WHAT TO WEAR WHILE LIVING THE LIFE YOU LOVE
Story by Alexa Tomaszewski
Photos provided by Barilà
Montréal-based brand Barilà is quickly rising amongst fashion notables like Saks Fifth Avenue and Anthropologie as a go-to line for ready-to-wear clothing for women. Since it’s inception in 2007, progress for Sabrina Barilà’s company has been steady; the designer is currently collaborating with retail giant Simons, as well as promoting her Spring/Summer 2012 lifestyle dress and sportswear line.
The Barilà line mainly consists of dresses, billowy blouses and lightweight pants and shorts. Made exclusively in Canada, collections feature softly tailored shapes, and the bold use of colour palettes and prints.
Designer Sabrina Barilà took some time to talk to Plaid about her ascent in the fashion industry.
How did you get into the fashion business. Was it something you always knew you wanted?
I started when I was 25 working for a denim company. I grew up pretty much around denim. My mom and my grandmother used to sew at home and so it was prominent in my life as a child.
I never thought I would throw myself into the industry. And then I realized that it’s something that I use to express myself – the way I would like to dress or making my mom make things for me was a reflection of self.
When I decided to go back to school I decided to go back into fashion design. And then right after school I went to work for this denim company and soon started doing things just for fun on my own. Shortly after, I decided to start my own company.
Do you think the casual atmosphere at home growing up influenced the soft, wearable styles you design for women today?
I think so, because since I was little my mom used to make us clothes. I used to ask her to make me things I needed. So, I had in mind practicality as well as fulfilling my need to be an individual when designing, even at a young age.
I was never really into like crazy high fashion, really intricate stuff. It was always wearable and functional, as well as making an effortless statement. That was always something important to me. That’s why I do pret-a-porter (ready to wear). It’s very wearable. It is not very editorial. So, I think yes, growing up really translated into what I am doing today.
How do you create an effortless feel while keeping some editorial aspects such as the oversized bow, the Peter Pan collar, shoulder cutouts or floral motifs, and still maintain an everyday, wearable feel?
It’s all in the details. There’s so much you can do when designing.
Maybe there’s a better way to put it. If not high fashion, what do you draw from? What inspires you?
For me, it’s everything. I’m a very sensitive person. I’m touched by everything around me. I don’t eat, sleep, drink fashion – I do other things. I go to see shows. I travel. I go to art fairs. I need to be stimulated by a lot of other things. It provokes a feeling where I get inspired and I feel – ‘I’d like to be wearing this and this and this.’
It might even be just a certain type of atmosphere. It’s hard to put it into words. To describe where my inspiration comes from. Yes, I do look at other designers but that’s not the main source of where I get my inspiration.
I get it from everything. I get it from walking into a room. I get it from being in some other country and see what people look like, how they dress. It’s just little things as much as it is big things.
Would you say your more inspired by street fashion?
Yes, I would say I’m inspired by things that are a lot more personal to a person as opposed to looking at editorial things. I’m an everyday person. I need everyday things. I work. For me it’s very important that what I do is wearable for everyday.
I’m not going to go to work in a gown. [Laughing] I don’t make gowns. I don’t have that need in my life to make a collection of gowns, that’s not my lifestyle. I make clothes for everyday people.
The clothes are true to the mantra ‘Life the live you love.’ They feel very flexible, airy, like you can wear them anywhere, anyhow.
That was the main idea. ‘Live the life you love’ is basically up to you. I see a mom with her kids wearing Barilà. I see a woman who is career-oriented wearing Barilà. And I want my clothes to be able to be worn by those women who do live the lives that they love.
Barilà has been around since 2007. Can you tell me what it’s been like working in the fashion industry these past few years?
It’s been like a roller coaster. The industry just keeps changing, so it’s definitely a roller coaster ride and you have to be able to adapt to those quick changes.
Is there anything new and exciting coming up for Barilà for shoppers to keep an eye out for?
I’m collaborating with Simons. Barilà is doing exclusive pieces for their in-house brand called ICON, and it should be coming out by the end of July, and those are exclusive designs.