September 2024

And We Love…

Words: Adriana Giuffrida Images: Rene Vaile

You may have heard of a label recently called Arnsdorf. It’s been hard not to notice since her standout debut collection made heads turn at Sydney Fashion Week last year. Jade Sarita Arnott made a very noticeable statement with her strong use of colour and subtle details, leaving girls gasping for a sorbet coloured pair of jeans. Her clothes have a great sense of nostalgia and emotion behind them, adding another level of intrigue to her collections. Each range has a beautiful story behind it, whether it be the perfect suitcase full of clothes, the recreation of a love story or the beauty of an ice skater. Adriana Giuffrida discovers a little bit more about the optimism, risk taking and journey of this exciting label…

Adriana Giuffrida: Tell me about your journey so far, how have you gotten to this point in your career?

Jade Sarita Arnott: I’ve always had a strong emotional connection to clothing and fashion, I studied Creative Arts at VCA and explored visual art, creative writing, film making and art history and supported myself by having my own accessories label. I went overseas after that degree and the following year enrolled in the fashion design degree at RMIT University, I started Arnsdorf the year after I finished.

AG: Was this always what you imagined you would be doing or did you have other ideas when you were younger?

JSA: It was something I dreamt of doing when I was younger but I also imagined other things (like being an artist, writer, filmmaker or a psychologist.) I always thought I’d end up doing something creative, and having the label has allowed me to combine a number of my interests.

AG: Was there a defining moment when you knew you would have your own label, or did it happen gradually for you?

JSA: Seeds were planted gradually over the years but it did feel like a bit of a defining moment, I was sitting in the car waiting for my sister and it all sort of just hit me and it felt as though all the other things I had done had lead me to having my own label and it just made sense. It was an overwhelming feeling of relief as I had always been really anxious about finding what it was I would do as a career. It was after that that I applied to RMIT to gain the skills I needed to do it, but the goal was always to have my own label.

AG: Your designs have been described in the past as very sophisticated and grown-up, do you feel this is an accurate description of your work? How do you feel when people describe your work, do you think sometimes they can interpret?

JSA: I’m flattered by those descriptions and I like the idea of them being sophisticated and grown up but not necessarily that the people wearing them need to already be or feel sophisticated or grown up. From the beginning Arnsdorf has been built on a respect for modern archetypal garments. I love the idea of garments such as the trench coat, leather jacket, cocktail dress, jeans, shirt and tailored pants making up the costumes of our daily lives. I’m drawn to things that have a classical sense but that are put together in new ways, or their traditional form is somehow subverted. I find function an important consideration and it’s about finding that balance of creating something new that also fits in to someone’s life – for me it’s what makes fashion and clothing such an interesting medium to work in.

AG: Your clothing seems to have quite a narrative with each collection, ‘The Last Picture’ collection was based on your parents relationship, was it hard to delve so deeply into your own family memories? Or does it help to have such a strong connection to your inspiration?

JSA: It comes pretty naturally to delve deeply into my own feelings and memories, intimacy is my second nature and I’m a very open person! It definitely helps for me to have a strong connection to my inspiration that works on a number of levels. The collections act as vehicles or costumes for assisting myself and I hope the wearer, will partake in the journey of exploring a certain feeling or idea that feels currently relevant. I love the idea that the garments from my collections find their way into peoples’ lives and become a part of their personal histories and share the intimate moments of their everyday lives.  

AG: In your latest range ‘And You Love.’ the colours are very rich and romantic, whereas in the past you have opted for a soft colour palette. Is this a reflection of a bolder approach to your design, or do you find it is a natural progression as your label matures?

JSA: That’s an interesting observation about the colour choices, I hadn’t been completely conscious of the strength of the new colours but the idea behind the And You Love collection is about moving forward and the concept and pursuit of considered danger. It’s about the idea of taking a risk which may seem dangerous, but that is actually more dangerous or risky not to take.  They are themes which seem to run through my own life at the moment and seem relevant to the current times. At the same time I began to be drawn to the aesthetics of ice skating costumes and parachuters’ equipment, and then I saw a link between the two, and the ice skaters and parachuters’ actions became metaphors for being pursuits that appeared risky, but on closer inspection would be more so if not undertaken with decisive precision and strength.  It was my intention to give the garments these qualities of elegance, fluidity, precision and strength and sort of empower the person wearing the clothes with these elements.

There are elements of my work that I am consciously creating, but there are also elements which I reflect on later. I noticed the other day that even the titles of my collections have become more decisive and strong recently as opposed to past titles like ‘I think I’ll just stay in…’ and ‘I think we could do great things’, so I suppose there is a progression each season and the mood each collection focuses on has a different emotion or idea.
The fabrics I’ve used are combinations of silk mesh, silk georgette and sand washed silks – I’ve referenced the sheer panels and cut out shapes of ice skating costumes and parachute strings are woven through empty sections of dresses in organic linen.  Organic linen has been used throughout the collection and has been custom dyed to the new Arnsdorf season’s colour palette of the rich and romantic colours you referred to of pink grapefruit, teal, apricot, midnight and chino.

AG: There is a great sense of optimism within your work, whether it be with colour, or the story you are trying to convey, do you think this helps people to connect with your garments?

JSA: There is an element of optimism that runs through the collections and the label, it began though after the ‘I think I’ll just stay in….’ collection which had a darker tone and was a reflection of how I was feeling at the time – not wanting to go out and face the world. After that I decided instead of the next collection reflecting my current state, I would create the opposite and focus on creating a collection about the state in which I (and I hoped others) would want to be in. So I’ve continued to instill a sense of optimism in my life and in my label.

AG: Is this something you consider, or does it happen quite naturally?

JSA: I think it’s in my nature to be optimistic. Part of it is reflected in the label consciously and part of it is probably what I bring to it unconsciously.

AG: Where are you heading with your next collection? in the past you have used colour as such a strong design feature, do you think you will ever venture into using prints, do you feel a print can convey a message as strongly as you have used colour?

JSA: My next collection is called No One Belongs In My Suitcase More Than You. The concept for the collection is the idea of creating a complete wardrobe, the idea of taking all your belongings in a suitcase for travel or for moving to a new city and having the clothing solutions for all occasions.  I’m reading Miranda July’s book No One Belongs Here More Than You at the moment, she’s an artist I’ve admired for a long time, so I’ve referenced her in the title. The colours I’m using are really rich, deep warm colours like burgundy, rouge, a skin base tone, ginger and inks and greys. I’m continuing to refine the pieces to their essential elements, I like the ideas of clean, well thought out lines, that retain warmth. I wouldn’t rule out ever using a print, but at the moment I’m still interested in pursuing the purity of blocks of solid colour.

View Jade’s latest collection at Arnsdorf

Next Article: Brendan Huntley – Forward Thinking