From the Faces issue
Your first fashion memory?
When I was a student, I remember the first Fashion Week I attended with my friends. Back then, street style was at its peak. We'd managed to get invitations, and it was so crazy to experience it from the inside. But my strongest memory is my first fashion show in Paris in January 2022. I was still thinking about the direction I was going to take the brand. It was stressful but incredibly exciting.
Did you always want to be a fashion designer?
Yes, I've always been artistically inclined. I'm lucky to have had parents who encouraged me a lot. When those around you have confidence in you, it gives you wings. I started studying the history of fashion and its codes, and went on to study art. I wanted to do things right before I started designing.
Why did you choose Menswear?
For my BA (Bachelor of Arts), I used a lot of photos of my family. Some of my family members were in a rock band, and they had a style that blended British tailoring with Caribbean culture. This vibe really interested me and has clearly had an influence on my brand.
Where do you find your inspiration? Art, music, fashion, everyday life?
I think it's a mix of everything. But I'd say first and foremost in everyday life. I see my work as a perpetual draft that I improve each time. Every source of inspiration helps me to reach new heights.
How does your Jamaican heritage translate into your collections?
In club culture, I'd say. How men and women are transformed by dancing in a crowd, how they become the center of attention. I love the transition that night-time and partying allow. I love listening to music, throwing parties, dancing. I think this comes across in my fashion shows, where there's a real reflection on sound.
What kind of music do you listen to?
Dancehall, disco, old reggae, pop, I even listen to Japanese music samples or jazz. It also depends on the time of day - this morning I was listening to rap, for example.
What role does the community play in your work?
It's very important! I think about my clothes, I design them to connect people. That's what drives me in the first place. How to navigate our world while retaining one's identity.
Is your wardrobe just for men?
No, I wear my clothes all the time. I have a lot of female customers, like Hailey Bieber and Kendall Jenner.
You were a finalist for the LVMH Prize in 2021. What memories do you have of the ceremony?
I didn't win the Prize, but Virgil Abloh, who was on the jury, consoled me by telling me that in a fashion career, there are also disillusions. You can't win them all. The challenge now was to turn that into future success. That had an impact on me. Especially when, a few months later, he passed away. He was a great inspiration to me.
What is your relationship with Paris, where you presented your first fashion shows?
It's always been a dream to show in Paris, I've always wanted to be part of this world. It's part of my career and I'm very proud of it. Finally, I'm where I wanted to be.
What do you think of the new generation of designers to which you belong?
There are so many exciting people in fashion today. It's so diverse. Each brand is the fruit of a personal journey and a desire to put that experience into clothes. There are a thousand ways to tell a story, and that's what makes our job so exciting.
How do you see the future of Bianca Saunders?
I hope the brand will stand the test of time and that people will continue to love our clothes. I'd also like to develop the accessories and women's wardrobe, or at least make sure that women find themselves even more at home in my clothes. It's an exciting challenge for me.
How do you feel today?
Optimistic, determined and eclectic.