mirrored metal sculptures and a saddle dress and leather underwear and shoes – all made from copper! I do like to hashtag as copper girl too! I’ve always loved metal, mainly gold, however this has all been seen plenty of times in fashion so I thought let’s go with copper; the colour is amazing. Typical me – it’s the most expensive!

PN: So now we’ve cleared that up, what’s your aesthetic?
SC:
I’d say the aesthetic is ‘wearable art.’ I like to produce pieces that are sculptural, new and fresh. For me it’s the fabric choices that make it zing! 6a_VsHaaJ_J3Hs48JtRY7ogl8DePl5T0QmamgkT7vaA,Tv335JWWv3BbFaGxt5ZbK7GBktlOo_hG1sfuGEFv2Lo,V4T8QbXwcLMW9E3EZgTVdb8qufJWLrERHI8tXC3LsU0

PN: Since leaving Kingston University, what has life been like?
SC: Life has been hectic! I’ve loved every single minute. It’s like when they say ‘you properly learn to drive when you’ve passed your test’; it was the same for me. I feel like I properly found my design aesthetic and my path once I had graduated as I didn’t have any plans for starting my own label whilst studying – even throughout final year. Life hasn’t been hard as I don’t like to use that word – but it’s been crazy busy and challenging.

PN: So, did you find that your degree gave you a strong enough backing to start your own business?
SC:
No, it wasn’t strong enough, but because I chose to do a design course, I knew there wouldn’t be a criteria or project heavily devoted to fashion business which was a shame in my case. However, I have an amazing supportive team behind me and somebody takes care of that side of things. Otherwise…. jeez I’d be lost!

PN: Taking that into consideration, how much support do you feel there is available from the British fashion industry for emerging designers?
SC: Not much at all; I know there are different schemes and routes you can go down and I guess it suits some people. I just think the British fashion industry is very commercial and maybe a little weary about wearable art – which actually has, as of late, proven to be very popular. I wish there was more support, even in terms of technology, such as studios and machinery.

xZYaWnv5IRU1Jt4a88UKI7GavYuvQI2GaWPGB2phJis,js40upbCAHjuTFSWZt2MpdGbCdsNwjD3AbIlWVHUaTo,dfDCTL2-NxOmPQTYMKJCGgd2jva1YoHDRlcRlJVM4h8,vb0Jc_KqlFexSnHPHh_odvklLG5BPrA6UAXJGlBT8iIPN: Back to design. Tell us a bit about what inspired your AW14 collection?
SC: I’m forever inspired by architecture and metals, so for AW14 it was that and also metal chandeliers from previous decades. I admire the weight and detail of them, so I explored the weight contrast between my fabric choices – for example putting metal copper saddles with nappa leather.

PN: I absolutely LOVED the church setting you chose to present it in.
SC:
The church is beautiful! I was actually recommended to go for a viewing and the minute I saw it, I fell in love. It was perfect and with the chandeliers hanging above my models I couldn’t have asked for anything more suitable! I’ll definitely be using this venue again!

PN: So when you’re designing, do you sit down and decide on a theme or are you endlessly inspired by different things?
SC: I’m endlessly inspired by different things – then as I begin designing, the concept soon falls into place.

PN: Where did you get your own unique sense of style?
SC:
My own personal sense of style developed over the amount of years I’ve been into fashion and vintage. From the age of 14 I used to customise pieces and dive into bins in charity and vintage shops to find exciting pieces. I guess my wardrobe has just continuously grown from there. I am still having a love affair with vintage clothing, especially from Rellik.

PN: And the brand’s style…
SC:
My brand style was developed through exploring the relationship between metals and fabrics, and I have continued to be fascinated with material’s which now has given me my personal sculptural style.

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SC:
SS15. I am going to continue to explore the use of copper in design to maintain my signature.

PN: I am pleased to hear it! I see you like to collaborate; how selective are you about who you choose to work with?
SC:
I love to collaborate and I will always have my cordwainer, Charlene. Omg we are completely on the same page – she’s incredibly talented! I am selective and I also like to choose people that specialise in completely different areas to me so I can learn more and produce amazing pieces that I couldn’t do on my own. I will collaborate again for my next season to compliment my SS15 collection.

PN: What is Sadie Clayton bringing to a new breed of fashion designers?
SC:
Sculptural individuality that can be worn as functional clothing.

PN: Do you have anything else you want our readers to know? It can be totally random.
SC:
I also produce jewellery and I’m currently developing a SS15 range. The jewellery is made from copper saddles; I also have an embarrassing addiction to crazy platform shoes!

Check out Sadie’s creations on www.sadieclayton.co.uk

- Hardeep Gill

Cover image shot by Iris Bjork



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