Clash discusses sparkling in Selfridges with the CSM graduate.
Sadie Williams

Sadie Williams has joined Twitter, or rather, @SadieWilliamsUK joined Twitter on Friday 30th August 2013. Her timing was apt, given that that the following day saw Selfridges’ latest collection of young talent (Williams among them), debut a selection of window displays as part of Bright Young Things.

The initiative – BYT – began in January 2011 and ran then for two consecutive years, until now, with the date pushed back to co-inside with other design weeks in the capital. 15 designers are given a window each (on Oxford Street, the heart of tourist London) and retail space in the ground floor Concept Store.

Williams first gathered attention in February, when her MA collection was debuted as part of the Central Saint Martins show at LFW. Describing the experience she says it was ‘amazing and unreal’.

"It’s very special that CSM has this platform, allowing students to present our work in such a professional show and become part of the same discussion as other designers also showing at LFW," she notes.

Since February her time has been filled with stop-frame animation (she collaborates with her brother Joe, working for labels such as Katie Hillier, Marc By Marc Jacobs and Topshop), as well as her collection for BYT.

"You become your own PR once the press show at LFW is over, so lots of organising press loans, interviews, etc… (It’s) been quite a learning curve and I wasn’t really prepared for it, but it’s really ace to have received such positive interest in my work."

Her work to date focuses on sparkly, shiny things. Reviews of her MA collection saw the words Quality Street and Disco used sparingly, while she has since produced sweatshirts with lurex panels and shorter versions of the floor length frocks that filled her MA (on sale at Selfridges now).

She is quick to point out however, that while "like a magpie", she does use a range of materials that balance each other out. See leather quilting nestled beside glitter fabrics and simple silhouettes counteracting the shock factor of the sparkle; "I’m not always blinging!".

As well as producing videos for Marc By Marc Jacobs, Sadie freelances as a textile designer for the brand. Prior to graduating she worked with J.W. Anderson; ‘radically different but both so important,’ she stresses.

"Being at J.W. Anderson gave me such an insight into the real workings of an upcoming designer, and of how exciting but also tough this is. It takes a lot of dedication, sacrifice and teamwork. Going to MBMJ on the other hand gave me an insight into the workings of an established brand with various departments."

With Selfridges the two experiences come together, she being an upcoming designer and the big yellow shop a highly established brand. "Oh my god, I still can’t believe that my own window is shimmering away right now!" she says excitedly. "It will be so cool for people who haven’t ever seen my work to check it out, and hopefully enjoy it".

Joining Williams in the window is menswear designer Alan Taylor, who made his Fashion East debut in June, Hioaki Kanai (also menswear), Daniel Pollitt and Yeashin (both womenswear). Plus accessories designers Grace Hamilton, Sarah Williams of Williams British Handmade, Keely Hunter and Cari Marsden of the Co-Project.

From the worlds of art and design, Eleanor Davies, Anna Lomax, Clementine Keith-Roach, Katy Beverage and The Poundshop make up the rest of the class of 2013, joined by Tasha Marks of AVM Curiosities for food.

As well as limited edition items, each designer has created a T-shirt to be sold in store, and for the first time ever the designers have each been appointed a mentor from the Selfridges team to help them along the way.

Williams meanwhile is looking forward to seeing people wearing her pieces, as she puts it, "I would love to see someone in one of my new smaller embossed dresses! And some boys and girls in my lurex print sweatshirts! That would be wicked".

With Twitter in the bag and a healthy website doing the rounds, it can’t be long before seeing strangers in her wares is a real occurrence for the London designer. In the meantime she’ll be waiting in her studio listening to Young Fathers and Neneh Cherry.

Bright Young Things is at Selfridges until 17th October; Sadie will be running an interactive workshop on 12th September.

Intervew: Zoe Whitfield


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