Can you tells the story behind your label SAÄT?
SAÄT was conceived when I was living and working in Cambodia. After working as a commercial and editorial stylist for nearly 10 years, here and abroad, I started SAÄT as a way of combining all my skills and passion for all things beautiful. SAÄT, which means beautiful in Khmer, is a lifestyle brand that makes thoughtfully designed products for the everyday. We adopt the slow fashion philosophy which means we aren’t tied to strict production schedules or seasonal trends, rather we take our time to create products that people will cherish year after year. All our products are handmade in a workshop in Cambodia that employs disadvantaged and marginalised women giving them sustainable employment opportunities.
What is your creative background and how did it lead you to where you are today?
Since I was a little girl, I knew that I wanted to have a creative career, however, it took me a little while to realise that it was actually possible. When I was 21 I started working at a magazine, with the intention of becoming a journalist, however it was while I was there, that I realised I was much more drawn to (and better at) the visual side of things. Since then, I have worked on several amazing projects, from being a costume designer for the BBC in Cambodia, to creatively directing videos for the Australian Government. When I’m not designing for SAÄT, I work as a freelance graphic designer and stylist. I’m also a passionate cook and photographer and have a food blog called AHA! (ahacurated.com)
What inspires your work?
I’m most inspired by passionate, kind and creative people. However, the inspiration behind my work mostly comes from things I see and experience during my travels. The debut collection was inspired by Kangaroo Island. Kangaroo island is one of those places that stays with you long after you’ve visited. It’s raw, ragged, and at times, hostile, but there’s a serenity there that you can’t find anywhere else in the world. I’m fortunate enough to have family there so its become a very sacred and inspiring place for me.
What is your creative workspace like, and what inspires you about your surroundings?
I share my creative workspace with my partner Euan, who’s a full-time musician and producer. It’s quite a small space, very minimal and zen-like, but perfect for creating. It has the most fabulous natural light and opens up to a wide verandah which overlooks Brisbane city. I’m incredibly fortunate in that I get to divide my time between Cambodia and Australia so perhaps the most inspiring thing about my surroundings is that it changes.
What challenges have you faced starting your own label and what are some things you love about it?
Developing a brand has been a learning curve, both creatively and mentally. I knew from the start what I wanted to create and how I wanted it to look, however, I felt like I didn’t have all the skills needed to do it. I’ve learnt over the years that you should do what you’re good at, and find others to work/collaborate with you who have the skills that you need. Not only does that make for a better outcome, but a much more enjoyable process. Aside from that, perhaps the biggest challenge is dealing with the finances, like most things, starting a brand is a costly endeavour.
As for the thing I love most about starting my own label, that’s easy. I love the fact I get to combine all the things I love and I get to share it with the rest of the world.
What aspirations do you have for your label in the future?
Where do I start? I’m super excited about launching the brand at Finders Keepers Brisbane SS14 markets in a few weeks. It will be the first time SAÄT will be revealed to the public. I’m also hoping to find some stockists in Australia and abroad who share the same ethos as SAÄT. As for long term aspirations, I’d like to add a line of paper-goods to the collection as well as other everyday items. Eventually, I’d love to have my own little boutique/cafe/workshop. A place that stocks SAÄT products, runs community art classes and serves whole-hearted food. I’m not entirely sure what that will look like or where it will be, but it’s a dream.