By Josie Robinson
Sierra Southard combines her love of poetry with fashion to create innovative pieces inspired by her writing.
Southard’s swimwear collection, LUNA NU, is inspired by her poetry, as well as imagery of the night and of the ocean, and is crafted specifically for a young gothic woman. The summer 2019 collection focuses on four themes: Children of the Moon, Children of the Sea, Children of Dust and Bones, and Children in the Dark.
LUNA NU will be unveiled at 2018 The Show presented by Tamoda Apparel Inc., on April 19 and 20 at Kwantlen Polytechnic University’s (KPU) new purpose-built Wilson School of Design building. The beautiful and innovative $36-million building houses a range of design programs including the fashion-design-and-technology program. Thirty-one other lines by KPU fashion design and technology students will also be showcased.
Josie Robinson: Walk me through your creative process.
Sierra Southard: The writing always comes first, then the pieces. I always carry a small writing journal around to jot down lines of poetry that randomly come into my head. From there, I meditate on my writing and visualize what these words would look like wrapping around a human form. I keep in mind what emotion the writing evokes and the meanings behind it. Once I can see an image forming, I will start creating it. Sometimes I get so excited over my inspiration and vision I don’t even sketch the design out!
JR: Who or what was the inspiration behind your line?
SS: I had always looked up to gothic women and how they can express themselves so well through what they wear, even at the beach. Though I am not gothic myself, I take many elements from a gothic wardrobe. So when I was looking for a swimsuit last summer, I realized how difficult it was to find a swimsuit that fits a gothic aesthetic.
After I had this realization, I knew this would be the focus for my line. It seemed second nature to me to incorporate my writing and lots of imagery into these pieces as the gothic style is very expressive.
JR: What word best encapsulates you as a designer?
SS: Combinational. I combine so many thoughts and ideas into each piece I create. I will become inspired by my writing and fabric, then I will think of a story or something I heard at some point in my life which will then become a part of the garment. Each piece is a combination of so many thoughts and meanings and styles and details.
JR: What’s the most helpful thing you learned at KPU?
SS: One of the most important things I have learned throughout this program is to prioritize well and to prioritize spirituality and health over work. This program has taught me to value what is important in life, and not feel like it’s the end of the world when something small happens.
JR: Where do you see yourself in five years?
SS: Co-owning a brand with my twin sister, Taryn Southard, possibly on the California coast. Taryn graduated from the same fashion-and-design-technology program at KPU in 2017.
Josie Robinson is a final-year fashion design and technology student at KPU’s Wilson School of Design.