BEHIND THE BRAND: MELINDA CALLINAN OF SAROKA
HOW DID YOU GET TO WHERE YOU ARE TODAY?
An extreme amount of passion, some might call it an obsession!
Growing up, I took every opportunity to get into the fashion industry from studying textiles in high school, to fashion design in uni, to interning and working in design jobs until I became confident enough to start Saroka. It has taken a lot of hard work, sacrifice and commitment! But I love every minute of it.
HOW WOULD YOU DESCRIBE YOUR OWN STYLE?
Carefully planned, from my hair style and nail colour, right down to my jewellery and shoe choice, everything has to work together.
DO YOU HAVE A FAVOURITE PIECE AMONGST YOUR COLLECTION?
That’s a tough one, I would have to say it’s between the Whitney Playsuit and the Alexis shorts. Both styles are based on classic silhouettes that have been amped up, like the sleeve detailing on the playsuit and the skirt overlay on the short. I don’t like blending in with the crowd, instead I like to make a stylish statement with my outfit, which is how I design for the Saroka woman.
IF YOU COULD SUM UP SAROKA IN THREE WORD…
Game Changing, Empowering & Body positive.
WHAT KIND OF WOMAN WEARS SAROKA?
The Saroka woman isn’t afraid to push the boundaries when it comes to style and when she does, she holds her head high and totally owns her look.
CAN YOU GIVE US THE LOWDOWN ON YOUR AVERAGE DAY?
My day usually begins with an early start and a cup of tea with breakfast over emails. I have two types of days: One where I’m at my laptop doing a range of different tasks from designing, sourcing fabrics, managing the website and organising collaborations. Two, is inside my sewing studio, where I hand cut a garments for any customer who has placed an order and then prep everything for our machinist to begin sewing.
DO YOU HAVE ANY ADVICE FOR ASPIRING, FEMALE ENTREPRENEURS?
I have two tips. One: Listen to your intuition, you know your business the best, don’t let an outsider influence your decisions. Two: I truly believe it pays to be kind and genuine, you never know when you might need to call upon someone for help.
WHAT IS YOUR OFFICE FILLED WITH…
Scented candles, natural light, Pandora radio & piles of scrap paper as I am constantly sketching and writing down task lists.
CURRENT WORKDAY PLAYLIST YOU ARE LISTENING TO?
It changes throughout the day, I ease into my morning with The Weeknd and end the day with Golden Features, it resets my energy levels.
YOUR INSPIRATIONS TO GET YOUR CREATIVE JUICES FLOWING…
My inspiration often stems from a chat with my best friend about what’s trending, whose wearing what and what we need in our wardrobes right now. I am also a huge street style fan and an avid blog reader, so I frequent my fave bloggers daily!
WHO ARE YOUR FAVOURITE DESIGNERS?
My favourite designers would have to be Peter Pilotto, & Proenza Schouler, I’m always blown away by their innovation around silhouette and fabrication. It’s exciting to see their new collections, you have no idea what’s coming but at the same time you know they won’t disappoint.
IF YOU COULD COLLABORATE WITH ANYONE, (BRAND, ARTIST OR PERSON) WHO WOULD IT BE…
I would love to work side by side with Stella McCartney, she has a wealth of knowledge behind design and sustainability. I admire the way she has a strong voice behind her brand, she directly competes with fashion houses that specialise in leather and fur, however Stella manages to successfully do it without the expense of animals and the environment.
THE BEST BUSINESS ADVICE YOU HAVE EVER BEEN GIVE…
I listen to Gary Vaynerchuk on the regular, he is brutally honest and gives practical advice that you can implement straight away.
WHAT HAS BEEN THE MOST CHALLENGING PART OF YOUR CAREER SO FAR?
Definitely the first season of Saroka, I was so focused on creating the most unique designs possible, that commercial viability went out the door, I ended up being stuck with an entire collection that nobody wanted.
WHAT’S NEXT FOR SAROKA?
We are working on two avenues, the first is bricks and mortar- we want our customers to be able experience our quality and fit first hand, so stay tuned as Saroka could end up at your local designer boutique. The second avenue is collaborations we have in the works with women who share the same passion as us – to create a body positive culture within the fashion industry.
SHOP OUR ‘NOT SO BASIC’ BLACK EDIT: