What’s that junk in your trunk, Sadie Clayton?

by Emily Wells

"There are two sides to every woman."
Sadie Clayton, a luxury sculptural womenswear designer, stands out as a force of the loud and absurd in a sea of British practicality. Clayton's designs have an architectural approach, and nearly always feature some of her signature copper. Opting for creativity over sensibility and beautiful design over commercial viability, Clayton is a designer to keep your eye on.

We caught up with the designer on her personal style, what's in her studio, and the main influences of her design sensibilities.

What is your definition of style?

Style to me is expressing yourself through the colours, textures, shapes you put together. You have placed those pieces together for a particular reason to make you feel a particular way to build your story of style, allowing people to perceive you in a certain way.

Which five pieces of clothing could you not be without? Why do you hold them so dear?

1. Givenchy couture red tailcoat: One of my first designer pieces from Rellik

2. 1970's black drape two layer crepe trousers: £10 from a market, they're so flattering and an easy throw-on .

3. Copper embroidered bomber: My signature piece, it's full of coppery goodness.

4. Philip Treacy hats: When I'm not having a day with my fro out I will put one of my Philip Treacy hats on. I adore the shape.

5. Frida Khalo socks: She is a huge muse of mine and I feel like I Channel lots of positivity when I'm wearing them

Where is your favorite place to brainstorm and get inspired?

In my study at home. I have my crystals there and my scraps of sampling of copper, my iMac and my favourite pen

Who for you is the most inspiring fashion designer of all time, and why?

Iris Van Herpen. I love the way she fuses art/fashion and technology. The shapes she creates - it's real fashion! She also then makes wearable pieces for the buyers. See, it can be done!


Do you think of your work as art or craftsmanship? How do you balance form and function as a designer?

I think craftsmanship is an art. I feel fashion is moving back to what it used to be: intricate, beautiful, quality pieces of craftsmanship that are works of art. Yes, I would consider myself as an artist that channels energy into clothing and sculpture. Fashion is art and I want to be within the new generation that explores this and merges them. Let's swipe this fast fashion, boring clothing OUT!

Your clothing is very focused on decoration, form and textures. When did you begin using unconventional materials in your designs?

When I was at college after I left school I played with lots of textures and forms but it wasn't until I was doing my degree when I really began to explore. My graduate collection show pieces were made from copper metal. I always wanted to work with metal, but not brass, not gold, not silver as you see that everywhere. Having said that now copper is everywhere too  the season I worked with Mark Lebon I developed the copper metal, I plenished it and put a gas burner to it to add another texture and colour.

How does your aesthetic reflect your personality?

Loud and crazy ey! I'm all about the bigger the better, the more daring, the more exciting! I'm a Sagittarius, what can I say? I am very spiritual so the copper stones brings good luck. I always include copper in my pieces.

Then my experimental sculptural pieces will inspire my simplified commercial pieces. There are two sides to every woman.

Who do you design your clothes for? 

Grace Jones — she is my ultimate!

What has been the most exciting moment in your career so far?

There's a few things that made me mega excited:

1. Been asked to demonstrate my copper metal work inside the Alexander McQueen /Nick Waplington exhibition at the Tate Britain, then going on to lead a workshop at the Tate Modern.

2. My collaboration with Nixon, I reached out to them to ask to build a watch ( aim high ha) I ended up customising x3 watches - copper and black, with a copper oxidised face. That was surreal.

3. I'm showcasing a retrospective of my art pieces at Art Basel in Miami at the end of this year - super excited!

What challenges did you have to face to get where you are in the industry?

Firstly, not fitting in with the 'trends' that the new designers have going on. Having to prove myself and really convince that there are commercial pieces within the collections. 

Featured image by Ki Price

Interview by Clementina Marini Clarelli