Designer Sharna de Lacy
I'm a fashion designer, bird momma, friend, aunt and science function nerd. I'm a woman of many varied interests but a singular obsession with fashion design.
Talk us through your creative process?
It usually starts with some small detail – like a fabric finish or particular construction technique that has already drawn me in. I’ll use that as an entry point into lots of visual research, and start to build a fully fleshed out concept from there. That early part of the creative process is the most fun – I'll often spend time in the bath just letting my imagination take me on a visual journey, and often end up dreaming about fabrics and design details.
But I also love the technical stages – developing a fully resolved garment, sourcing the perfect trim, finessing the final sample – I love it all. Being born into an age where everything you could want or need is there at your fingertips – delivered to you by the invisible hand of immense and opaque global supply chains – I get a lot of satisfaction from being a maker, and working with other makers at every stage of the supply chain.
What is one of your challenges as a fashion designer?
Fashion can be a high pressure environment, and I am constantly striving to find a sense of internal calm when the pressure starts to rise. I don’t think this is confined to being a designer, but it is certainly challenged in that work.
I think we understand more now than ever before the high cost of running on stress as a constant. We have come to think of stress as a kind of virtue and proof that we are productive (the ultimate modern ideal). The challenge is to untrain myself from this false narrative, and learn to move more like a river than a traffic jam.
What does fashion mean to you?
Fashion has become an obsession for me – I love every aspect of it. I love the hands-on nature of it, and the idea of mastery. Fashion design has endless potential for exploration, and refinement.
I am quite cerebral so I also think a lot about the idea of perfection – design as a process similar to sculpting – discovering a form rather than creating it from nothing.
It’s joyful, it’s exciting, it’s endlessly challenging and it’s always been a way for me to create more space for the sublime in my personal life.
How would you describe your personal style?
Like lots of designers, I don’t have a very adventurous personal style. I spend most days in high waist jeans and basic top and channel my creativity into dressing other people.
I have been incrementally building more statement pieces with loud colours or bold details though. My Collective Closets blazer and pant sets are on a decent rotation – I love a bold colour. I used to be uncomfortable with the attention that comes with stepping out in a killer outfit, so louder dressing has been an adventure to find my inner extrovert. I'm learning to love compliments from strangers!
Can you tell us a little about the Hekima wrap dress?
The balloon sleeve gives it that iconic Collective Closets drama – African-inspired maximalism meets the more minimalist Melbourne silhouette.
What do you love most about yourself?
Wow, deep question. Perhaps I would say my curiosity? It has been with me since I was old enough to ask questions, and it keeps the world alive and endlessly interesting. Even when I am in a deep slump, not sleeping well – I'll be lying awake wondering what Alcibiades was really like, developing dresses made of recycled plastics or trying to comprehend the holographic universe principle. It’s also a trait that gives me lots of wonderful imaginative time with the children in my life – exploring, wondering if snails grow their shells or find them. As a designer I think it’s something that gives depth to my work, and so much room for creative exploration.