Sadie Williams: The Profile of an Emerging British Fashion Designer


March 24, 2016

Sadie Williams is an accomplished yet emerging fashion designer based in London. She attended Central Saint Martins (CSM) where she graduated in 2013 with distinction on the “Textiles For Fashion” pathway. CSM has a reputation for producing talented designers with a strong point of view, and Sadie is one of them.

Sadie notes that she was always drawn to fashion, even as a child when she made clothing and accessories for herself. Yet, during her foundation schooling she had a brief period of feeling unsure about her future in the fashion world. Once she received acceptance into the CSM fashion program, those feelings faded.

In 2013, she was named as one of Selfridges’ Bright Young Things, an annual list highlighting the top 15 emerging designers in the UK. Sadie’s dresses were featured in a store window display at Selfridges Concept Store in London, which also sold a collection of clothes she designed specifically for the shop.

In 2014, Sadie collaborated with Swedish fashion brand & Other Stories to create a capsule collection that was sold internationally. She created a line of separates featuring her signature metallics, bright colors, and tomboyish shapes.

Also, Sadie was recognized as One to Watch by Grazia and Vogue Magazine. For one of her most unique projects, she crafted miniature versions of her graduation show dresses for the Barbie AW14 collection.

She cites her main fashion influences as Valentino and Cardin, though the inspiration for her work comes from many places. One of Sadie’s major points of inspiration is photography books, which serve as the basis for two of her fashion collections.

First, Sadie’s collection featured at her graduation from CSM was inspired by Japanese motorcycle gangs for their structured jackets and metallic bikes. To turn her inspiration into a reality, she had to master textile construction, working with lurex as a base and layering thicker fabrics and appliqués to create a thicker, more sturdy design. The collection features several A-line floor length gowns in bold colors and metallics.

The diversity within Sadie’s CSM program and her work life have helped to shape her as a designer. She has held internships for several fashion brands including Marc by Marc Jacobs, Katie Hillier, Beth Fenton, and Benjamin Bruno. Seeing how different companies work has broadened her understanding of the industry. While initially she wasn’t considering opening her own fashion brand, the opportunity did arise.

Upon being awarded a sponsorship from NewGen, Sadie was able to dedicate time to her own fashion brand, and scored a spot at London Fashion Week.

For Sadie’s debut Ikebana AW15 collection, she had a special installation at London Fashion Week where people could stop in to see her fashions. The collection was inspired by a Japanese book of floral arrangements originally published in 1962. While the book itself engages your imagination, Sadie’s designs enthusiastically mix unique and contrasting fabrics, bold unusual colors, and metallic appliqués.

While the silhouettes are simple and clean, the actual designs are anything but. The designs incorporate mesh, quilted lurex, and bright metallic appliques. Sadie Williams’ AW15 installation featured both her garments and hand-crafted floral arrangements comprised of leftover fabrics from the collection.

Sadie’s newest collection, Barnes B, has also featured at a London Fashion Week installation. The collection is named after the house she stayed in while in boarding school. This is fitting, since it is an homage to her younger years when she created dresses and tops for disco parties. Sadie strives to make each of her collections personal, but this is her most personal collection yet.

Sadie’s advice to anyone seeking a fashion designer path is this – do what you love. You must love the research and the process as much as the outcome. And this is advice we can all live by.

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