Each month we celebrate an emerging fashion designer. This month we are delighted to interview Verra Sauvika Jury. Originally from Indonesia, Verra is the designer behind Melbourne-based contemporary women’s wear brand Sauvika.
Verra is speaking with Jacqui Miholos.
Tell us about yourself and your first experience with fashion
I was a teenager in high school when I became obsessed with garments. Drawing my favourite designer clothes sparked my interest in the fashion industry. From then I would imprint my own designs and inspiration onto paper. My friends would comment and give me feedback and this gave me confidence as people often liked my designs.
Through a mutual friend, I was offered the position of Designer for another friend’s label project, Ruph. We started in 2009 creating playful and ready to wear garments. Ruph also specialised in custom dress making for wedding parties and formal events. We created our own production house in 2009 and this was my first experience in the fashion industry.
What initial experience did you gain in the industry?
Fashion moves really fast and trends change very quickly. I found it difficult to keep up. It’s hard to compete with large scale companies that mass produce garments at a low price point. I did learn some positives in the early days. These were how to operate online with lower overhead costs and the use of social media to enable my small business to target my audience and engage with my customers.
What inspired you to start Sauvika?
I moved back permanently to Australia from Indonesia in 2014 and for me it’s a new solo adventure, a fresh environment with constant inspiration. Starting this label was an opportunity for me to explore my ideas and have total creative freedom. I admire simplicity and quality and I wanted to put these ideas into my own garments. The end result is Sauvika.
What inspires your designs?
I always try to keep an open mind to allow new sources of inspiration to enter my mood. My most important inspirations are those close to me. Things like nature, art, culture, architecture and changing seasons. Also my Indonesian heritage and culture has a strong influence in my designs and attitude.
We’ve seen that you want to ’empower women’. Tell us more.
Often from the media, I notice how modern society can be stressful for women. We feel like sometimes there are unrealistic expectations about our image. Women can feel very pressured to look a certain way. That’s not something I agree with. My goal is to create clothing that women across different age groups and sizes can enjoy. I believe that’s working because my customers vary in age groups and cultural backgrounds. That’s extremely rewarding for me. My aim is for my garments to be comfortable and elegant with clean cut designs and loose fitting shapes which bring a sense of freedom.
What are your values when it comes to ethical fashion?
I’m trying to reduce waste by cutting out plastic. For my packaging I use calico fabric and make them into dust bags. This allows my customers to re-use them. I strongly disagree with the exploitation of workers around the world. That’s why I continue to use the same original production since my early days in 2009 with Ruph. Unfortunately, there’s still some exploitation in Indonesia and I’m trying to make a positive impact for the workers by providing a sustainable work environment with above average wages.
Tell us about your latest collection.
My latest collection is called “Silence”. I wanted to create something a bit darker than previous collections, but maintain the beauty and elegance. Also, this is the first time I have done a collaboration with an artist. I’ve been lucky enough to collaborate with the amazing Australian Artist Sally Bourke. We met in Melbourne at a gallery and I loved her artwork and energy, she is a big inspiration for me. Sally’s artwork has a sense of darkness and innocence that appealed to me and inspired the rest of my collection.
What’s next for Sauvika and what are your dreams for the future?
I am working on a potential collaboration for my Spring Summer 18/19 collection. Expect some new colours and fresh ideas. I have a new studio based in Collingwood where I will be busy over the next few months preparing for Spring Summer. My dream is to create my own fabric for my pieces, I believe that fabric is they key and foundation of any design.