With a background in ceramics, Jade Sarita Arnott manifests an eye for structure and form in her sustainable clothing label, Arnsdorf.
The victorian based multi-creator fastens each collection around a conceptual expression of the modern woman. Read on to see our exclusive interview with her.
Tell us about your path to becoming a designer?
From a young age I always had a strong interest in fashion and knew I wanted to pursue a creative career, however wasn’t sure which medium it would take. My parents met at Art School, my dad is a photographer and my mother was a painter although they also had other jobs to support their practices, so I grew up in a creative environment . After school I studied a Bachelor of Creative Arts and then went on to do a Bachelor of Fashion Design, so I have a background in both art and fashion.
Your silhouettes are edgy and daring, why do you think that is?
I think this goes back to my background in sculpture and interest in contemporary art. At the moment I’m looking at the work of Rebecca Horn for the next collection and previous garments have been inspired by the work of artists such as Noguchi, Eileen Gray, Barbara Hepworth, Jean (hans) Arp.
If you had to describe an ‘Arnsdorf woman’ what values would she have?
The Arnsdorf woman is a women of style and purpose. She is interested in the art of dressing and has a good eye for aesthetics with a deeper awareness about the impact her decisions around purchasing makes to the environment and to the wellbeing of the people involved in its production.
I found clothing and having a label has allowed me to encompass a wide range of my creative pursuits and interests, from the conception of ideas, for garments through to creative direction of photoshoots, along with photo editing. Clothing is such an intimate medium and I love the usefulness of it in peoples’ daily lives.
In the creative process, where do your designs start?
They can really start from anywhere, at any time. I’m continually responding to the world around me and seeing the beauty and inspiration in unlikely places. For my last collection my initial ideas came from attending a wedding in Sydney which included two ceremonies, one a traditional Jewish marriage ceremony; the other a traditional Indian/Hindu ceremony. They were set against a backdrop of the Sydney Opera House. It was incredible visually and so rich with ideas from the shapes of the Opera House (which ended up in the pleated neckline details of the Daphne dresses), to the mixing of cultures and references to wedding ceremonies and attire. I loved watching as guests wore their husbands and partners oversized suit jackets over their party dresses as the sun went down and a cool breeze off the water came through. It was also a time when my husband was playing Gillian Welsh’s song, ‘Elvis Presley Blues’ on his guitar and singing the words to my young son who then became really interested in Elvis Presley. So that song and early footage of Elvis Presley on youtube was referenced in garments like the Elvis Jacket and the wide pointed collars on the Diana Coat and Inez shirts. So during the creative process the design and inspiration seem to find their way to me and become a follow on from the previous collection.
Tell us about sustainable fashion and your brand?
We take a multifaceted approach to sustainability. We have set up our own factory here in Collingwood, Melbourne so that we have total control over the supply chain and working conditions of our integral machinists/craftspeople. Everything we produce is made in-house with the exception of denim which is made at a woman-run denim factory down the road whom we’ve had a relationship with for over a decade. We start by sourcing fabrics or developing fabrics by their sustainable properties along with working directly with specialty sustainable fabric mills across the world to source the highest quality, lowest impact fibers and fabrics. We also utilise high quality dead-stock fabric, that have been over produced by international designers.
Design is front and centre to the brand and the key to longevity of the garment. We spend a lot of time sampling and prototyping and testing our garments so they are refined and perfected, it’s a circular process as we work directly with our machinists in-house. Offering free repairs for the lifetime of our garments and transparency is an integral part of bringing about a systemic change within an industry that has been traditionally very opaque in terms of its often times, questionable ethical and sustainable practices. We are continually incorporating ways to be more sustainable within our practice, from zero waste cutting techniques or incorporating discarded fabric scraps into something new.
” I am also interested in the uniform of our daily lives and finding ways to push these garments in new directions so there is something both familiar and unexpected within them, it’s this fine balance.”
— JADE SARITA ARNOTT
Who have been some of your favourite designers over the years?
I admire what Phoebe Philo has done in her years at Celine, Christophe Lemaire Sarah Linh Tran for Lemaire, over the years along with Raf Simons, Veronique Branquinho, Cosmic Wonder, Bless, Coco Channel, Claire McCardell and Madeleine Vionnet.
If you had to describe yourself in 3 words, what would they be?
Optimistic, passionate and creative.
What keeps you motivated when things get difficult?
The continuous process of creating the new, along with the transformative power of clothing and the vision of a healthier and more wholistic fashion industry.