NEW TYPE #4: SAUNDER - Emily Saunders interview

January 13, 2015 5:42 PM

 "Introducing a new generation of designers"

Emily Saunders is a well-traveled, extensively educated culture-connoisseur.  During her undergraduate career, she developed a fascination with fashion while interning in the Women’s Costume Room at the Royal Opera House in England.  Fueled by her newfound passion, she returned home and entered the fashion design program at Parson’s, interning for Perry Ellis and Marc Jacobs during her time there.  Her hard work and dedication to the fashion arts culminated in the 2011 launch of her own label entitled “SAUNDER”. 


"I love to produce in New York and will continue to do that."

"With each season I kind of fixate on one driving inspirational force and I really delve into it."

"What music I listen to while I'm designing will often coordinating with  the feel of the line."



------------ Emily Saunders's INTERVIEW -------------


Susan Schell: What gets you motivated about fashion? 

Emily Saunders: I think the thing that gets me motivated about fashion is the fact that I get to constantly create. Twice a year I get to dig deep and be able to tap in to my creativity and make things a reality.


SS: What was it like when you first started your line? 

ES: Starting out was really, really hard. I think I didn’t realize how difficult a process it was to A: start a line and B: how difficult the industry is in general. I think probably the hardest thing was finding out the right people to work with, setting up that chain of which patternmakers, factories, sales reps, or PR companies should I work with – all these different factors! I think just establishing that has been the hardest part. When you are starting from scratch, it can be overwhelming. It was definitely difficult but I think I had the drive and energy to push through those barriers and challenges. I was able to start from zero and build from there. 


SS: What is your favorite part of the design process? 

ES: I think my favorite part of the design process is just getting down and dirty with my inspiration, kind of delving into it. I really like to do a lot of research to get very much into the headspace of what I’m trying to create. Right now I’m doing a lot of research on heraldry and things from the 16th century. I think that to be able to learn about a period or whatever is fueling my fire at that time is really kind of an awesome gift to be able to incorporate into your work life. 


SS: What is like doing all of the production for you line here in the Garment District? 

ES: It is really wonderful actually! I mean I think at times it is challenging because you are always working with a higher cost to be able to do that but at the same time, it is constantly accessible – you can just take the train up to your factory to talk to your point person, patternmaker, or sewer and have that personal relationship with them which I think makes it a more rewarding experience and an easier one. There is also the gratification of knowing that you are supporting a factory that is supporting the people who work for them. It is definitely worth it - I love to produce in New York and will continue to do that. 


SS: How would you describe your personal style? 

ES: My personal style is quite a mix. I’d say it kind of runs a spectrum of how I’m feeling that day but I think it leads more towards a Rock ’n’ Roll meets flapper kind of thing and then smatterings of other things in between. It is very much like “how do I feel this morning?” “Do I feel like wearing this or that?” It runs a gambit but it definitely has influences from that kind of edgier/rock aesthetic. 


SS: How would you describe your deisgn aesthetic?

ES: My design aesthetic definitely has some of those rock influences from my personal style but it can often be a little bit more feminine and girly mixed with a harder edge. I’m also really influenced by the past, so I try to figure out ways to incorporate design from the past into a modern context.


SS: Where do you find inspiration for your designs?

ES: Like I said before, fashions and styles of the past but I try to make them more modern. Then also the kind of very stereotypical places like art and I’m very influenced by music because it is a big passion of mine. What music I listen to while I’m designing will often coordinate with the feel of the line. With each season I kind of fixate on one driving inspirational force and I really delve into it. 


SS: What is your favorite season to design for?

ES: I used to really like spring and I thought spring was my favorite because I enjoy wearing lighter clothing – I’m not a big winter person. I think with this season, Fall 2015, I found out that I might actually prefer fall just because you can really get so much more texture to play with and the mixing of textures and layering. I think that overall the way that you are able to style a fall show, fall catalogue, or fall look book is more interesting and complex than one for spring. I’m starting to get into fall now! 


SS: What is one of the pieces from the SS15 collection that you are the most excited about, if you can choose one?

ES: Yeah, I really like the satin bomber that has a snake on the back that says “In-A-Gadda-Da-Vida,” I think it just encapsulates the collection the best. It has got some bling on it and it harks back to the whole inspirational point of the season. It is just kind of fun and it reminds me of the Pink Ladies’ jackets from Grease


SS: What was one of your proudest moments as a designer?

ES: I think probably if you were to pick any of the shows that I have done for fashion week and that first minute where my preparation and my part of working on the show is done. There is always that kind of relief where you are like “oh my god, I made it and I made this. It is all out there and these people are here to see it. They are supporting me because they are interested in what I’m doing!” Those have been very powerful and proud moments for me.


SS: What new projects are you working on?

ES: Working on Fall 2015, that is mainly where I’m at right now. I’m also about to start another collaboration with a jewelry designer named Megan Isaacs and we have done a few seasons working together so we will be doing another one for fall.







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