Isabelle Lotter, designer for Sies!isabelle, prepares for a fashion installation at this years SA Fashion Week A/W collections. She tells us what inspired this range and a little more about the label.
1) Can you tell us more about your fashion label and how it started?
I launched SIES!isabelle in the summer of 2006. It is always a strange experience looking back because my design philosophy has changed quite a bit since those early days. I started off creating clothing that I wanted to wear and this is the main principle around which SIES!isabelle has evolved. I have grown up, lost weight, gained weight, been pregnant and seen a whole spectrum of body shapes, I have used all these experiences to develop a clothing brand that embraces being a woman.
2) Tell us about the defining moment in your career, when you decided to start your own label?
The first week of college all the fresh little first years gave inspiring speeches about their “passion for fashion” and how they would love to have their own label. I guess I just never woke up from that dream. The day I decided I want to study fashion was the day I started my single-minded journey to SIES!isabelle.
3) Who do you envisage in your clothing?
All my dresses are named after people in my life, when I design I think of the people who wear my dresses, my loyal supporters are my inspiration.
4) What kind of preparations goes into fashion week?
I’m presenting an installation this season so preparations have been manic and multifaceted, luckily I have an amazing support team. As much as there should be fixed stages of; research, design, patterns, samples, tweaking and final product production, they have all merged into a glorious creative madness this season. While working on the set we would be inspired and add elements to the clothing or transfer panels created for a dress onto a handbag
5) What inspired this collection?
This collection is a natural progression from my last winter’s collection. I’ve kept elements of gypsies and fairies dancing in a forest and combined it with rich colours and textures. I drew inspiration from eastern design aesthetics and experimented with the drape and character of the fabrics. Even though I’ve reached far to draw inspiration this collection reflects a strong local flavour.
6) How would you define success for a South African fashion designer?
Sustainability. I don’t believe there is a single point in the life of a designer, locally or internationally, that could be pinpointed as “success”. Every highlight becomes part of the story, but it is seldom the end. Being able to sustainability design and produce a new collection each season is being a successful designer.
7) Why do you think an event such as SAFW is important?
The standard of local fashion has been raised and Lucilla Booysens has had a large part in curating it. The pressure which surrounds presenting a collection to the SA fashion elite; media, buyers and audiences invited by SAFW, motivates designers to produce collections we can be proud of.