Company of Strangers / Q&A
Who are you and what do you do? Sara Aspinall- Director / Head Designer of Company of Strangers…. (most of the time I just feel like the admin lady!!!)
When and why did you start Company of Strangers? 2008… I needed to do something as I had left my great job at Nom*D to go to Art school, then dropped out as it felt wrong to be there, I wasn't ready to be so indulgent with my time… I'll go back when I retire! I really didn't want to get a job, there's not much around in Dunedin, so I started the label rather organically, making jewelry and bags, it pretty much snowballed into a full on label doing 3 ranges a season. (clothing, jewelry and bags… and now to add to the workload we are developing a little sister brand STRANGELOVE, launching for Summer 12/13)
What inspires you? Everything! ART is a huge inspiring, I'm obsessed with low art in general but especially the '50's movement, and artists, I love the crazy lives they led, almost as much as their work. Jean Debuffet, Jackson Pollock, they were all touched with some kind of metal fragility. The color palettes they used, texture, anything inspires me for a collection, but being unable to concentrate for long, there are always many influences in one collection. I love watching people too, the unlikely ones, not the cool kids…. people who look like they got dressed in the dark.
Who do you have in mind when you're designing your collection? Myself, my friends, and my customers, but selfishly me mostly. What I'm lacking in my wardrobe is usually the start point, what I'm craving. But because there is Amelia and Diane in the workroom each garment has 3 angles, and added depth as it's been though through 3 people each with our own and a shared aesthetic, we design everything collaboratively in my workroom, so we end up designing thinking about the wearer a lot.
What is your fashion background? Studied in Dunedin at Otago Polytech, did some valuable time on the retail floor in Sydney, then in the cutting room in Wellington, before taking a job at Nom*D when Margi created a workroom to do wovens to complement the knitwear range. I was there for almost 7 years, getting the best fashion experience you could get!
What is something only your mum knows about you? I'm so not telling that. Mum's the word remember…
If you could only wear one outfit for the rest of your life what would it be? My fav 20year old Micheal Jackson tee, fav jeans, my customised platform Converse, and my Rose gold Til death do us Part ring that is my wedding ring….
What is the worst piece of clothing that you love? The worst!… there is no worst… Maybe worst to someone else but not to me.
What would you do if you weren't a fashion designer? I'd want to build houses… and buildings… An architect. I wanted to be one, but my 5th form maths was SHOCKING.