All That Glitters Isn’t Gold: Meet Copper Crafting Designer, Sadie Clayton

by Charlotte Heather

Designer Sadie Clayton creates sculptural and silhouette altering designs: clothes that are largely monochrome, yet accented with a dazzling dash of copper. Clayton first wowed UK audiences last year at Graduate Fashion Week, impressed again at London Fashion Week with her A/W14 collection, and is being tipped as one to watch by fashion-forward magazines such as Wonderland. Her imagination and resourcefulness—she has been known to use copper plumbing parts in her work—have contributed beautifully to her unique industrial aesthetic, with celebrities now starting to don her creations. But Clayton hasn’t let all that go to her head: she is down to earth and grateful to everyone who has helped along the way, and it doesn’t seem that this will change no matter how big her brand gets.

Her first two collections went down a treat and earlier this month, her S/S15 line debuted at a catwalk show at St Giles-in-the-Fields church in London. Right now, Clayton is a very busy bee, juggling her day job and her brand, but she was more than willing to take a moment out of her hectic schedule to catch up with SheRa Mag.

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Sadie Clayton

Your collection placed second in Graduate Fashion Week 2013’s innovation award. How big a part has this played in your success over the past year?

The feedback was amazing! The press came rolling in and I realized that my avant-garde creations were being well received. The brand has really expanded a year from my graduation, and I am so grateful for the innovation award for putting me in the position that I am in now. Of course, I must mention the amazing supportive team behind me, too.

At Glastonbury this year, Ellie Goulding was sporting a fantastic copper leather bra from your collection. How has this affected your brand?

That exposure has allowed my brand to become recognizable in other countries and also gained me a lot more followers on social media. I have also received more press calls and more associations/sponsors for my S/S15 collection show.

Clayton5What is a typical working day like for you when you are trying to get a collection ready? 

Well, I am a consultant at my day job, so I am emailing all day and arranging things in my diary, and then in the evenings and on the weekends, I am organizing the schedule for the show. Absolutely love the help from my interns—I don’t know what I would do without them!

You work at a vintage shop, Rellik. How much influence does being surrounded by trends from other eras have on your work, and which era would you say inspires you the most?

Working at Rellik is amazing! So inspirational; it’s like being at school again. I learn so much! The thing it helps me most with is the finishings of garments and it also allows me to see how different fabrics can be used. And, the 80’s will be always be my favorite decade!

Clayton3Other than the influence of other eras, who or what inspires your work?

I love Ron Arad, a fantastic sculptural furniture designer—he inspires all my collections as he works with the most innovative shapes. I’m forever inspired by architecture; I cannot get enough! I love many buildings, from the Barbican to the Pompidou in Paris, all of the flats down Columbia Road in London, and the Duomo Cathedral in Milan.

Do you think coming from a northern industrial town like Huddersfield, and not having as much access to the capital, has had an impact on your work?

Being a Northerner has certainly expanded my creative approach as we don’t have institutions such as the V&A or the Design Museum on our doorstep. It’s about finding inspiration from the available sources and thinking outside of the box.

Clayton4You play with redefining silhouettes often with feminine curves and strong materials, which makes for a wonderful aesthetic contrast. Is there a statement in this?

Let us just say, power dressing. That plays a big role in my designs. I want the women sporting a Sadie Clayton garment to be and feel daring, sexy, and powerful.

Would you agree that there’s a hint of S&M to your designs, especially in the leather and copper pieces?

I never thought of that until many people started mentioning it to me, so clearly there must be some subconscious element there. Ha! Looking through past pieces now, I can completely see why it comes to mind, but it wasn’t a conscious process.

clayton2Your work is on the high, wearable art end of fashion but you have mentioned plans for a diffusion line. Any idea of a date for this yet?

There isn’t a date that I can predict, however, even in the current collection, there’s already a larger amount of ready-to-wear clothes.

As a designer, who would you say is your greatest love?

My greatest love would have to be Erykah Badu. Her music is what keeps me going and I couldn’t be a designer without her!

Finally, what would you say defines your S/S15 collection?

Copper, copper, and more copper…with a kick of course!

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Instagram: iamsadieclayton


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