Our Women in Business: She’s in Fashion!
Posted on September 04 2018
Looking fierce yet feminine in the office (and not to mention onto the winebar) has never been so easy! With exciting new season product about to hit stores this month we met up with Sarah Lim, Womenswear Designer at the iconic Australian brand Saba, to find out more!
As design and technology become more and more intertwined in our everyday life, Sarah tells us how she uses tech to deliver some of the most creative fashion designs in the country!
An extremely successful and talented designer and businesswoman, Sarah really is living proof that style and function can definitely coexist harmoniously!
Did you always want to be a fashion designer?
Always!! I’ve been making my own clothes ever since I was in Highschool and so did my mum when I was a little girl, so it was pretty much ingrained in me! I studied a Bachelor of Fine Arts as a Textiles major and then went on to study a Bachelor of Design afterwards. Next stop was my first paid role in a design studio at Wayne Cooper and I’ve gone onto work with some of the most well-known brands in Australia! I feel so lucky to be able to pursue my passion and get paid at the same time!
Describe a “normal” day in the Saba office
It’s really not as glamourous as you would think….emails! Lots of emails! We have to have a constant line of communication open with our merchandisers in China as there’s always lots of questions about fabrics, trims and of course pricing! And depending on what we’re working on, we’ll either be tech packing for new development which involves a lot of draping on a dummy or if we’re designing a new collection we lock ourselves in a room and sketch like crazy! From developing mood boards, to fitting confirmed styles to reviewing current sales we can easily cover 3 seasons in 1 day.
Do you use technology for your job? If so, what and how?
Yes, like most industries, tech is now vital to our everyday tasks. Day to day I am always using my laptop for that never-ending inbox of emails plus I’ll often be making updates to images and sketches using adobe suit. I sketch all my rough sketches on my ipad so I have a digital sketch book instead of a physical one which is brilliant as I can literally sketch anywhere at any time if I have an idea or am inspired by something I’ve seen!
In your opinion how has tech changed the fashion industry?
Sketching on an ipad is so much more convenient and means you can have all of your ideas in one place. They’re easy to colour up as well so you can quickly and effortlessly get your ideas across to other team members. In my job I travel overseas a lot and tech has made it so much easier to design wherever I am plus keep in contact with the office and make sure I am in the loop with everything that’s happening!
Saba is synonymous with workwear – what influences you when you’re designing the workwear collection? What’s more important style or functionality? Can we have both?
Style and functionality both come into play and depending on what months we are designing for depends which way we sway. During Spring when racewear and occasion dressing is key we are more focused on design rather than functionality. However, when it comes to our suiting ranges we are always focused on functionality but of course always with that stylish Saba flair. Its definitely possible to be stylish and functional, especially in the workplace where both are mutually important. I love that its now so much easier and more acceptable to show your own unique personal style and flair in the workplace!
What are the key Spring Summer trends that are coming though in workwear this season?
For print direction, we’re really loving soft checks in different scales, romantic floral blooms and non-prints. It’s all about sensual, luxurious fabrics like satin back crepes, romantic laces and sheer georgettes. Pair these fabrics back with more traditional suiting to add a feminine twist to your workwear style.
Female form is a focus for silhouette, with waist detailing and exposed collar bones and back. You can easily translate this trend into an outfit that’s more office appropriate through corset detailing on shirts and dresses.
As always at Saba this season we are playing on a mix of soft feminism and edgy masculinity and so we love styling a soft printed dress with a traditional masculine trench (also perfect for inclement Spring weather!) https://www.saba.com.au/brooklyn-classic-trench-9352560028927.html
If you want a bold look we love mixing and matching different scale prints together, alternatively pairing some bold checked pants with a classic black jacket also creates a unique statement for the office. Wearing this look you’ll definitely mean business! https://www.saba.com.au/vie-wide-leg-check-pant-9352560026084.html
What’s your favourite Saba look for this Spring
I’m loving this season’s focus on the female form, so The Dharma fitted dress is a firm favourite. I love the wider neckline which exposes the collar bone and the corset detailing at the waist makes this ultra flattering. The sleeve detail means this dress can easily take you from desk to dinner! https://www.saba.com.au/womens/trending-now/lookbook/
Taking into consideration both style and function, what would be your “go to” Code Republic bag?
I pretty much wear black 99% of the time and so the Sonya Leather Laptop Bag would definitely be my choice! I carry both my laptop and ipad everywhere I go and so the clever interior of this laptop bag is perfect to make sure I keep all my essentials organised and protected! https://coderepublic.com.au/collections/womens-laptop-bags-2/products/sonya-womens-laptop-handbag
Finally, what's your top tip for always looking stylish in the office?
Put a pair of heels on and any outfit looks great! I always keep 4 or 5 pairs under my desk ready for any important meetings!