Long known for pairing heels with sneakers, Romanian-born designer Ancuta Sarca made her debut at London Fashion Week in 2019, under the supporting umbrella of Fashion East. Fast forward three years and she’s back to showcase her inaugural Spring/Summer 2023 collection from her back, along with two brand debut collaborations AND a completely new line of bags.
“I’ve been waiting a long time to show people my work in real life,” the designer tells Hypebae. “I’ve collected so much that I want to show now, and I think it’s so exciting.” The SS23 collection takes cues from ’70s motorsports and features collaborations with SKIMS and Vans, ushering Sarca into a new era of experimentation, and this time, everyone’s invited.
SS23 also features a range of unisex designs for the first time and sees Sarca delve into her family history to repurpose a number of wigs to create bags representative of prosperity and femininity. We caught up with the designer to learn more about the inspiration behind the collection, how the collaborations came about and what’s next for the brand.
Read on for the full interview with Sarca and see her SS23 collection above.
What can you tell us about the inspiration behind this season’s showcase?
When I started, I was looking at a lot of Formula 1 cars and driver outfits, like Bentleys from the 70s, and I was reading a lot about this female driver who was a champion. I was so inspired by how empowered she was and how she stood up for femininity in this really male car industry. Everything I do is from such a feminine perspective, so I really tried to push the boundaries between masculine and feminine by using men’s heels and recycling shoes from more extreme sports, which are usually associated with men. I really tried to put it in a very feminine context. This is just a more mature and intimate way of doing it. That’s always been the core of my brand, but I think for this collection we’ve really pushed it forward.
You are introducing menswear styles for the first time, how did that decision come about and what are the changes in the design process – if any?
Now it’s unisex and I just felt like I wanted to explore other aspects and see the designs on different bodies. There are many male bodies that are also female, so I don’t want the body to be a limitation. From this point of view, I’m not talking about the body when I say feminine and masculine, it’s more about the sense of something.
SS23 also sees the debut of two new collaborations, with SKIMS and Vans, what can you tell us about them?
Vans was something that came about because I was watching a lot of Formula 1 and I saw all these boards, and I just associated it so much with the slide of chess. I think it works really, really well in this collection. With SKIMS, I knew I wanted to create clothes, but not from scratch. I wanted to use unfavorable materials and it seemed like an interesting idea to use something that is usually really soft and turn it into something very tough and powerful. With these inserts of geometric and metallic materials, it’s a great contrast. We used a deadstock scheme and some of them [fabrics] there were defects, or they were just leftovers, and we simply reconstructed them in other parts.
Sustainability remains at the core of what you do, why is it important to you?
We all see what’s going on in the world, it feels like it’s going to keep regressing, and it doesn’t seem like it’s progressing, and I think we need to do something about it. We live in this world, we need to live healthy and we need to make sure that future generations live a healthy life.
Finally, what happens next? Anguish Sarca?
I want to explore more collaborations. The presence of these unfinished schemes and brands was very interesting to me and it’s like a mission to complete when you get a random product that needs to be changed. I think I want to do more of this, but for now, I just want to take a few days off.