Sadie Williams / designer Q+A

The work of  London born and based Textile Designer Sadie Williams caught my eye and you can see why. The talented graduate of the famed Central Saint Martins often mixes odd combinations of juxtaposing influences together to create modern and playful work. She is one of Selfridges 'Bright Young Things', she has worked with J W Anderson, Marc by Marc Jacobs to name a few and her 'totemic' dresses inspired me and I wanted to know more about Sadie and her work. Definately one to watch.

What is the inspiration for your work?

Key inspirations were:

Old fashioned motor-bikers on their old Harley Davidsons and Japanese biker gangs (photographed by Masayuki Yoshinaga in his book Bosozoku) who dress in crisp graphic outfits and ride glittery bikes. I really love the graphic, masculine print arrangement found in biker clothing, helmets and panelled satin racing vests. I incorporated leather elements into my collection as a nod to bikers.

I looked to 1960s [designers] Cardin and Courreges for their super cool, clean, dramatic lines and elegant silhouettes.

I also looked to Valentino and his long, chic gowns with relaxed dropped waists.

The metallic fabrics! I loved them immediately and knew they could be used successfully in an original way. The fabrics are transformed through bonding, printing and embossing.

How did the project start?

I absolutely love working with texture, pattern and colour, and always begin a new fashion project by starting with fabrics. 

This is why I studied on the 'Textiles For Fashion' pathway of the MA at Central Saint Martins.

I will refer to my inspiration and research whilst I begin to mess around and play with fabrics. I make numerous swatches, experimenting with different techniques and colourways, and once I have a body of these to work from, I will transfer these onto a body/mannequin and begin to mock-up outfits and looks. I document this, look at what works and which direction I want to take my work in, and then begin the process of designing the silhouettes for which I will create my final textiles.

The new materials you developed and what the process was to create the fabric

Notes on Textiles:

A ‘jumbo’ lurex was bonded to a loop-back tracksuit, eliminating the need for lining and giving the textile a stiff quality.

The graphic ‘embossed’ shapes were created by sandwiching cut pieces of neoprene (arranged into the correct print arrangement for each pattern piece) in between the lurex and track-suiting, and using a heat-press and bondaweb to bond the layers together.  A similar technique was used for the leather panels/patches, which were either sewn into the dresses or appliqued on top.

The print element was applied using either: -Hand collaged heat-transfer papers or -Digitally printed sublimation designs.

Creating the final textiles is a multi-step and layered process, which looks deceptively simple.


Any difficulties you came across during the process?


When I begun creating the textiles, I was creating large rectangular swatches, rather than creating textiles designed to fit specific pattern pieces, which are then sewn together to create a garment. So it was only once I created all of the pieces for my first entire dress that I realised that the textiles had shrunk in the process, and wouldn't be able to fit together!!

Sadie Williams / Bright Young Things

Sadie Williams / Bright Young Things

red waisted dress.JPG

I had to do numerous tests on my heat-press and ended up switching the middle/neoprene layer from a thick 'spacer' fabric, to double-bonded layers of a thinner neoprene (which meant that the neoprene was already shrunk through bonding them together first). I also had to preshrink the lurex and track-suiting in the heat-press before beginning to bond the layers together and work out the proportion by which the textiles would still shrink, always allowing a little extra just incase!

There is always a solution!

Sadie Williams / Bright Young Things

Sadie Williams / Bright Young Things


What you are working on now?

I am currently working on a collaboration with an exciting high-street brand (can't say who yet I'm afraid), so I will be making a small capsule collection of pieces that combine my design style and personal dress style, creating special and wearable pieces. This will be out later in the year.

I am also working on a new fun project which I cannot talk about at the moment, but I will feature new textiles, and be fun and on a small scale!

Sometimes my brother and I make stop-frame animations, so we hope to illustrate both of these projects using animation also! If we can find the time! 

Check out Sadie+Joe on Tumblr

Contact Sadie+Joe at Image Partnership

All images courtesy of the designer © Sadie Williams