CrowdInk had the chance to sit down (virtually) with Lauri Smith, one half of the sister-duo that founded Serpent & The Swan, a fashion label making waves in the Australian scene. She talks about their creative process, finding inspiration in mediums outside of the one you’re working in, and the task of making the business end work as a creative.
CrowdInk: What is the aesthetic of Serpent & The Swan? How is one of your garments automatically identifiable?
Lauri Smith: Our aesthetic would be classic, but with an edge. We do love layering our mesh essentials garments as there are so many ways to wear and style them which has become the signature look of our label. Our pieces are identifiable as the style and aesthetic is always inline with our brands feel and vision which is individual.
CI: What is your design process like? Do you use other mediums for inspiration or does fashion beget fashion?
LS: We are always inspired by nature around us and by the anatomy of all creatures. We probably look to other fashion the least as we like to follow our creative interests rather than runway trends as we want to offer something special and unique to our customers. We could spot a dead moth on the pavement or see a photograph of light in a crystal and this could inspire a whole collection!
CI: Androgyny seems to be a common thread through your collection. Do you produce any clothing for men/women exclusively? Why or why not?
LS: We started out with separate women’s and menswear categories, but over the seasons they have morphed into more unisex pieces as we found that our female customer liked to wear our menswear pieces too so we decided to expand the size range to be unisex. Some of our womenswear is not very unisex as this can limit the designs, but we have sold our dresses to men before so anything goes!
CI: What is your personal favorite garment you’ve created?
LS: Probably our handmade resin and leather harness piece we made for our fashion week show last year. We tried to recreate the human circulatory and respiratory system in a resin breast plate with crystals and hay embedded in the resin that attached to a leather harness we created.
CI: On the business end, do you have a single piece of advice for creatives breaking into the business world? How can art (and fashion) be made financially sustainable?
LS: It’s not easy, but if it’s what you love then you just have to follow your instincts. All the business stuff we learnt along the way as we have needed to. I would say one step at a time and just keep creating and things have a way of falling into place the way they should. The finances are still something we have to manage day to day to make it work so keeping a part time job or some more permanent income helps along the way.
Check out Serpent & The Swan here!