Sara Aljaism is a graduate of Raffles Institute of Design and Commerce, one of Australia’s leading fashion schools. Her tenure at the Sydney-based institution was not in vain, as she is now the headseamstress-in-charge of her own fashion label. A huge fan of Toni Maticevski, it won’t be long until her name is mentioned in the same breath as that celebrated designer.
Tell us about yourself.
I am currently into my first year into my label. My label is mostly evening wear and couture and next year will be heading into the bridal scene. I realized in my last year of college that couture is what I wanted to do so with a bit of time after graduating, I was planning my next move which was starting up a label. I started designing and making gowns for family and friends for some time which then led me to officially start a collection for my label this year. I also decided to go back to college and do a post-grad diploma in business—which will come in handy.
Was launching your own clothing label the most challenging thing you’ve ever done?
Yes! There are so many roles I had to be this year, and not just a designer. I had to be an accountant, PR, graphic designer, etc. Its a business after all and I had to make all the decisions. But I am fortunate to have met a few people this year that has worked with me in starting up. And its been rewarding experience.
In past interviews, you expressed your admiration for talents like Toni Maticevski.
Yes, Toni is one of my favorites from the Australian market.
What do you most like about the designer?
What I like about him the most is that he has his originality in his designs that allows people to know the difference between his work and other designers here. You can spot his a mile away and know its his. And that’s something I look up to with designers who can achieve that.
Did you feel beautiful when you were growing up?
Too be honest, I don’t remember much growing up now. But I guess like most teenage girls, there’s so much we go through that makes us feel ‘less-beautiful’. Thinking about it now, I do remember when I hit 16 I felt a bit more content with who I was. I think that’s the most important thing, and thats what makes women more beautiful.
When you were starting out, how did you manage to get attention from the media and build a client base?
It takes longer then a year and I’m still doing that. However, I am fortunate enough to have had the experience I have had this year, and the clients that I am meeting.
Do you happen to have a favorite beauty book?
I actually don’t have or know of one.
Has any of the advice your parents gave you over the course of your childhood or teenage years come in pretty handy when it comes to running your business?
One of the best advice I’ve learned from them is to be patient. So while I started just this year, I had to keep reminding myself to be patient and things will happen at its course. Because I’m a little ambitious and a bit of a dreamer, I have to slow down and not want a million things to happen all at once.
Are you involved with any causes?
No I’m not unfortunately, but I’ve been looking into that.
Lace is a huge element of your designs. What other fabrics do you like to work with?
I work with a lot of silk also. There’s nothing like a nice flow of silk chiffon or georgette. But I want to get bait experimental and start working with leather as well. I’ve worked with it before in college and it’s pretty cool to work with.
Do you think internships and apprenticeships are the best way for an aspiring designer to get experience?
Yes! I had my internship at Nicola Finetti, and I learnt so much. Its a good experience for a student or fresh graduates to have and you take what you’ve learnt with you. It makes it so much more harder for aspiring designers to start anything without any industry experience.
What makes a woman stylish?
I believe a woman is stylish when she knows who she is as a person, and has that confidence in her dressing. Individual style over fashion trend any day!
If you could dress a famous woman from history, who would you select?
Audrey Hepburn, Grace Kelly, Princess Diana.
What’s next for you?
Bridal will be next year. A few things to come but we’ll leave that a surprise.
Visit Sara Aljaism’s fashion label on Facebook.