DESIGNER TALK: SARAH LEVINGS

Unique, wearable and imaginative, U.K. based designer Sarah Levings is wooing the world with her women's wear designs.

How did you become involved in fashion design? My family are all very technically skilled even though they do not have a certain creative background. From a young age I was taught how to knit, how to sew and always encouraged to paint and draw and just generally be creative. I especially enjoyed knitting and making things that could be worn inspired by what I had seen in magazines or on catwalk videos. This continued on through school and that’s what made me decide to take fashion design at a degree level, and as a career.

What materials do you most like to work with? I particularly like silk and mohair. I used a lot of these in my final collection at university. Silk is always beautiful. It's so lovely to work with and I think gives the best finish. Mohair, I feel always brings a different and exciting element to a garment. Combining these different yarn qualities also completely adjusted the shapes formed within the knits as they both behave differently.

How does your geographical location influence your aesthetic? My collection The Woman Within stemmed from my love of the British capital London. I’m obsessed with its manic pace and everyone in it; how there is always something going on. I guess this has something to do with living in the countryside, miles away from any towns.

Echoing the fasted paced city I began blurring and pixelating pictures I had taken of it. It was from these images that I found my color combination and first inspiration for knits. The color blocking made me think about strong graphic patterns.

I wanted to focus on the women within the city so inspired by my pixelated prints I centered my thoughts around women in the work place re-creating checks, pinstripes and pleats within knit. Focusing on these however made me loose the idea of the strong color blocking I was looking for from my knits. I started deconstructing the graphics within checks and using the same techniques to create bold, block sections of color.

What’s been your greatest professional achievement to date? When my final collection was published by British Vogue after The Winchester School of Arts press show at the Vinyl Factory in London. It was such an amazing day and it was all topped off a few weeks later when the catwalk images went up on Vogue’s website. Even getting in to the press show was an amazing achievement in itself as only 20 students out of the whole Fashion & Textiles department were chosen.

What’s one thing people would never guess about you? I have never actually broken a bone which it quite surprising because I am stupidly clumsy. I’m always bumping into things or falling over my feet or something.