INTERVIEW: Melinda Callinan Founder and Designer at Saroka
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INTERVIEW: Melinda Callinan Founder and Designer at Saroka

We caught up with Melinda Callinan Founder & Designer at Australian fashion label Saroka to learn about fashion trends for 2019.

L.N How did Saroka come about? 

M.C For as long as I can remember, I always wanted to be a fashion designer, never once did I waver from this dream. After studying fashion, I started out working in the industry immediately to build my experience. I worked for a mature women’s fashion label that designed clothing around women’s body consciousness which made me realise that there are few, if any designer’s, creating for young women with body positivity in mind. I also noticed that Australian designers were really only designed for 1 body type in mind (tall and slender), further to this their size range only went up to a size 12. The reality is not every woman fits this mould and there are plenty of women above a size 12 who want to wear designer clothing, this gap essentially inspired me to start Saroka.

L.N Each garment from your collection is hand made to order in Melbourne, can you tell us about the process?

M.C Yes, our entire manufacturing process takes place in Melbourne, the process starts off with our patternmaker who creates the patterns for each style at the beginning of the season. She then passes on the patterns to our cutter who cuts each style out as an order comes through. Once the garment is hand cut, one of our two dressmaker’s hand sews the piece. The garment is then pressed and delivered directly to the customer. We allow a 2-6 day window from the time the customer places the order to delivery which is very fast, but we understand customers are living in the “NOW” and want products today not tomorrow, which is why we aim to deliver fast. Ultimately our made to order method works as a sustainable practice as we reduce fabric waste and excess stock.

L.N Your collections focus on versatile garments with that in mind what are your tips for mixing and matching your wardrobe?

M.C Yes, that’s for sure versatility is one of the core focusses behind every Saroka design. My tips for mixing and matching your wardrobe is to have great foundation pieces that you can wear day in and day out. These foundation pieces include a couple of pairs of jeans in varying colours and cuts. A fabulous range of shoes, don’t be afraid to go for a little colour and pattern here. Finally, accessories such as belts and jewellery are key items to have in your wardrobe. Once this foundation is laid, you want every other style in your wardrobes such as tops and dresses to be fully interchangeable by mixing up your bottoms, shoes and accessories to create a whole different look. Each Saroka garment is designed to be the hero piece, all you need is denim, heels and accessories to make it work!

L.N When travelling we are often limited with what we can pack, what are your tips for packing the perfect ‘travel wardrobe’?

M.C When it comes to a travel wardrobe, I think the same rule applies here, build your foundation first – Pack key items such as denim, basic tees and singlets, versatile footwear that aligns with the climate,  jewellery and accessories are a must, they take up a small amount of space and can totally transform your look. Then lastly pick a few hero pieces such as a going out dress, a jumpsuit or a statement top that you can wear back with your foundation pieces. One great packing rule I live by is to make sure every piece in my suitcase can be worked into more than one outfit, if the answer is no, then I don’t pack it.

L.N Can you tell us about your collection and for who your clothes are for?

M.C Each garment in our collection is designed to be stylish, yet wearable and versatile at the same time. The wow factor of our pieces comes from the silhouette, I then select high-quality fabrications that are timeless to create each piece.

Saroka caters for a diverse range of women who take pride in the way they dress, they invest in quality over quantity and appreciate sustainable fashion practices. I never want the Saroka woman to feel as though she needs to change herself to mould into one of our garments, Saroka is designed to flatter women exactly as they are.

L.N What are your inspiration and influences for your collections?

M.C My inspiration and influences for my collections are based on my personal wardrobe believe it or not! When I find something is lacking, I then create a piece with the female form in mind, I’m always thinking about how a woman would feel when wearing a piece that I design. A woman needs to feel confident and effortlessly stylish at the same time.

L.N According to you what are the key fashion trends for 2019?

M.C From what I can see Linen is still going to be a core fabrication this year, everyone just cannot get enough of it.  In terms of shape, there is a strong shift towards looser fitting jeans including straight leg & flared jeans, after a solid 10+ years, I think skinny jeans are out. Neutral tones of beige, cream and white are still strong due to the love everyone has for linen. Although I have seen hints of apple green coming through amongst some of the key fashion influencers. When it comes to shoes, the midi heel is trumping the stiletto, minimal strap detailing is also key to having the most stylish footwear of the moment.

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