I met Sarah at London Fashion Week last month, and found her jewellery pieces not only unique and inspiring, but a welcomed twist to add to the stands of statement fashion. Substituting the classic gold and silver with various forms of laser cut acrylic, Sarah and her team have produced futuristic inspired pieces in lots of different shapes and sizes, no material too obscure, no shape too angular – also winning approval from British Vogue. However they haven’t kept within the confines of fashion, designing bespoke interiors with a space-age feel for an army of clients that include Selfridges, Swarovski and the Tate Modern too. No question an interview had to be set up, so here is a quick Q and A with the designer about the birth of the label and her latest collections.
How long has Sarah Angold been running for?
Since January 2010. It was getting embarrassing having freelancers come and work in my lounge at home, so I got a studio. I thought if I had a proper studio, I ought to start a proper company.
Who else do you work with?
I have one full-time and one part-time colleague and we share every part of the job. Everyone else is freelance and comes in as the appropriate projects arise.
How did you get involved in fashion?
It’s always been a passion – I just banged on the industry’s door until it let me in.
Where have you studied and worked at in the past?
I studied at Loughborough University School of Art and Design, followed by the Royal College of Art. Among other things I have designed concept car interiors for Toyota in Japan, designed and built visual merchandising for Selfridges, styled for Paul Davies London, created runway fabrics for Hussein Chalayan and lighting installations for the Design Museum. Creativity is creativity, wherever you channel it.
What sparked your transition from interiors to fashion?
It’s not really a transition, more of an ever-continuing cycle.
Do you prefer interiors or fashion?
I don’t care as long as it’s stunning.
Did you always want to eventually move into fashion?
I’ve followed the path that has appeared. I’m sure I’ll move through all kinds of disciplines in the future.
What inspires your pieces?
The jewellery collection for A/W 2011 was inspired by geometry and the London Skyline, photography is my main research tool. I’m also inspired by material, it’s handle, and the way it changes when you combine it with other materials. Visually, I like geometric shapes, so a lot of my designs come from maths, architecture and specifically London.
What is your design process like?
My design process begins with a carpet picnic of research photos, line drawings and boxes of materials. I sit on the floor and match up different shapes and textures that go on to inform my designs. It takes weeks.
What materials do you use for your pieces?
No material is out-of-bounds. I enjoy unusual material combinations and work a lot with layered acrylic.
What is it about acrylic you love?
I love it’s tactility. I don’t think it’s full potential has been explored in accessories yet.
Why do you like using acrylic and different materials?
Innovation comes through trying new things, and it’s more fun to design with something different.
What sparked your use of acrylic?
I began making fabrics that had acrylic inlaid into them. They got more and more structured and in the end the acrylic was all that was left.
Why do you like to create unusual pieces?
I like a style that is slick and simple, but offers something exciting in terms of design content. I don’t try to create a certain thing – my creative process means that as I draw, photograph, manipulate and build, the pieces sort of develop by themselves and dictate what they will become. This is the same whatever I design.
Is there anything you cannot do with acrylic, or you wouldn’t try?
There’s always a solution if you look hard enough.
What is your favourite piece from any of your collections?
The Ocea Necklace from my S/S 2011 jewellery collection – it really explores the technical aesthetic and material experimentation I’m interested in, whilst still being totally wearable.
How can we get hold of one of your pieces?
Go online to Sarahangold.com, or if you’re out and about, pop into the Tate Modern Museum shop, My Sugarland or Beyond the Valley.
What interests and appeals you about what you do?
Every day is different; I make my job what I want it to be.
How did you come to exhibit at London Fashion Week? And how did it go?
As a young designer, LFW is the obvious route to take to connect with press and buyers. Someone visiting our stand told us that she’d been at Somerset House for three days, and our collection was the best thing she’d seen – that was my highlight.
What has been the best part of your career so far?
Working for Hussein Chalayan.
Who is your style icon?
Hussein Chalayan fuses technology and fashion seamlessly. His moving pieces are beautiful, integral and surreal – you don’t get the feeling that the mechanics are just there for a good story. I think that’s real style.
What is your favourite trend at the moment?
I am currently enjoying twinning my giant Design House Stockholm ‘blanket with sleeves’ with a pair of hardcore heels for a night out. I think I may be the only person following that trend though (yet).
How would you describe your style?
Eclectic. Clean lines, contemporary, classic tailoring, edgy, and unapologetic.
What clothes item can you not live without?
A high collared devore Cavalli jacket I picked up at TK Maxx. BEST BARGAIN EVER.
What is the best decision you ever made?
In the first month of the recession I turned down a steady income design assistant job to be unemployed and broke, and follow my passion alone.
For more information please visit www.sarahangold.com