Hey there, I’m Phoebe, Founder & Creative Director of Sage x Clare. I want to share a little more about the Sage x Clare design process b'cos it's important to us but also to YOU! To describe our brand in a few words: colourful, handmade, textural and soulful. And how do we achieve these key components? Well, you’re about to find out... enter Jem - our Design + Production manager (also my twin sister!)
Q:Can you tell us more about how and where collections are made?
A: If we take it back to the *veryyyy* beginning of every design process - Pheebs and I will get together and start from scratch, this is where we decide on the direction of a new collection. We'll gather inspirations in the lead up - whether that be travel destinations or fashion, or things we're drawn to at the time eg: buildings, TV shows, plants we spy on a morning walk... we'll then decide on the colour palette and lastly the general mood/theme/ narrative of the collection. Once that's all mapped out... we can start creating.
Our collections are made in India, across different regions - from Jaipur, Rajasthan, to the South of India, and sometimes Nepal. We employ suppliers of various sizes, depending on the product, some tiny and others big, but all our suppliers work with skilled craftspeople who specialise in their technique/s. We have a production team in India who help us coordinate the collection across our multiple suppliers and we’d be lost without them!
Here's a pre-covid flashback of our team in India working their magic.
Q: How involved with the manufacturing are you?
A: We’re very involved in the manufacturing - unfortunately Covid has stopped our trips to India, but in a “normal” world, we’re over in India visiting our suppliers every collection. Our production team are involved on a daily level; visiting suppliers, coordinating samples, checking stock and quality and they're our eyes and ears on the ground!
I miss you India...
Q: Can you explain the entire process of getting a product made? From start to finish.
A: The process starts with us sending a design spec sheet over to our team in India. See below for a breakdown of the design process step by step...
1. Sketch some ideas...
2. Start working on a digital illustration from there...
3. Collaborate on the designs with Pheebs
4. When we're happy with the end result, we'll then send the design details (spec sheets) off to the team in India to get samples made!
This design sheet will have every little detail - pantone colours, finishes, colours of zips, size of tassels etc etc. Our team then figures out the best supplier for the product, based on whether it is printed, woven, embroidered etc. There’s usually a bit of back and forth in these early stages - working through any design vs production limitations or issues and landing on what is feasible and production-friendly. The supplier then works on creating a sample which is sent to us in Melbourne and we give our feedback or approval. Once we’ve signed it off, we use that sample for our photoshoots and we move into production. Sounds so quick and easy, but in reality this is months - samples can take up to 6 months!
Q: What are the key handmade techniques used by your craftsman?
A: Hand screen printing - the most widely used technique is hand screen printing… Nearly all of our linen, lots of our cushions and other wares are hand printed using screen printing. We love this technique - it gives depth to the prints that you just can’t find in digital forms of printing.
Weaving - we use woven techniques quite a lot too, but in various forms of weave. Some of our linen is yarn-dyed and woven (the striped or checked linen), and cushions, floor cushions, wall hangings and rugs also highlight forms of weave including flat weave, dhurrie, or hand loom.
Embroidery - hand embroidery is something so special - knowing that someone has sat and sewn with their hands and time is something to be treasured - and hard to find these days! The Celena Embroidered Cushion is lovely example of hand embroidery.
Q: Why is it important to you that your designs maintain a handmade element?
A: Since the very beginning, we’ve always used the skills of craftspeople to create products that are one-off or unique, with every single piece being special in its own right. In today’s world where the handmade can be hard to find, we love that when a wall hanging sits in a home, it’s been through the hands of a specialised weaver with every detail on that piece intentionally handcrafted.
Creating pieces with soul and celebrating the art of craftsmanship is really what floats our boat, it’s what lights us up inside. There's something so wonderful about the love gone into our pieces and sometimes it's hard to articulate the feeling until you see them for yourself. So we hope after reading this, the next time you hold your S x C delivery or walk by some existing goodies of ours in your homes, you’re reminded of its special story… from us to you. Xx