WGSN interview: Sharon Wauchob on fashion and femininity

Sharon Wachoub

Providing me with a moment of serenity- far away from fashion week madness and, specifically, 180 The Strand- the Fitzrovia Chapel provided an ethereal backdrop for Sharon Wauchob’s AW18 collection.

It’s something Wauchob always tries to do- find a show or presentation space that’s a little off the stiletto-trodden Fashion Week track.

It was here that I caught up with the designer to talk all things feminine, London versus Paris and her impending move to the Men’s fashion calendar.


 What’s the inspiration behind this latest collection?


Paris is obviously a key influence – that’s where the couture elements come in, and where some of the softer elements come in, too. The stronger and more solid pieces are definitely influenced by England- and it’s here that I’ve been discovering tailoring. This is something I want to push further in June, where I’ll be moving to the Fashion Week Men’s calendar- but still showing womenswear.

For me, it’s always about femininity and the different sides of that – but on another level, i’m exploring couture and ready-to-wear, and the relationship between the two.

sharon wauchob

I’m glad you brought up femininity. We’ve been seeing fourth wave feminism across catwalk shows – fashion celebrating and revealing the female form. Are you inspired/influenced by femininity?


For me, it should always be about exploring femininity. It’s always been a focus of mine- I actually did my thesis at CSM on rural women and femininity.

I’ve always been surprised by the connotations of ‘weakness’ around femininity. For me, there’s a strength in it that I’ve always been set on exploring. I think it comes from being Irish and growing up around strong women, too. It just really interests me.

I’ll be exploring femininity in my upcoming Savile Row project, later on this year.

I think what I’m working on is exploring the strength in fragility – I love reflecting that contradiction in both my materials and in my finished pieces.


You’ve been showing  in Paris until very recently. Why make the move to London?


Honestly, for a whole host of reasons. I was quiet- almost in hibernation-  in Paris. I was aware of that and comfortable with that, too. But then you get to another stage. You have to move on to the next step if you want to progress.

As I said, I’m set to work with Savile Row this year and that’s something I’ve been keen to get working on since I made the move to London. I’m a big believer in working with real craftsmen and, when you focus on tailoring, you need to be giving people the best.


It’s a beautiful and considered collection. Do you have a favourite piece?


I don’t know if I do. I think I just love layering certain things. It’s usually two or three pieces together that sums up the collection for me and gives me something I can really relate to. For instance, putting the pyjama-like pink silk underneath the sheepskin coat or layering two of the fluid dresses in an almost accidental way.


Sharon Wauchob

At WGSN, we’re seeing consumer demand for sustainable, ethically-considered fashion rise. Where is your stance on sustainability?


If you’re working in an artisanal, hand-crafted way – you’re often approaching things sustainably by default. But it’s still a really important and considered thing for me- I don’t want to do it for the branding exercise. We have our own atelier- we work directly with the producers of the lace. That for me, is credible sustainability.

It’s nice to be able to give people that security of knowing that the clothing they’re buying is ethical and traceable.

Getting that balance between design and commerciality/wearability can be difficult for designers- how do you make it work?


I don’t find that balance hard anymore, but it does take time for designers. I was allowed that time in Paris, that’s something that the French system really gave me. It’s so important and taking that time to work out what’s wearable and what works is to be appreciated, as it’s not something you can work out in six short seasons- it can take years to know your woman, to be able to listen to her.


So what’s next for you?


I’ve got to the stage where i think growth can’t just encompass trying to do everything. I’m just trying to move forward in the spaces I do well – things that i’ve spent years honing and perfecting.

Like this? Head to the WGSN Womenswear section  and read up on our catwalk analysis for more.

Like this author? Follow her here: @alicegividen

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