Sara Bailes launched her eponymous label in 2015. After designing for two powerhouse brands, Karen Walker and Gorman, Sara has over a decade of knowledge in the fashion industry.
Sara Bailes ready to wear collection is designed in Australia and produced by a small, dedicated team in Indonesia, the range features locally sourced fabrics, in-house prints and natural fibres.
Grounded in a desire to produce quality garments, that combine classic shapes and a contemporary aesthetic, the vision is for a strong, consistent and internationally focused label.
What was the first thing you did when you woke up this morning?
Fight off licks from my two rescue Bali puppies jumping on the bed…it’s my home away from home when I’m visiting my factories. They have the best personalities, and their incessant morning excitement means once I’m up, the first thing I do is take them for a beach romp.
What song best describes your personality?
Shoop by Salt n Pepa
What was your first ever job?
When I was 14 I worked as a sales assistant at the local newsagent in Greensborough Plaza…stacking magazines and sorting pens, I started a fairly unhealthy addiction to fashion magazines at this point in time...
Which word do you think is the strangest?
Scroggin. No idea if it’s even a proper word, but it’s what we used to call the trail mix we ate on hikes at school camp…it ALWAYS had Nutri-Grain in it.
What’s your guilty pleasure movie?
Dirty Dancing - I actually know EVERY word, it’s not even guilty really, I’m pretty obsessed and proud of it.
Where do you love to travel?
Hong Kong. Such a great city - best mix of old and new, east meets west, shopping, food, bars…the best!
When are you most creative?
I’m most creative in the mornings! I usually wake up with new ideas and energy from my slumber and like to get it all out before the ideas go away! I am also most creative when I am surrounded by other people - I quite often go out to work on new collections - to cafes or bars or restaurants and sit on my computer…not sure why, but I find it more inspiring when there is good people watching involved.
Where do you draw your inspirations from?
Inspirations usually come from other people’s style and aesthetic to be perfectly honest! Instagram and Pinterest have been a godsend in seeing into other people’s lives and seeing their creativity - I am constantly inspired by new people I find, whether they are in fashion, or artists, photographers, skaters, models, editors, designers…I’ve connected with and consistently draw from the imagery I am exposed to on social media and the internet as well as IRL. We are living in a time where there is such an amazing platform to express yourself visually and find like-minded people. I had a conversation with someone just the other day about the fact that when we were teenagers in the 90’s, it was so hard to find people into the same stuff as you, and you were basically limited to your school friends or friends down the street! It’s pretty phenomenal really what is happening in the world right now. Also, special shout out to my two most recent inspo crushes - Tommy Cash (Estonian Rapper) and Michal Pudelka (Slovakian photographer).
Talk us through your design process
I’m constantly saving screenshots and pinning things when I find stuff I love. Usually at the start of each collection I will gather my top 5 images that I have found in the last few months and build a link between them. They could be anything from a 1960’s beach photograph to a 1990’s rap video screenshot. Once I work out the vibe I’m into I start building from there. I usually start with a colour palette too, taken from imagery I like…I’m not one to follow trends, so I don’t base my colours on the recent catwalk shows or industry projections. Then I start to design the prints - each season I like to do at least 2-3 in house prints all very different, to appeal to different tastes.Then I start designing the garments and decide what fabric bases I am going to use. I work very closely with my pattern maker in Bali (who is amazing), to create garments that are comfortable to wear and have an impeccable fit. I usually wait until after the first fitting to finalise my fabrics, which will be dyed, printed and washed to create the final product…then somehow it all comes together and we have a collection ready to be styled and shot for our Look book!
Where would we find the Sara Bailes girl on Sundays?
She is definitely doing something active in the morning, outdoors and wholesome…then the afternoon would definitely involve at least 1 glass of wine, food, friends and a good undoing of the morning’s wholesomeness.
What advice would you give yourself if you started all over again?
Stress less. Ugh, the amount of time I have spend since the start of my career stressing and panicking about things out of my control is really annoying!! At the end of the day, even when you throw yourself in the deep end (which I have done so many times), there is always a way to swim. Also keep a solid network around you - both in work and in down time…people are actual the best.
What was your jam in the nineties?
Beverly Hills 90210, butterfly hair clips and Girlfriend hats…I also ruined my eyebrows in the 90’s by over plucking and having a pencil thin eyebrow line in place of hair - they’ve never been the same since.
Best Aussie saying?
IT’S SO HARD TO CHOOSE…there are so many good ones…
Apart from the amazingness of Aussie’s adding ‘o’ to so many words bottle-o, servo, arvo etc, I’d have to narrow my pick down to:
1) Chuck a U-ey
2) Going off like a bucket of prawns in the sun.