Style File: Sofija Butler

Sofija Butler

Designer Sofija Butler. Image supplied.

Sofija Butler recently graduated with her Masters of Fine Arts specializing in Fashion and Sustainability from Whitecliffe College of Art and Design and is launching the debut collection of her eponymous womenswear label. Her own brand is based on the principles of sustainability and ethical fashion which she explored with her masters collection while celebrating her Croatian-Irish heritage.

We caught up with Sofija to find out more about her brand, what inspires her and what you would never catch her wearing!

Tell us about your latest collection?
At the Edge Winter 2018 is my debut collection, it features a beautiful, soft colour palette and unique materials such as colour-grown organic cotton and up-cycled denim. Made to be kept, this collection was tested for emotional durability by New Zealand women. Prototype garments were handed over and worn for a minimum of 12 times, then feedback about the comfort and preferences of the wearer were utilised to design the final collection.

What made you become a designer?
I grew up with a knack for putting things together and dabbled in arts and craft before finding ‘my’ medium in fabric, aged 13. I am fortunate to come from an extended family of sewists, knitters, artists and designers. In hindsight, it seems obvious but it took me a while to realise that making garments was what brought me the most joy.

What inspires you?
At the Edge was inspired by the sea organ in Zadar, Croatia. I watched the waves lapping against the marble while the organ pipes produced corresponding music and it was really moving. In terms of design philosophy, Yohji Yamamoto once described his way of thinking about clothing as wrapping fabric around the body, fitting to the shape of the body instead of contorting the body to the garment. This is something I think about every time I pick up a pencil.

Looks from Sofija Butler’s At the Edge Winter 2018 collection.

Describe your personal style and how it influences your designs?
I’m happiest in a silk slip or a cashmere crewneck sweater/tailored trouser. I made the decision a few years ago to wear only natural or derived from natural fabrics and I haven’t looked back. Comfort is my number one priority when I design, so my garments are nearly always a loose fit, with room between sizes. Coming from a Croatian family on my Mum’s side, food is a big deal so I like to make sure the garments have some way of loosening – usually with a knotted waist.

What is your all-⁠⁠⁠⁠⁠⁠⁠⁠⁠⁠⁠⁠⁠⁠time favourite purchase?
I dreamed about the black Sandy handmade shoes by Sevilla Smith for a long time before I saved up for them and they rarely leave my feet. Luckily I’ve yet to find an outfit I can’t wear them with.

What wardrobe item should every woman invest in?
A statement coat, put it with jeans or over a silk dress and you’re all set for any occasion.

Do you have a style rule you always obey?
I try to consider the 30-wear rule by Eco-age when I buy a new piece asking myself: Will I wear this piece 30 times? What else will it go with? And because selecting a new piece is an emotional decision: Does it make my heart sing? If I can answer yes to all of those, I will take the garment home with me.

Looks from Sofija Butler’s At the Edge Winter 2018 collection.

What has been the highlight of your career so far?
Right now it feels like everyday brings a new highlight! I’m trying to make sure I take the time to smell the roses and enjoy them as they come!

What can’t you live without?
My kindle. I lost my first one on a plane and thankfully my partner replaced it! It’s the best way I have found to shut off for a little while. I try to leave a little time to read each day.

Finish this sentence – You would never catch me wearing…

Collection images by Michael Ng featuring model Zoe from The Others.

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