In spite of its short history –the brand debuted with the spring/summer’16 collection–, Sandrine Rose has quickly positioned itself in some of the most prestigious retailers out there like Colette, Barney’s and Antonia, among others. At the helm of the brand is founder and ESMOD-graduate Sandrine Abessera, a French woman who moved to LA ten years ago seduced by its perpetual enthusiasm. “Los Angeles is a city of vibrancy. The quality of life is invigorating. I travel to Europe at least four times per year allowing myself to constantly be reminded of my fundamental roots. The juxtaposition of influence between Paris and LA provides endless room for inspiration and innovation in my designs,” she explains. Abessera’s passion for art and photography becomes obvious in the exquisite and carefully-selected images that inhabit her brand website, and which act as a moodboard for the collection inspiration. In this interview, the French designer talks her advocacy for supporting local artisans, denim as a balanced canvas for embroidery and the many art references interwoven in her collections.
You worked as senior design director at BCBG Max Azria Group formerly. What was the defining moment when you decide to resign and start your own project?
Working for BCBG was an incredible experience for a French girl in LA that never worked in a US Corporation. As a corporate company, BCBG produces their apparel internationally –as most brands do. However, I am an advocate for supporting local artisans. This innate desire of mine to manufacture domestically could not be fulfilled at BCBG. I desired to establish interpersonal relationships with every hand and mind that put forth a single effort into creating the perfect pair of jeans from cut to wash and embroidery. Since starting Sandrine Rose, I walk into my factories every morning and participate to the elaboration of my vision with the help of amazing artisans.
Old gas stations, abandoned, semi-destroyed farms and graffiti walls in the middle of nowhere…One finds a succession of all these photographs on your website. How should we read them in relation to your clothes?
At the core of Sandrine Rose is translating visually inspiring moments into tangible representations of our realities. As I interact with the world allowing it to imprint its covert nature upon the creative spaces in my mind, inspiration is naturally birthed. I take photographs of landscapes and forms stripping color palates from still life images. Most of my embroidery is crafted from these personal instances I’ve experienced. Sandrine Rose Holiday 2016 trend combines classic denim and workwear colors with a vulnerable, sensitive range of tinted neutrals inspired by a trip to New Mexico. The palette suggests poetic authenticity, and brings a sense of value to casual living. My hope is to create a welcoming story open to interpretation between my photographs, experiences, and my denim collection.
What do you like so much about denim as a fabric?
Denim is transcendent of time and symbolic of longevity. Everything in fashion has been done before, it’s all about how we can convolute shapes to create new forms, especially within denim. I love working denim into new unmet territories. It also provides a balanced canvas for embroidery, a signature part of my brand. An entire jean can be transformed into something more exciting by adding a simple embroidery or by working on a new wash recipe. I want people to acquire sophisticated versatile jeans they can wear for years to come.
Everything in fashion has been done before, it’s all about how we can convolute shapes to create new forms, especially within denim.
Do you prefer women in rigid, 100% cotton qualities or stretchy jeans?
We strongly value jeans that are comfortable and soft as a vintage flannel yet structured enough to flattery. Sandrine Rose aims to produce denim that is as easy as cotton with a hint of luxury. I believe every woman should feel bold and effortless in her wardrobe. Hence, we create empowering silhouettes that vocalize versatile art for everyday wear. The relaxed fit of each Sandrine Rose piece conjures a tomboyish sensibility, which is then coupled with brightly toned vintage inspired detailing to invoke a unique feminine elegance.
The relaxed fit of each Sandrine Rose piece conjures a tomboyish sensibility, which is then coupled with brightly toned vintage inspired detailing to invoke a unique feminine elegance.
Pop-inspired and ethnic embroideries as well as Asian influences determine your current collection. Is it a coincidence the fact that your line accurately depicts some of the mandatory seasonal themes?
We try to remain trend forward, but it isn’t the ultimate goal. As I mentioned before, the line’s inspiration comes from my interactions with the world. Handmade like stitch work inspired by my travels and the artwork I’ve encountered add texture, and ultimately highlights just how personal the collection truly is. I think it’s mostly coincidence my aesthetic is aligning much of the seasonal themes of embroidery, but extremely exciting as well.
You describe yourself as an art enthusiast. What artists and movements left a lasting impression on you?
My wells of inspiration aren’t fixed from one time period or genre. In fact, my impressers are quite contrary to each other. While studying at ESMOD in Paris, my interest in the way art and the untapped beauty in nature stimulates design was ignited. I am incredibly intrigued by seemingly contrary spaces and the collapse of boundaries, how artists interpret space and form with various mediums. Amanda Ross Ho and James Turrell are two major artists I admire who investigate informal and formal uses of space. On the other hand, a short lived punk magazine from the 80’s called Slash published in LA which defined the punk subcultures of Southern California has significantly influenced my last spring’17 collection. My various inspiration points create a grand painting of inquisitiveness for my brand. I often pay homage to my influencers within my work such as in my spring’16 collection, geometric shapes are taken from the architecture found in the abandoned buildings of Salton Sea, paying reverence to the works of visual artists like Noah Purifoy and Marcel Duchamp.
Could you tell us the range of wholesale prices for tops, bottoms and jackets?
Typically our t-shirts wholesale for about $44 to $60, our denim jackets wholesale for around $215, kimonos for $180-$300, our jeans range from $150 to $220, each pair priced relative to their craftsmanship.