Theresa Jackson is the founder and designer of Sark Studio, whose flagship store on Crown Street is the neighbourhood’s best-kept secret.
Favouring sculpture-inspired shape and timeless design over the latest trends, Theresa has created an aesthetic perhaps better suited to the streets of Paris than Sydney.
Nevertheless, Sark Studio’s local adherents love the brand for its artisanal and eclectic pieces, created from fabric sourced everywhere from Italy to Japan and handmade right here in Sydney.
Sark Studio is a welcome respite from Sydney’s PR-driven fashion scene. Theresa’s word of mouth approach to the industry ensures that while less people inevitably know about her clothes, those that do can appreciate that the garments do not require industry hype to make a successful imprint on the market – the designs speak for themselves.
When I meet Theresa at a coffee shop just up from her Crown Street studio, she is dressed in one of her own designs. It’s a sculptural patchwork shirt that uses bold colours and patterns effortlessly. I’m by no means a fashion expert, but my immediate thought is that Theresa’s garments are more about personality and storytelling than, to quote her directly, “clothes that come off the sausage line.”
“My designs are beautifully made, quite simple but not for the faint-hearted. They’re for people who want to stand out but in a subtle way,” Theresa explains.
Theresa tells me about her experiences showing at Paris Fashion Week, the excitement and the perils of trying to transport an entire collection and props for the showcase from Sydney to Paris in just two suitcases.
She recalls, “Everybody loved us because our whole show room was simply our garments hanging from string. We had no mirrors, no rack, and I decorated the place with mandarins.”
This minimalist approach to showing at Paris Fashion Week allowed the designs to be seen just as they were without the excess that is character of so much of the industry. As a result, Sark Studio now wholesales to a select group of international retailers.
“I think it’s the sculptural aspect of clothing design that I love. It’s all about the shape of the clothes. I’m not that interested in fashion – I’m interested in the changes and how everything evolves, but the latest trend doesn’t concern me.”
Theresa sees a movement in the fashion industry towards those brands that choose to fly under the radar and value ethically sourced materials and timeless pieces over profit. It seems that the Australian fashion industry needs to reconsider its core values and place sustainability and craft above the next big trend.
To find out more about Sark Studio, it’s best to visit the Crown Street shop directly. Otherwise, head to their website https://sarkstudio.com.au/, or their Instagram page @sarkstudio.