Interview with Designer Sarah O’Neill

Interview with Designer Sarah O'Neill Floralesque 5

Sarah O’Neill is someone whose work I have admired for the last number of years, her clothing line Harlow and Harvey is just stunning and she has also styled the likes of Daniella Moyles and Sarah Morrissey. What is so interesting now is that she has moved into the world of interior design. To me they are closely linked and someone needs to have the eye for design and colour in order to succeed in both/either worlds. Sarah certainly has that talent and eye for design and I cannot wait to see what the future holds for Fauxlie Studios Interior Design. She kindly agreed to be interviewed for my blog and I am delighted to be featuring her.

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When did you decide to take design as a serious career path? And did you always want your own label?

I decided to study fashion after coming back from a year in Australia after I finished school, and after a year long FETAC course and then a 4 year honours degree in Fashion Design, there was no question that I would start my own label, as working for other people never really appealed to me so much. I was lucky to win a prize at my Degree show and which provided me with some funds and also the extra motivation to launch the label that was to become Harlow&Harvey.

Do you think that everyone should attend college before developing their own label?

I think college is a great way to learn the technical aspects of fashion design such as pattern drafting and garment construction and also provides you with methods to structure your thinking and processes so that you can hone your creativity into realizable garments. Possibly most importantly it teaches you extreme discipline which is crucial to any degree of success in the competitive field of fashion design, so id say yes i think its important, but I’d say that also completing a business /entrepreneurial course would be hugely beneficial and was something that many degree courses lack.

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During your career with Harlow & Harvey you have won quite a few awards, although perhaps not the easiest question to answer – what has been your career highlight to date?

Winning awards and being recognized by industry people was always amazing and really helped the brand both in terms of visibility and press coverage, which was great, but for me the highlights of doing the work I did was always in the relationships with clients. For example, I had a client who commissioned me to make her wedding dress after she saw some of my designs in a local store and it was just such an amazing experience to create arguably the most important dress she will have ever worn. That level of trust and belief being put in me as a young designer was a very beautiful experience.

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I understand that you are now working in the interiors trade in Berlin. This is quite the change, what made you want to move both country and career?

Hahaha, yeah, seems like a lot when you say it like that ! I was living in Dublin for the few years before I moved to Berlin and I just never really found my place in the city I don’t think and Berlin was a place I wanted to move to, so it was an easy decision when the time came. I had always sidelined with interior design, working on a few domestic projects in Ireland and then when I landed in Berlin, an opportunity to take on a sizable commercial interior design project came about and from there Fauxlie Studios Interior Design was born.

The aesthetic is relaxed and cool, combining rough, original textures and surfaces with sharp and luxurious finishes to create a purposeful and strong original look, I create effortless and quietly dramatic spaces inspired by romance, nostalgia, grit, drama and abstracted emotions. I love it.

Is there a strong link between the two – fashion & interiors?

Yeah, totally. The processes you use to create collections and spaces are the same – its all about emotion and stories really, and translating those narratives into either garments or spaces, through color, texture, layering, distressing, combining elements and translating your ideas into physicality. Creating spaces for people to exist in has been an amazing experience and feels like something important.

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I understand that you are now selling your samples from your label on DePop – can you please tell us what we can find if we were to look at @harlowandharvey on DePop?

Sure, all my samples from Harlow and Harvey are up on Depop – so cocktail dresses, structured jackets, some skirts – a lot of pieces that feature the H&H trademark fringing or cutouts. I am so in love with all these pieces and Im really happy to be able to offer them to people who will love to wear them. Most pieces are cut to a size 10/12 with select pieces cut in size 8/10.

Where do you see your career developing in the next 5 years?

I am an incredibly driven person and so I only ever want the most out of myself – I really see myself continuing in the Interiors trade for the next 5 years and I want to grow Fauxlie Studios to a point where have a team of people and we are taking on large scale European and International projects that are highly creative & innovative.

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Interview with Designer Sarah O'Neill Floralesque 11

For anyone thinking of going into the fashion design or the interiors world, what tips would you have for them?

With regards to Fashion, i think that something really important is to be aware of some of the harsher realities of the industry – issues like fast fashion and its effect on the planet in terms of pollution and waste, also human exploitation and the use of underpaid and overworked people in developing countries, as well as the effect of the unattainable beauty standards that the fashion industry espouses on women and girls. The fashion industry is beautiful and creative and can be very rewarding but it also has a very dark underbelly and I don’t think that you can be a part of the industry and remain willfully ignorant of these issues either.

On a lighter note, I’d say also be true to you and your style and your taste and create what you feel and never second guess yourself cause then you only end up compromising on many levels 🙂 Also know where you are aiming for cause its the only way to get where it is you’re aiming for.

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A massive thank you to Sarah for the interview – it is so interesting to hear about moving from a career predominantly in Fashion Design to one in Interior Design. I would highly advise you to check out Sarah’s pieces on DEPOP (@harlowandharvey) it is so rare to be able to purchase design samples and her pieces are just beautiful.

You can follow Sarah via her Fauxlie Studios website and also on Twitter @Fauxlie_

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