Design Genius Feature: Sandro Schwyzer

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Who’s this longhaired guy with a mind bursting with ideas waiting to be executed? Meet Sandro from Switzerland who is considered as one of the young designers to look out for in Europe. Let’s get to know more about this Swiss cutie.

Design Genius Feature:  Sandro Schwyzer
1. Tell us something about yourself. How did you become a fashion designer?

I decided to go into fashion design school when I finished college in Switzerland. I made clothes for friends and myself at the time. The decision wasn’t quiet straight forward because I didn’t really know what they teach in a fashion design school. However, I saw very quickly that the construction of clothes was the best way to express my creativity. Also the diversity this profession offers is the challenge I need in life. Then at the time I was working at Vivienne Westwood I always worked on my ideas of women’s wear in Murray’s attic. The decision to launch the SARO label fell naturally into place once the time felt right and that was only after “polishing up” my ideas and developing my systems.

2. Who's your favorite designer? Who is your style icon(s) and why?

Vivienne Westwood is for me still the most genius designer of all. There is nothing that she didn’t do and it makes it hard for avant-garde designers to create something she hasn’t done already.

Style icons for me are girls that I see out in the street or night clubs that find and explore their own individual looks.

3. What's your design aesthetic or design style? How would you define your style?

It’s my interpretation of my fascination and knowledge of traditional clothing. I’m into the exploration of new cutting systems with the use of high quality fabrics.

4. Tell us about your design process. How do you come up with your designs?

I found out that my way of approaching a new design is similar to Vivienne’s when I started working there. We both prefer to drape and wrap fabrics on the mannequins rather than start with a fashion drawing. I think that makes a piece much more wearable and unique because it respects already the laws of gravity and it allows us to discover new pattern systems.

5. Before coming to the show, what’s the weirdest or most unconventional material you have worked with to design a garment or an art piece?

I usually don’t work with ‘weird or unconventional’ materials. Designers try too hard to push the boundaries and this often turns out to become silly in my eyes. And a woman doesn’t feel either flattering nor admired when she wears something made of worn out tire or something like that.

Therefore I believe it was some socks I made out of rabbit fur when I started at Westwood.

6. What's your favorite challenge / piece of design on the show?

My favorite challenge was the very first one because I just didn’t know what to expect. My favorite piece was the Houdini swim cap at the fighting fish Challenge.

7. If you were the winner of Design Genius, what will you do with the $25,000 prize?

I would give $5,000 to charity for abused girls on the Philippines (this is true and I have people that confirm this). The rest will be invested in my business.

8. What’s the biggest, most important lesson you've learned throughout the competition?

If you experience a tough time: calm down – love life – work hard – be kind and amazing things will happen to you!

9. What does fashion mean to you? And do you have any other passions besides fashion?

I’m not looking at fashion magazines or shows so much anymore. There are a few designers I still follow (Westwood, Galliano > Oscar de la Renta, Marc Jacobs, Lanvin, Prada and Dior). I’m much more interested in science, politics, art and nature. These interests mainly transpire in my design inspirations.

10. Is there anything you’d like to share with us about any upcoming project(s)?

I’m currently working on my own brand ‘SARO’ in NYC. It’s based on one-off pieces for private customers.

About Sandro:

Sandro Schwyzer was born and educated in Switzerland. He attended Atelier Chardon Savard in Paris for 2 Years and spent his first internships with Dior and Laurent Mercier Couture. His next move was to New York where he spent a further 3 months working as an intern/assistant to Sue Stemp who has a rapidly growing women’s wear line under her own name. After that he went for a 9-month internship at Vivienne Westwood.

“He proved himself to be a very hard working and talented young man, with a gifted eye and impressive attention to detail.” Murray Blewett, head of design department V.W.

Two years ago Sandro set up a small studio and has been working on his vision of women’s evening wear since then. The clothing is aimed at young independent women intent on having a good time. The potential customer is certainly fashion forward in her approach to dress, but the collection has its roots in tradition and explores in-depth the art of pattern cutting and technique. The dresses and tailoring are in essence built around subtle and refined cutting and sewing systems, combined with a carefully selected and specially dyed colour palette, original prints and fluid fabrics. Sandro is a very accomplished and mature designer for a person of such an age.

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