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Sadie Williams SS16 instant film Dazed Digital
Sadie Williams SS16 instant filmFilm courtesy of the Impossible Project

Getting inspired by school discos and 00s nostalgia

Going back to the time she found the most fun in fashion, designer Sadie Williams channels teenage revelry for SS16

With an aesthetic that boasts sparkles, halter tops and ribbons foraged from markets, noughties school discos are at the heart of designer Sadie Williams’ inspiration for SS16. The collection (named Barnes B, after her house at school) was presented at London Fashion Week in a series of instant photos, tacked up around a recreation of her own teenage bunk bed. We talk to the designer about the inspiration behind her hand-made, nostalgia-fuelled garments.

What inspired this collection?

Sadie Williams: Starting your own label properly can be pretty tough so I really wanted to get back to the time when I think I enjoyed clothes the most. So me and my mates dug out old photos from school, especially pictures from school discos. At boarding school the discos become something we would all really look forward to, and plan outfits ahead swapping clothes. I often used to make and customise my own backless tops and dresses, pretty crudely, with ribbons for straps, sparkly fabrics from Shepherds Bush, and sequin patches. So this season I wanted to referenced these crude party clothes and bring this teenage, hand-crafted spirit to a collection that also relates to the person I am now.

Why was Instant film a good format to display it in?

Sadie Williams: When me and my friends were at school none of us had smart phones, and any phone with a camera took pretty crappy pictures. The photos we stuck on our walls and desks were always polaroids or printed films from clunky cameras or disposables. I wanted to accompany clear digital pictures with something less polished, something with mistakes and no pressure.

How does this collection relate to girlhood and adolescence?

Sadie Williams: For me it relates very much, but I understand that this collection is quite personal and may not relate to everyone’s idea of girlhood. I looked to the clothes I customised and created, for example I used the embroidery threads I had kept from making friendship bracelets as a teenager in some of the textiles. I used shapes that me and friends would wear to discos, like mini-skirts and backless tops, and combined the looks with youthful elements like sweatshirts and trainers with lurex laces.

Why the notepads and Coke?

Sadie Williams: The note pads seemed like an appropriate prop, not too silly or young, they are something I'm always scribbling in these days, making tons of to-do lists. And the Coke picture came about because that’s what the model was drinking on set, sipping on between shots, so we thought we would just snap her as she was!

Who is the model, and how does she tie into your story for the season?

Sadie Williams: Elizabeth Yeoman! Eddie (Wrey) had taken her portrait recently, and when I said to him that I was looking for someone teenage and with long hair like me, he told me about Elizabeth. I liked that she had braces and was slightly awkward. We took the instant pictures before our digital shoot, and I immediately liked her. I liked that she was easy to laugh, try things for us in a sweet and slightly awkward way, but she was never stiff or nervous, she was very comfortable and she’s quite an individual.

See Williams’ digital lookbook below: