Designer Sharna de Lacy

We would like to introduce you to the faces behind Our Collective – member of our family and our Kabila. We want you to get to know the amazing people we've partnered with to bring you the brand we're so proud of. It's no easy feat and we couldn't do it without the magic that happens behind the scenes. 
Today we're talking to Sharna de Lacy, our designer and fit guru who helps bring our ideas to life.
Describe yourself in 3 words?
Passionate, curious, nerdy.
Can you tell us a little about yourself and your creative process? 

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 Wrap Dress has been designed with simple everyday elegance in mind. Effortlessly floating around the house, going into the office, out for dinner – we wanted the piece to take you anywhere and to feel totally effortless.
We've given it a streamlined body, and gentle v-curve neckline which flatters lots of different body types. The wrap is deep enough to literally wrap the body, avoiding the curse of many wrap styles which have a habit of flapping open, and not getting much wear as a result. It's not enough to design something that looks amazing, it needs to feel amazing too.
The length of the tie gives room to experiment with the silhouette, a full-around body tie for a synched waist look, or let it loose for that nordic oversized look.

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.