Emily Saunders has always been a chic chick. The first sign of creative promise was evident from her childhood pastime, doodling whimsical drawings of rabbits in dresses. She went on to study English Lit at Wellesley College, where she spent her time doing costume design for plays. During her time in London, she interned at the London Globe Theatre and the Royal Opera House, where she helped to construct costumes. When she moved back to New York City, she changed her focus to women’s wear and studied at Parsons. She spent two seasons at Marc Jacobs and a summer at Perry Ellis before graduating and branching out on her own.
The name SAUNDER came from a brainstorming session with friends. It’s a punchier take on the designer’s namesake, with a little ring to it. A friend likened it to her customer “sauntering” down the streets of NYC! As a brand, Emily wants to be known for being ‘made in NYC’, as well as for the quality and design of her clothing. She is really careful about the conditions in which her clothes are made, and takes into account where she sources her fabrics from. For example, this season her fabrics were milled in the US and organic. For the upcoming season, they were milled in India and sourced through fair trade organizations. Her mantra is to take responsibility in what you buy, and be conscious if you can.
New York City has a vast impact on Emily’s creative process. She grew up here, and finds that the pace and beat of the city helps to drive her. It is inspiring for her to have so many creative people and outlets for creativity available in ‘one little island’. It’s nice to be home. Being a designer today takes a lot of resiliency, and passion is key. Emily says that without confidence in yourself and what you are doing, you won’t make it past your first season. It is a highly saturated market, with very risk-averse buyers, and the best advice she can offer is to stay determined!
The identity of SAUNDER is drawn from the designer’s own persona along with her past experiences, especially while traveling. Emily finds the colors, energy, and cultures she has experienced to be a hub of inspiration to pull from. Depending on the mood of the season, she likes to look at styles of the past, in particular the aesthetics of the 20s flapper girl and billowy 70s styles. Right now, Emily is drawn to loose and easy off the shoulder dresses with subtle sexiness, as well as the proportions of fitted tops with fuller bottoms. The core of the brand is a cool femininity with a funky edge.
The SAUNDER customer is an easy going girl who likes to mix up her wardrobe a bit, perhaps by pairing a pretty dress with chunky boots. She appreciates the versatility of the designs. She loves to accessorize with statement necklaces and rings. The SAUNDER girl is someone who isn’t afraid of expressing herself through her clothes.
Emily began her idea for this coming season with a feeling germinating within her. She had pangs of nostalgia of her dreamlike childhood summers spent on the English seaside with her family. The joyful collection consists of decadent “ice cream-y” colors along with hues that remind her of the sea. We are so excited to see what’s next for this amazing label!
Check out her website at http://thesaunder.com/