Sarah Parker is the young creative serving the fashion and art world with her stunning set designs. Her signature paper cuts and clean, graphic style has led her to work with top names like the British Fashion Council, design bible Wallpaper* magazine and a host of cutting edge fashion brands – including Topshop, of course.
Already big fans at Topshop HQ, we asked Sarah to collaborate with us on the shoots for our Dear Topshop Gift Guide and 2014 style resolutions, and the results were just beaut. Wanting to know what makes this young talent tick, we caught up with Sarah on her background, what inspires her and the pearls of wisdom that helped her carve a career path into the design world.
How would you describe your aesthetic to someone who’s never seen it before?
Graphic, considered and playful.
What’s been one of your favourite projects to work on?
I really enjoyed working on the ‘spots and stripes‘ series of images I did with photographer Michael Bodiam. The series evolved over four days and we spent a long time building each set to camera. I like how we managed to create abstract environments made up entirely of simple graphic patterns and also the visual illusions this created within each set.
What inspires you?
I’ve always been interested in optical illusions and things that aren’t quite as you’d expect them to be. I like the way it makes you question reality and wonder how a certain effect is achieved.
Does home influence your work?
I live in Hackney at the moment and the creative community is really inspiring. There are design studios all over the place and I often bump into collaborators and people I have worked with in my local pub. It’s nice to feel that there are lots of people working hard on exciting things nearby.
How did you learn your skill set?
I studied Illustration at Brighton University where we were encouraged to explore different forms of image making, not just drawing. I loved it because I was able to start creating models, 3D type & mini sets, which is pretty much what i do now.
What advice would you give to anyone trying to get into set design?
Don’t be afraid of making mistakes – whether that is trying out a new job or when making your own work. Doing something is better than doing nothing, even if all it teaches you is that you don’t enjoy a specific kind of work or that your talents lie elsewhere.
Any advice that’s helped you?
I think that the classic Anthony Burrill quote, ‘work hard and be nice to people’, pretty much says it all.
What are you most proud of?
Not giving up! It’s taken a few years for things to really start taking off and there have been plenty of points where I have wondered what the heck I’m doing. Being able to make a living doing what I love is my biggest achievement.