Who What Wear Podcast: Sarah Staudinger

How do you go about finding inspiration, especially in times like this, when you don’t have the freedom to move around the world in quite the way that we used to? I’m curious about how you fill that well of inspiration up when the world feels smaller in some ways.

Well, inspiration for me comes from anything around me all the time. [It was] definitely more difficult in the early pandemic. That’s when we launched our pet-club initiative. My pets were bringing me so much comfort during that time. So I was like, “What does the woman want right now?” And I think that at that time it was comfort and something that felt personal. Right now, I’m really focused on “perfect-imperfect,” and there’s this Japanese type of treatment of ceramics and philosophy called Kintsugi. It’s taking something imperfect and making it more beautiful by it being broken. So that sort of philosophy lends itself to this idea of acceptance of change and the renewal of things, and I think that that has been really inspiring to me. So this current handbag season—the fall season that I’m working on—we sat around, and I was like, “Okay, take these bags and imagine if they were made out of glass and we dropped them on the floor and we put them back together.” What materials would we use to put them back together, and how would it look and feel? And that idea spilled over into ready-to-wear. Stitch is really important to me, so we played with a lot of stitching, but it was a simple concept. It grew into this bigger story, and I pulled in all the elements, like rope and stitch and all those things that we love, and incorporated them in a lot of different ways. So even subtly in dresses, you’ll see that little put-back-together, imperfect-perfect moment.

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