Edwina Sinclair is the Brisbane gal behind Soot, a label so new that the designer has only just left university. That said, Soot's developed an instant cult following and is already stocked in FAT stores across Australia. Cheeky, luxurious, warm, exagerrated and highly textured, the label's AW14 collection 'POP' is full of bubbles and a palette of pastel sorbet tones. Yum!
Why the name Soot? Is there a story behind it?
The first collection that I ever designed had neutral dark tones - a black and charcoal palette - like soot in a chimney. My aesthetic has definitely changed and evolved but I still really like that it is just one syllable and 'o' is my favourite letter.
Can you talk a bit about the inspiration behind your AW14 collection, 'POP?'
I really wanted to define my aesthetic and so I focused on traits that were important within my personal style - humour, luxury and texture. I did a lot of textile experimentation - boiling, burning, and manipulating fabrics and I also learnt to knit. I took a more humorous approach by exaggerating shapes and proportions and always referring my sketches and toiles back to a childlike aesthetic. The luxury aspect enters through the fabrication — all hand-knitted pieces are 100% natural fibre. The collection doesn't use any synthetic fabric and the custom digital prints are printed on a luxurious cotton sateen.
Jerico Mandybur: We hear you love brutalist architecture; what’s the attraction and what are some of your favourite buildings?
Edwina Sinclair: When I was studying in London in 2012, the Barbican Centre seemed quite bizarre to me. I could not understand the concept or appeal but this is what was so intriguing to me so I began researching Brutalist architecture. What interests me is that it just doesn't look quite right. For some reason the fundamentals seemed to resonate with me when I began designing and planning the 'POP' collection. Focusing on little decoration, angular geometrics as well as emphasising hard materials and stark forms seemed to stimulate the initial silhouettes of the collection.
The range seems really cheeky and fun; would that be fair to say?
Yes!! I plan for all my future collections to have a similar playful feel.
Do you see your label as more luxury or streetwear?
All of my previous work has been streetwear but this collection has given me an appreciation for luxury. I think the garments show my heavy involvement in the texture and fabric creation and I think this will make the pieces special for the wearer (well I hope.) I want to continue creating my more luxurious pieces as well as streetwear so my brand can reflect a bit of both.
Does living and working in Brisbane inspire your designs at all?
I do have a lot of inspiring people around me in Brisbane and subconsciously, the environment filters in! I would say that the colours I use are influenced by my surroundings. When I travel I seem to draw on my surroundings even more - I think this is because of the unfamiliarity.
Can you describe the Soot girl?
I think the Soot girl is like this collection - playful, young at heart and a bit cheeky.
Who are five girls you'd like to see in your pieces?
Beyoncé, Tavi Gevinson, Hanne Gaby Odiele, Yoko Ono and The Queen (in a knitted bubble hat.)
If your collection was a song, what would it be?
You've only just graduated! What plans do you have for the future?
I've just moved into my own working studio that is really exciting. My plan is to work on my label and keep producing fun collections! I also hope to do a bit of travel.
Photos: Sophie Richards