I ambled wide-eyed through the exhibitions at London Fashion Week, coming to a stand still beside the collection of Sarah Angold. I was wowed by an extravaganza of geometric shapes and intricate structures which, though showcasing such apparent aesthetic complexities, still somehow bore a remarkably sleek and simple appeal. The exhibition demonstrated an extraordinary take on statement jewellery, which cleverly juxtaposes structural sculpture and technology; utilising mechanics and bold materials, resulting in a range of unusual and exciting, yet undeniably beautiful pieces. The product of obvious hard work and avant garde thinking; the collection instantly grabbed my attention.
Flattered by my request of an interview, Sarah and I sat down together in the manner of old friends and chinked our champagne glasses. As she began to tell the story of her fashion career, I quickly recognised that there was great deal more to Sarah than just her bubbly exterior; she painted the picture of a girl full of drive and determination. Her passion and unrivalled enthusiasm for design are distinctly evident in her creations; the combination of which has resulted in wonderfully innovative products, as well as her rapidly growing success.
Sarah Angold takes on an entirely unique approach towards jewellery and it’s design, fuelled by adventurous ideas and a will to work against the conventional. However, not limiting herself to jewellery alone, Sarah welcomes any project and is currently working in several different fields of design such as fashion, interior and vehicle design. Since leaving the Royal College of Arts and establishing her own label four years ago, she has acquired an impressive array of clients from Selfridges and Swarovski to Hussein Chalayan, and Toyota Japan.
So when did your desire to enter into the fashion industry start?
I always wanted to be a fashion designer. When I was little and one person wanted to be a teacher and another person wanted to be a doctor, the standard professions, my thing was always to be a fashion designer. I went to do textile design at Loughborough University and after that did some work in fashion, but I felt like there was a broader spectrum of things that I wanted to do. So I did a Masters in constructive textiles at the Royal College of Arts and the idea behind that was that I wanted to be working on a wider breadth of projects with a different discipline. At that point I suppose I sort of moved away from fashion, I moved to Japan, worked creating and designing concept cars, within graphic design, product consultancy, electronics and surfaces- so a massive range of things and then it ended up coming full circle because all of the material development and technology- I’ve brought it back to the fashion arena, and I’ve come back at a completely different angle. That angle has made me feel really excited about it again because I found that the conventional angle somehow just didn’t grab me enough- it wasn’t edgy enough.
So would you say that the great variety of work experience you have had with textiles and materials is the predominant source of inspiration behind your brand?
Yes, absolutely. I think that’s why my style is quite distinctive because it has so many different influences from different places. We have two whole-sale ranges and we also do a variety of bespoke projects. I think all of the projects we do have an influence on everything else that we are doing in some way. For example, if we are working in architecture then that very much becomes what informs the other off shoots that we do.
In a sense then, your business is quite flexible- quite malleable…
Most definitely, that’s exactly why I started on my own. It became very clear to me after my masters that I didn’t want to be a “something designer”, I wanted to be just a “designer” so that whatever creativity I had could be applied to all kinds of different things. That is what has kept it exciting and really fresh.
So, amongst all the different things that you have done, what is your favourite piece that you have designed?
I would say that our signature piece would probably have to be the Dragon Necklace. It’s been really popular with press, it’s just such a statement piece. The material, the radiant finish, it’s like a signature thing that we have used throughout. I think it says everything about what I like aesthetically in terms of its mathematical structure. I like the graduation in it, I think its sort of clever in the way it works, but beautiful in quite a slick and simple way. Its not fussy, but intricate at the same time, if that makes sense?
What is your proudest moment so far?
I’ve gotta say my career highlight up until this point was probably the first job that I got which was with Hussein Chalayan. That was amazing because he was probably the person I most respected. But I believe I am going to have a career highlight next week ‘cause I’m doing a collaboration on the catwalk, for the first time. I can’t tell you who with, I’m not allowed to say but as soon as you see it you will know. It’s really distinctive! I’m really excited about it!
Do you use Facebook, Twitter or any social media platforms like that?
It’s really funny, literally fifteen minutes ago I was having a conversation with David Longshaw about this! I was sitting here tweeting and said I’m going to try and get in loads of tweets and Facebook updates because I just never have time for it usually. Everyday I feel guilty because I’m not keeping up with the social media and David was saying to me that it’s so true. He said ‘If I was to keep up with all that, I would never actually have time to design anything’. It is really hard to keep up and I guess you can hire people to do it but when you are starting off that’s really tough. I think its brilliant in that I really like networking. I like connections and it does make it easier, however I think that it comes with an obligation and it really is a challenge when people are like ‘oh can I catch you on Facebook or Twitter’, people tell you that if you aren’t doing it regularly or keeping it updated then it looks bad… I mean I do all my own designs, I make all my own pieces, I do my own PR and I teach, as well as doing bespoke projects- I’m only one person! So yeah, I’d say that it’s both good and bad and I bet that most people feel like that.
And finally, how would you like to be remembered?
I hope that I will be remembered for innovation, pushing boundaries of materials, and for really beautiful pieces. I really would like to be respected as someone who does great design.
A week after this interview took place, Sarah Angold’s jewellery featured on the catwalk for the first time in an exciting collaboration with David Koma. Watch out for her next February over fashion week where she will be showcasing a four storey lighting installation on the Strand staircase at Somerset House!