+371 by Sabine Skarule
Sabine Skarule’s collection came into being thanks to feelings of nostalgia and a search for something new. Before she started her Master’s year at the Royal Academy of Fine Arts in Antwerp, Sabine decided to do an internship at The Row in New York. This is when she started to look back at her roots. Being in the metropolis made her want to slow down, daydream and remember where it all started.
“Why did I get so excited about fashion?” was one of the questions that popped up. Sabine told us that back in the day, they couldn’t buy garments at the store so they made everything themselves by hand. She clearly remembers her mom sitting behind the knitting machine to make sure the family was provided with clothing.
Her Master collection became a very personal creation, an interaction between her Latvian roots and search for innovation. Ethnical costumes were reinterpreted and materials mixed while keeping the balance between old and new. In order to create the collection, she traveled back and forth between Belgium and Latvia where she worked with local craftsmen and seamstresses.
For those who wondered where the title of the collection comes from, it’s the international calling code in front of Latvian phone numbers. During her time abroad Sabine was very often on the phone with her mom and other relatives. The +371 literally made sure she stayed in touch with her roots.
Together with the honor of receiving an H&M Design Award comes a sum of €50.000. Usually, we don’t tend to ask about people’s spending habits, but this time it was inevitable. Sabine didn’t have to think long about an answer since she has a clear goal in mind from the start. The money will be used to produce and launch next season’s collection. To say it in her own words “I’m planning to go to Paris, to work on my brand’s identity and to make things happen.”
The H&M award came to her exactly at the right time. Sabine mentioned she likes to do things her own way so working with investors isn’t an ideal solution. Also, designing for a big fashion house isn’t what she aims for. Her secret is to always listen to her inner voice. At the end of our talk, she told us about a picture of her as a little girl with her grandmother. When she’s in doubt she asks her younger self what she’d do in order to get a pure and innocent answer.