Tell us about you! Where are you from, what was life like growing up (if you aren’t from Victoria, what brought you here)?
I grew up in Victoria and moved to Vancouver after finishing high school where I went to fashion design school. I spent some time in Montreal as well and now I am living and working in Victoria again.
Define what “fashion” means to you.
Fashion is a way to express your individuality and personality.
What made you decide to pursue a career in fashion?
I have always been intrigued by clothing. Even as a small child I remember being really into experimenting with “style.”
Tell us what it’s like preparing for a runway show like Victoria Fashion Week?
Prepping for a show is always stressful and can be really emotional. Lots of late nights and endless hours of work. Constant thinking about the collection. As an independent designer I make all my own patterns and do all the garment construction myself as well so there is often never as much time as I’d like there to be.
What fashion genres inspire you most and why?
The 20’s is an inspiring decade for me. When woman started breaking norms and wearing what they wanted instead of what was expected of them. Going from countless layers of petticoats to an androgynous and slender silhouette.
What are your favorite pieces to design and create?
My specialty is definitely outerwear. I enjoy designing for f/w more than s/s. I love making coats and jackets and trousers.
Describe for us how a design goes from an idea in your head to being available for purchase?
Basically I start from a loose idea of a silhouette for the season and a colour palette. From there I sketch and edit and repeat until I’ve got a cohesive and well thought out collection. Usually between 10-20 looks.Then fabric sourcing, pattern drafting, and then finally construction. Which is all the cutting, interfacing, sewing, closures etc.
How do you select what materials to use on your designs?
Victoria is pretty limited in terms of fabric stores so I have to choose from what’s available. I’ve been working with almost exclusively natural fibres lately so silks, wools, organic cottons etc. Buying quality fabrics make the garments drape and hang really nicely.
Are there any designers or celebrity fashionistas that you love the most and what is it about them that you love?
I love Japanese design. Rei Kawakubo of Comme des garçons is probably my favourite designer and has been for years. Although my own personal design aesthetic is minimal and pretty streamlined, I love wearable art aspect and the chaos and beauty of CDG.
What are your plans for the future?
I’m currently working on expanding my brand online through my website and online store. I’m going to show again here in Victoria in the fall and really just keep creating and learning and doing what I love to do.
You can visit the Sarah Runnalls Collection Facebook page here to see more of her designs!
Lesley is the founder and editor of What’s Up NW. Prior to creating WhatsUpNW.com, she was the Seattle city editor for AskMissA.com. For both publications, Lesley has covered fashion shows, openings, and local charity events. She has written numerous articles shining the light on local businesses, encouraging readers to always shop local.