MAE BY SARA
Sara McKinnon used to own a popular fashion boutique in the Middle East , so when she moved back to London a few years ago, she was looking for a new creative outlet. Despite living in the city she'd always been a beach bum at heart so designing a free spirited resort wear label came very natural.
" I want to dress fun-loving carefree women who go straight from the beach to the bar, and look great while they do it!"
Greatest inspirations or influences?
London: Growing up in London teaches you to always dress for your mood and not follow trends. Anything goes and I think true Londoners really dress as a way to express themselves which I love. Also I'm half Australian, half Kuwaiti so I have a special affinity for both laidback beach dressing and Bedouin handicraft, which I think comes across in my designs for Mae.
Tell us about your creative process and challenges of starting your own brand?
Starting your own brand is daunting for the simple fact that there are so many amazing designers out there who are so well established that at the beginning I often wondered if there is actually space for a new comer. Coming up with original ideas and then hoping people believe in them can be overwhelming at times but ultimately I try to stick to designing things that I would wear, keeping in mind that women come in so many shapes and sizes. And often when a sample is completed I visualize someone I know wearing and owning that style. Once you get going on your designs and styles the excitement is extremely empowering, and then you just hope the world agrees.
Starting your own brand today is especially challenging but also very exciting because the space has changed so much and continues to do so. Social media is so important for us as well as having an online presence, while the more traditional route of PR and having physical stockists doesn't seem to be working for many brands. There is no straight formula anymore.
- Kate Moss because she taught us not to care and that style isn’t owning the latest trend and wearing it, but actually throwing together a mish mash of your latest and oldest finds and wearing them with confidence, while having a lot of fun.
- Seeing women standing around at parties looking immaculately well-dressed but totally stiff bothers me a little bit.
Favorite websites, instagram handles?
I don’t tend to relate to women who are too perfectly put together. I admire women the most whose smile compliments their outfits and its ok to have messy hair too.
- I follow Elle Ferguson and Tesh Safton for some Aussie laid back coolness,
- Zimmermann and Alice Mcall are my favourite labels at the moment.
- I think Realisation Par is a great little label for essential pieces for women on the go
- and of course when finances are up Net a Porter and when they are not, ASOS really makes some great pieces that don’t break the bank.
How would you describe your personal style?
I would definitely say I don’t dress to impress.
What I mean by that is I have always dressed because I love the items themselves, not really for anyone else’s benefit. I was definitely one of the last girls to wear high heels and make up, choosing comfort first but always liked to experiment with colors and textures. I have a huge belt and vintage clutch collection and always preferred that what I was wearing didn’t scream a designer label but rather a mélange of influences. My friends often tell me I have too many accessories on or that my earrings are too big. The truth is I love getting dressed up and am a big believer that your style often represents where you are in your head. I design and wear bohemian shapes and styles because I am quite free spirited by nature.
Anything else you would like to share?
We just launched our online shop and now ship worldwide so you can buy and wear Mae by Sara wherever you are in the world!
Check it out, maebysara.com
It's always summer somewhere, right?