Encapsulating modern day glamour, feminism and challenging the ideals of beauty is what fashion designer Sarah Louise Woodward aims to achieve through her cutting-edge collection.
Inspired by the evolution of glamour, she has used asymmetrical lines and a mixture of whites, pinks and blues to create Orenda. The collection has earned her a nomination in the Emerging Designer category at the Midlands Fashion Awards.
After graduating this year from the University of Derby with a first class honours fashion degree, she has set her sights on showcasing a collection at London Fashion Week.
“This would be an amazing achievement and this is something I would love to do,” says the 24-year-old. “It is something a designer will dream about – seeing my ideas and concepts at Fashion Week is definitely an ambition. Throughout school I was always creative, I loved the practical side of making something and seeing the finished piece,” she said. “My Nanna was a machinist and used to make clothes for me, so when I visited my grandparents as a child I would always spend my time being creative.”
But it wasn’t until after her A-levels that Sarah knew it was the fashion industry that she wanted to direct her creative flair towards.
“I did a foundation course in art and design, which enabled me to test out various creative things,” she said. “The tutors helped us find our strengths – so after a year out, I decided that I wanted to go to university to learn more about the industry and how to make clothes. I love that fashion can give someone confidence. A woman or man could try on an item and when it’s something special, they feel great. I have always been the kind of person who shops and enjoys looking at fabrics or likes the lining or inside finishing of a coat. I am attracted to clean cut clothing with attention to detail. I strongly believe that a fabric can make or break a design, so for me fabric is a very important aspect to clothing.”
Sarah, of Nottingham, counts Versace as an industry inspiration because of the way the company has continued to flourish.
“It is a designer brand that has been very successful and has stood the test of time,” she says. “I believe a lot of older Versace collections could be worn now and still be fashionable and people would like them – I think they create special pieces.
“There is a designer called Toni Maticevski, he is one of my favourite designers at the moment, he uses volume with interesting fabrics. I also love Cushnie Et Och as their garments are very clean cut with attention to detail. I love design that uses an interesting fastening or clean white shirt with close attention to detail such as a beautiful cuff. For me, a garment needs to be wearable and other people need to find it attractive enough to set it aside from all the other garments available.”
After completing internships, Sarah now wants to find a permanent job.
“I would love my career to follow in the direction it is heading and I would really like to settle down in a permanent job as I feel this is what I’m ready for after a lot of interning”, she said. “Hopefully I can find a job and start to follow the dreams I have. “My parents have always supported me and they have been great in helping me succeed in everything I do towards my career.”
Sarah’s collection Orenda was created in her final year of university.
“Orenda a mystical force present in all people empowering them to make positive changes in the world,” she said. “My concept and designs encapsulate modern day glamour, feminism and asymmetry to challenge the ideals of beauty. The evolution of glamour has heavily influenced my collection and views as a designer. Discovering that glamour derived from the word grammar is how my concept began.”
Sarah will find out on Friday if she has won the award after showcasing her collection at the final of the Midlands Fashion Awards 2015 in Birmingham.