LONDON — Lena McCroary, the founder and creative director of Sanne, is looking to the past, and taking tips from Savile Row to fashion a future as a womenswear designer in London.
The designer, who studied at Central Saint Martins and trained on Savile Row, creates made-to-order clothing for clients, which she’s able to produce quickly, by hand, in a workshop in Battersea, London.
She can turn around an order in five days, and sources many of her fabrics in the U.K. Her aim is to keep the supply chain as short and nimble as possible.
She only makes the orders that she books from clients, thereby avoiding end-of-season waste. She doesn’t have to worry about factory minimums, sell-throughs or other challenges that the traditional wholesale model can present for an emerging designer.
McCroary conceives themed capsule collections and drops them throughout the year. She sells via private events, the latest of which takes place on Tuesday on the terrace of The Mandrake hotel in London.
“Fashion is a bit stuck at the moment,” said the designer. “A lot of brands are too big to pivot, but we’re small enough to make changes, and to move things forward.”
McCroary’s latest capsule is called Cosmic Age Part Two. She has teamed once again with the young artist Izabela Olesinska (whom she discovered on Instagram) to create a series of fun prints that depict an imaginary destination beyond the stars.
Her inspiration was Elon Musk, his company SpaceX and his fascination with far-flung travel. With that in mind, she wondered what Earth-dwellers might wear on Mars, if they ever manage to make it there.
“I wanted to reflect on the times that we’re living in and look at how normal civilians would live in outer space,” said the designer. “And I love the fact that no one took Elon Musk seriously about space travel, which is why he decided to become his own engineer.”
The prints are cartoonish and uplifting, with Pop Art-inspired palettes and lots of clashing pink, turquoise, yellow and red. They appear across luxe, heavy silk twill pajama-inspired suits and coordinated sets. Buttons are made from bio-resin or mother-of-pearl.
Quotes include “The Sky Is Not the Limit,” “The Greatest Voyage Is Still to Come,” “Welcome Aboard the Sanne Space Station,” and “The New Cosmic Age.”
McCroary said she wanted the colors and graphics to be “fun, bright and energizing,” and said her silky pieces feel “incredibly sexy, even if they’re not figure hugging, or revealing.”
Prices range from 500 pounds to 3,000 pounds, with shirts in the 800 pound to 900 pound range, and shorts and trousers costing 650 pounds to 750 pounds.
With her mind locked on a greener, no-waste future, McCroary plans to unveil a capsule in September that’s made entirely from old cashmere scarves she’s sourced from eBay. A few months ago she made a similar collection using used denim she’d sourced on the site.
December’s drop will be around a new theme: McCroary is moving from outer space to the metaverse, NFTs and Blockchain technology, although her clothes will be for Earth dwellers, not avatars.