The 90s are back. Loud and bright the riffs and trends of the rustling nylon decade have returned with a vengeance. The bold patterns, the high shine and girl power are all on the up and are particularly clear in SULDN’s latest collection.
Beginning her fashion career with Topshop straight out of university, Sera Ulger – the force behind the brand – worked on designing and painting their prints before striking out on her own with SULDN.
Drawing inspiration from 1990s East London, the haunt of the YBAs well before the current influx of young professionals, Sera channels the rebellion and irreverence of that time. She is rooted, though, in the East London of now. While consciously referencing the 90s Sara is producing clothing which is contemporary and drawn from the London of the 21st century.
Nor is the inspirational hinterland limited to London, Sera’s recent collections have an eye across the Atlantic. It is unsurprising, really, that those sun bathed shores fringed with palms should have proved such an interesting collaboration with Malibu recalling heady days of summer fun. More recently too, Sera has drawn on the ancient civilization on the banks of the Nile to bring bling and a certain mystery to her AW16 collection.
The collection is at turns witty and playful. It is, like the designer behind it, both fun and fearless.
What inspired the ‘About That Gyptian Life’ AW16 collection?
Ancient Egyptian colours, jewelry and antiques are all so inspiring. I’ve always been a sucker when it comes to the Egyptian movement, which is why it became the topic for AW16. There’s so much to explore!
What I really wanted to make sure with this collection is that it was executed in a subtle style and not so obviously done. I’ve used jewels and antique cats in prints with my paintings of Tutankhamun.
I also explored the political avenue, which is how ‘Guns Don’t Kill Ppl People Do’ came about. It’s definitely had a mixed review! The message is in the right place.
If there were a soundtrack to the AW16 collection what would it be?
Actually it would have to be MIA’s ‘Bad Girls’: its so on point with the brand and this collection.
What’s your favorite piece from the AW16 collection?
Gold Cat Coins which we’ve launched on a grass green and lilac pink. It’s our unisex print and I can see it on almost anything. I love it!
If you were stuck in a lift with three fashion designers who would they be?
Roberto Cavalli. I’ve loved his work since a young age, he’s the reason I found my crush for fashion! But all together: Cavalli, Donatella Versace & probably Jeremy Scott. The conversation I imagine could go either way, ideally a fun inspirational rant.
What is your favorite album from 2016?
‘Lemonade’ by Beyoncé. Can’t. Get. Enough!
Why is it important for girls to be loud, bold and fearless?
Women are powerful especially when we’re bossing it and what better way to represent that than clothes? I make clothes that speak feminine as well as attitude. My prints stand out, they seem to turn heads on the streets by both boys and girls, and I’ll take that.
Explain your love for the 90s.
Growing up in the 90’s and the influence the music had on my dress sense, life style, friends and even moods was a great experience being a teenager! It comes through my designs without realizing sometimes. I have a passion for all eras, and I love vintage shopping, its great inspiration for the brand!
Describe your creative process: how do you keep your designs organic?
Now that would be telling, but really my inspiration will come to me at the most random moments, especially when I’m travelling, Sometimes I have to wake up in the middle of the night to put pen to paper! It’s very much in the moment too and what is happening around us and in the world and how I might be feeling about a particular topic.
Name one thing that frightens you about the fashion industry and one thing that excites you.
Frightens me: Fast fashion. Its scary the pace of how quickly you’re expected to bring something new out so often – when the collection you’ve just launched took you 6 months!
Excites me: Being able to express my art in my clothes and having no boundaries because I make the rules.
After doing a collaboration with Malibu can we expect any more in the future?
Yes for sure! I love to collaborate with brands and bring products a new sense of life for what might only be for a short period of time creating a hype! I would love to collaborate with a sports brand. Our signature Lips N Hearts print would be so cute on sneakers!
If you weren’t designing, where would you be?
Meditating on top of a mountain. I’m quite a spiritual person and would love to explore that side of me more.
What’s next for SULDN?
We’ve had a really exciting two years since launching the brand, I would like to widen our networks and take the brand global. LA might be on the cards for us. Also, I’ll let you in on a secret: SULDN will be launching a kid’s range sometime this year so watch this space for mini baby beanies and bombers!
Aside from clothing, what other forms of artistic expression do you depend on?
The love for art & music is where it always begins… also being a very visual person when I’m exploring London or going about my day to day in Dalston. It always has an influence on my designs as well as creative direction for our photoshoots!
Introduction by Oliver McKinley
Interview by Yassmine Benalla