Sophie Cull-Candy interview


London College of Fashion graduate Sophie Cull-Candy’s Spring Summer ’18 collection incorporates a welcome return to spring florals against more “boyish” cuts. Making a name for herself as an up-and-coming designer in the sustainable fashion movement, Sophie’s newest collection is one to treasure. Key pieces include a pair of large glittery 70’s style hoop earrings and a hand-drawn black leather jacket with baby pink and green flowers printed across the body.

Sophie has begun to establish herself in the industry, with her pieces appearing in publications such as Vogue Brazil and Another magazine. We caught up with the emerging designer to find out more about her creative process and her views on gender-less fashion.

Sophie Cull-Candy interview
Blue sweater & paisley flares by Sophie Cull-Candy, floral strap top by Valentino, mules by Prada

What is your main inspiration behind the collection?

A lot of my influence comes from colour and natural landscapes. Some of my favourite memories growing up were of my time walking and exploring in Scotland, where my mum’s from, and this has definitely had a lasting impact on my work. Every collection starts the same way for me, I have to have a real feel for the main three colours I’ll be using and then it all evolves from there. This collection I continued to develop my interest in flowers, through drawing on the leather jackets, florals being my strongest form of inspiration and something I’ve often avoided for fear of having a ‘florals in spring, ground-breaking…’ moment, but I’m now fully embracing it!

Sophie Cull-Candy interview
Suit jacket by Nathan Korn, pink glitter earrings by Sophie Cull-Candy

The clothes and accessories have a vast range of colours, fits and textures. Who do you see wearing your clothes?

I really enjoy working with texture, it means you can be designing a really simple shape but then give it a shiny silk or a lightweight tweed and suddenly it has intrigue and a totally different feel. I’ve seen very contrasting women wearing my clothes, but something they all seem to have in common is a quiet confidence – in my mind whilst I’m designing I tend to go for things I would wear, but in reality this seems to translate quite well, with a range of customers from ages 16 to 75.

I also love seeing my pieces worn alongside other designers, because you’re then seeing it in its most realist form. It’s very rare that someone will buy a whole look from a collection and only ever wear it like that – so it’s really fun to see how everyone styles something differently.

I saw a woman once wearing one of the wrap tops from my first collection, she had it on upside down and back to front – this had never occurred to me before, but it looked great. That’s why, when I was styling this shoot, I wanted to feature garments from other designers I admire – like menswear designer, Nathan Korn, styling his floral glitter suit with my glitter earrings just means everything gets seen in a totally different dimension.

Sophie Cull-Candy interview
Pink glitter earrings & embroidered tulle top by Sophie Cull-Candy

The shoot is very playful, do you think playfulness is an important part of being a designer?

Definitely! I think fashion should be about escapism and aspiration, the enjoyment of becoming a new character or the fun of entering this fantasy world that has been built for you out of someone else’s head. Something I really enjoy is creating the lookbook or planning how you will present your new collection, creating the overall package and finally getting your vision and feel across is so exciting.

Sophie Cull-Candy interview
Hand drawn leather jacket by Sophie Cull-Candy

You describe your work as “boyish but not unfeminine” – do you think fashion can help change gender stereotypes?

I believe it can, but I also believe that a brand (including my own) that describes itself as either womenswear, menswear or unisex doesn’t mean anything, because if someone wants to wear something they should feel totally free to.

Sophie Cull-Candy interview
Hand painted drawn jacket & tulle knickers by Sophie Cull-Candy, tights by Gipsy Tights

As your reputation and success has grown how has this affected how you design?

It has actually really helped; as I’ve grown I’ve realised what people like and what I like. My collections have become smaller – as I’ve been able to edit myself down, and this has been a real asset, I get so excited when I work and I love experimenting but I feel like I’m really beginning to find myself as a designer and I’m keen to progress into having a more consistent style.

Sophie Cull-Candy interview
Black glitter earrings & tulle top by Sophie Cull-Candy

How does this collection depart from your previous work?

This collection involved a bit more experimenting with flat work, in terms of very flat striped knitting and 2D drawing straight onto the leather jackets, my tulle pieces were all a lot flatter this season with no printing involved. I particularly enjoyed creating this collection because I feel like it’s really put me in the right direction for the brands designs aesthetic.

You studied at LCF and then went on to working for yourself. Which brand would you love to work with now?

I’d most like to work for Valentino or Miu Miu – I feel like I could do really exciting things with print at both these houses!

Sophie Cull-Candy interview
Tulle Coat by Sophie Cull-Candy

More and more, people are buying clothes with a social conscience. Do you think the days of fast fashion are coming to a close?

I really hope so! Fast fashion is such a danger to the environment and the workers – both the planet and we, as individuals, would all benefit from buying with more purpose – and not getting rid of clothes every few months. I still wear things I had when I was seven! Granted they fit a little differently, but I’ve made them work, and I really love them! I strive to make all my things to the highest quality so they last as long as possible, I would be so happy knowing someone had passed on a piece to one of their children in years to come. Also with my new collection coming out in February I will also have a specific item where part of the profit goes to charity – as I think it makes a really easy way for people to donate to a good cause, I’ll be sharing the specifics for this a bit closer to the time.

Model JOI  at Milk Model Managment