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Sadie Clayton

The bright young thing bridging the worlds of art and fashion, Sadie Clayton tells us about ‘wearable art’, her favourite London hangouts and her eclectic and fabulous collaborations, from the Tate Modern to a copper crown for Gigi Hadid.

"My biggest take away is hard work and tenacity. Also, knock on those doors, the worst anybody can tell you is no!"


Tell us where you are as you answer these questions.
On the way to Shanghai – on a BA Flight. Sat on the very back row, on an aisle seat at least (one day I’ll be flying business, ha!). Feeling excited that I’m about to go and do my first runway show at Shanghai Fashion Week. I hate flying so I’ve had a couple of wines with a Thai green curry in the lounge before boarding. Only 11 hours left to go!!
 
How would you describe yourself? Fashion designer first, artist after?
Fashion and art are one for me. I see my garments as wearable art, I guess the only reason I’m a ‘Fashion Designer’ is because my art fits on the human form.
 
The interweaving of art and fashion has led you to collaborations with the Tate Modern and Tate Britain. What does working with such powers in the art world mean to you and your collections?
Obviously it is a great honour and privilege to have been able to work with such pillars of the British art world bringing art and my working process to younger generations, and merging tradition with the future.

 
Likewise in the fashion world, you have collaborated and worked with many major players. Who inspired you the most?
Andrew Logan is definitely one as we both have a very holistic concept of working with stones, but at the same time working with Nixon really means a lot. Everybody can relate to a watch, and if not can relate to time, so having my vision come alive into a watch is quite inspiring and I always think about what we could create next.
 
As a young designer making a real mark on the fashion world, what would you say to students and those just starting out who may see the future as daunting?
I have lectured both at Leeds College of Art, London College of Contemporary Arts and at Manchester Universities about the real work involved in creating and developing a fashion brand. As the fashion world can be unforgiving, I like to give back. My biggest take away is hard work and tenacity. Also, knock on those doors, the worst anybody can tell you is no!

Hailing from West Yorkshire and studying at Kingston University would indicate you're well and truly British born and bred. What does being British mean to you and your work?
It means not being afraid to be different or daring, holding on to traditional artisanal techniques, and being able to draw from my Jamaican and British heritage.
 

"Whilst designers like myself will naturally embrace technology, we will use it to enhance and not replace the design process such that the artisanal roots of how we create remain."

 
The world and Britain itself is changing at high speed. Where do you feel design and your work is headed in the next decade?
My design is maturing as I am. Every season is about refining and reinforcing what and who my brand is and relates to which is very exciting. As part of that I, as many other designers, am working with technology to achieve our creative vision either more precisely, or more cost effectively. I think that whilst designers like myself will naturally embrace technology, we will use it to enhance and not replace the design process such that the artisanal roots of how we create remain.
 
Glasses frame the face and are windows to the world. Which part of the body is your favourite to design for?
Definitely the torso - playing with proportion from the shoulders to creating shape around the waistline, especially with copper metal, excites me.
 
Give us a typical day in the life of Sadie Clayton.
I am really lucky as I don’t have a typical day, every day is a new adventure which is something which keeps me passionate and feeds my creative journey. I love opening my emails just after lunch as there always seems to be something exciting to read.



Your studio is based in Dalston, East London. Where is your favourite off-duty hangout after a long day’s work?
The atelier on Kingsland Road - they do a well nice cheese and spring onion sandwich with caramelised onions.

Can you share any hidden gems in London where you love to go?
Relik for amazing vintage and Cecil Court for crystals and spiritual cards.
 
Where do you go in London to find inspiration?
Most recently I went to the Rauchenberg exhibition which was amazing. However, in general I take inspiration from daily life and society, regular or random chats/conversations and I guess the journey of life.
 

"I take inspiration from daily life and society, regular or random chats/conversations and the journey of life."


Coffee or tea?
Tea – for sure an early grey from a China cup is the best! I’d never turn down a Yorkshire tea either.
 
What makes you unique and stand out?
I think it’d be the fact that I love being involved in lots of different projects. People think Fashion Designers just do fashion weeks; I need to be exploring and meeting people and being adventurous. For example, I exhibited at Alta Roma in Rome, did a project with Alcantara, produced a copper crown for Gigi Hadid shot by K.Lagerfeld, exhibited at Art Basel Miami to point out a few, and most recently did a runway in Shanghai. Let’s not forget, a big part of my brand identity is collaborations – I love bringing two entities together and creating an explosion of fabulousness. There are more exciting things in the pipeline too.
 
Do you have a guilty pleasure?
I become obsessed with many different things - it was novelty bags, then 1950s feathered hats, then crystals and many more, but the one thing I will never get over is my continuous purchases of notepads – and the worst thing is I don’t actually use them I buy them and store them in a box, so I can’t even see them!!



What attracts you to Cutler and Gross and what does it mean to you?
I have always loved Cutler and Gross sunglasses. It is part of the fabric of British fashion as an iconic British brand, like me, open minded, creative and with a DNA of collaboration with others. It was a little personal challenge to be one of the chosen few.
 
Shades indoors? Yes or no!
Hell no! Not in the rain either.