[MIKARA] Hailing from the suburbs of New Jersey (hey fellow Jersey Girl), what made you go into fashion with very little inspiration living in the town you are from?
[SARA] I think the desire to want more and to do more. I always knew I wanted to move to New York and work in fashion. Being from such a small town allowed me to romanticize city life and create this dream for myself that I actively pursued. One of the greatest things that I learned since being away from my hometown is how much inspiration it really did provide me. A lot of inspiration for my collection came from memories of my adolescence, which are so unique to my small town experience.
[MIKARA] When did you know you wanted to take fashion design seriously?
[SARA] I feel like I always knew. I remember when I was in third grade we had to write what we wanted to be when we grew up, and I said fashion designer without even knowing how to spell designer correctly. It became more of a serious goal when I started taking classes at FIT and I began learning how to sew.
[MIKARA] It may seem like a long process at the moment for you, but with you being a recent graduate from Pratt Institute, you have some prominent names on your resume and recognizing you. Did you anticipate this before you graduated in 2017; like create a vision board for your brand accomplishments or were they coming in unexpectedly?
[SARA] Oh my gosh, I didn’t expect it at all! Especially not four years ago when I first started at Pratt. It’s been such an amazing journey and I’m so grateful for everything I’ve accomplished so far. I joined Not Just A Label on a whim after graduation, not expecting much to happen, then suddenly stylists were reaching out to me left and right. It’s still so surreal every time a stylist reaches out – I’m always like, “that’s MY work they want!”
[MIKARA] What elements identifies your successful in the fashion industry?
[SARA] I do think that success in the fashion industry is defined by people recognizing your work, whether that’s because a celebrity has worn it on the red carpet or you’ve gained a cult following on social media. On that same note, I think that the most successful fashion designers are the ones who stay true to their roots in the midst of success–designers like Vivienne Westwood and Molly Goddard.
[MIKARA] In your words, how would you define fashion?
[SARA] Fashion is the ability to make a statement through clothing. It’s your chance to define who you are by what you wear.
[MIKARA] Would you categorize your collection “High-End Fashion” or ” Casual Luxury Fashion”?
[SARA] My collection is more like casual luxury fashion. I never wanted to design haute couture; I always wanted my pieces to be accessible to a large group of people.
[MIKARA] How would you describe the Sara Teator woman in 3-5 words?
[SARA] Quirky, smart, badass, dreamer.
[MIKARA] What do you love about being a Fashion Designer?
[SARA] Fashion design allows me to create art that will become a personal object to the wearer. Fashion is wearable art, which is something that always drew me to the medium. While I love and appreciate paintings, where do they end up? They either sit in a gallery space or in someone’s house, but you don’t give much thought to them. With fashion, you create something that will be in a person’s life constantly–it’ll go out on the street, travel abroad, or end up being something of sentimental value. Fashion is so important and everyone acknowledges it in some way. Being a fashion designer is a powerful creative endeavor.
[MIKARA] What puts you in the mood of creating; is it music, talking to people, going to the museum?
[SARA] Often going to museums and watching movies put me in the mood to create. Movies especially had a huge impact on the direction of my collection–I drew a lot of inspiration from “The Virgin Suicides,” “Picnic at Hanging Rock,” and John Hughes movies from the ’80s. Films with a dreamy aesthetic make me want to create (like most Sofia Coppola films).
[MIKARA] Is there a celebrity or micro-celebrity you would love to wear your clothing? Who is it?
[SARA] Chloe Sevigny! I would die if she wore any of my pieces. It’s also my dream to have Kevin Barnes from of Montreal wear a pair of my gloves at one of his shows.
[MIKARA] Where do you see your brand in 5 years? 10 years?
[SARA] I hope to expand my collection in the next 5-10 years and release new work each season. I’d love to have my own runway show at some point. I would also love to start selling my pieces in boutiques. For now, my goal is to make a new collection and have a presentation in the fall.
[MIKARA] Do you have a special talent outside of fashion designing?
[SARA] I’m really great at crossword puzzles. I have the New York Times app on my phone, so I’ll literally do crossword puzzles at any and all times. My average time to complete one is about ten minutes!
[MIKARA] Closing out this interview: whats the next big thing for you or plotting on?
[SARA] My next collection! I have so many ideas for a new collection that I’m super excited to start working on. Hopefully in the next few months, you’ll start to see some new work from me!