Jaimie Sortino is one of South Australia’s most acclaimed, emerging couture fashion designers. He designs and personally handcrafts ethereal couture gowns, using a selection of eminent fabrics from Paris. Sortino has established himself on the fashion stage since winning the Adelaide Fashion Festival emerging Designer Award in 2010, and now wants to make his mark abroad. His most recent collection, ‘A Beautiful Ending’, shot by Elisa Mercurio is a presentation of ethereal, avant-garde gowns, detailed with floral embellishments and cascading tulle, redolent of a somewhat eerie fairy-tale. We spoke with Sortino about his journey as a designer so far and his intentions for the future.
Why fashion and why couture?
I ask myself the same question!! I’ve always been creative with textiles and fabric and always loved fashion and gowns. I think it was a natural process that’s developed over time; from studying textiles, to TAFE, to experimenting with different fabrics and techniques. I’ve always loved theatrical pieces and avant-garde couture. It enables me to tell a story through my work and to really capture an emotion or an energy, which I hope to translate onto the runway.
What process was involved in starting your own label?
It was a really natural process; I knew I didn't want a name for my label because I don't want to look back in t10 years and think ‘I hate my label name.’ I knew if I stuck with my own name, ‘Jaimie Sortino’, it’s me and it will grow with me both creatively and personally.
What do you draw from to inspire your collections and overall aesthetic?
I draw inspiration from Europe for my collection and aesthetic. I love the passion, romance, depth of darkness and shades of light that echoes through. I research a lot of European art and architecture and am also inspired by the fashion houses such as Alexander McQueen, Dior, Elie Saab.
How have you found the overall response in Adelaide toward your label?
Really positive! The feedback I get from buyers or clients is about finding a piece that has a point of difference or a classic piece but with a modern twist.
What have been some of the hurdles along the way?
The biggest hurdle for me has been realising that I can do this. I kind of held back a little bit; I always worried what the reaction would be or what people would think.
Best advice you’ve been given?
An easy one! Just go and follow your dreams.
What is your advice for aspiring designers and artists in Adelaide?
Stay true to your own aesthetic, always be inspired and never stop.
What is the benefit of working in Adelaide?
People seem to knock Adelaide for what we have here but if you know where to look you can succeed. Adelaide's creative art scene is amazing and we have so much talent here. One of the great things is having the connection to work with other talented, creative people. I find Adelaide to be a real community; everybody knows each other, I find that a really positive thing.
How do you hope the future looks for you in 10 years?
Hopefully I’ll be travelling. I am excited to see what I’ll be designing in 10 years, to see how my style has changed. But hopefully I’ll have a studio space and selling here and overseas. To show in Paris would be the ultimate for me.
What differs your creations from other similar labels?
The attention to hand detailing and textiles. I dye a lot of the fabrics and embellish the gowns myself.
Jaimie Sortino will be showcasing a preview of his latest collection at ‘A Night of Fashion’ presented by Honda and Attitude Magazine at the Art Gallery of South Australia on the 22nd of September. Limited tickets are available at BASS.