British fashion designer Sara Berman founded her label in 1998, while she was still studying at Central St Martins Art College! Since then her business has grown rapidly, and is now stocked in leading stores around the world – including Urban Outfitters in London, where I fell in love with an amazing red coat that she had designed. Fashion is definitely in her blood, as both her mother (who advises) and sister Amiee (who joined the brand in 2003) are fashion designers – so the label is a real family affair.
Famed for taking traditional British tailoring and giving it a contemporary punky twist, Sara has recently collaborated with the artist Dan Baldwin to create a range of vivid printed fabrics, which feature themes of life, death and childhood innocence. She uses these fabrics as hidden linings on Harris Tweed coats or on classic cocktail dresses – the idea being that if the clothes we wear tell a story, it might as well be an interesting and surprising one. Sara is also committed to supporting British craft and industry and as much as possible her clothes are manufactured in the UK using British yarns and materials. Hooray!
What are you currently working on?
Currently we are putting the finishing touches to AW11 and I am also working on a Japanese consultancy project.
What attracted you to fashion designing?
Actually my mother is a fashion designer so I grew up with it very much as a part of my life and swore I would have nothing to do with it myself! I sort of fell into it through sheer bloody mindedness when choosing my degree out of my foundation course.... The fashion course at Central St Martins just seemed so much fun that I couldn't resist the ride!
What’s your current favorite item of clothing?
A stunning silk scarf I bought on a recent trip to India. The colours are so rich and the silk is surprisingly warm and it brings me joy to wear it in chilly London-evoking memories of India.
What has been your career path?
Pretty dogmatic. I worked exceptionally hard at school and college and dived straight in before even graduating. I always and just pursued my ambitions with little room for deviation. Possibly not the best approach as blinkers block the view. That said I have much luck and opportunity offered to me and having a mother in the business most certainly made things possible which otherwise would not have been. Partly my appreciation of that luck has driven me not to waste the opportunity.
What has been your proudest moment?
For my work I have a moment frozen in my mind – I am standing in the bar at the top of a terribly smart hotel in Tokyo looking out at the view. All the red lights twinkling below me and the feeling of immense satisfaction and pride that my own hard work had taken me to that place – a million miles from home and in all its strangeness, familiarity and magnificence. I felt so grateful for that feeling that I consciously locked it in my mind.
But overall my proudest moments would be the births of my children.
What or who has been your biggest influence?
My mother. For better and worse.
What or who inspires you?
What makes you happy?
My children and painting.
What's the best advice someone has ever given you?
Life is a game of inches.
What advice would you give someone who is just starting out as a designer?
Be in it for the right reasons. Don't view your life through other peoples eyes.
Who knows. Man plans God laughs.
All the clothes featured here are currently on sale at www.saraberman.com