Cool Friends:  Sarah Nsikak

Meet Sarah, the Brooklyn-based designer/genius behind La Réunion: a gorgeous fashion line of hand-quilted coats, pants, dresses, and more. In Sarah’s words, “the many influences for this project include the vibrant stories of African culture, post-colonial African countries, ideas surrounding reclaimed beauty, togetherness, color, joy, and inviting one’s self back to what was always there all along.”

How did your fashion line, La Réunion begin?
I have always made little textile art pieces without really sharing them, but I actualized the project La Réunion (named after the island) at the end of 2019. The goal has always been to share Africa-inspired artwork and to do so sustainability. I wanted to be very intentional about introducing clothing into the project, because there are so many brands out there and I didn't want to do it just because I knew how or because it was expected of me. The capsule of Patchwork Dresses was created out of a time of real sadness and grief. Coronavirus hit hard in NYC and we are confined to our homes. I no longer had a job, and had a lot of time to create something from an honest place. I remember thinking "what can I make that will make me feel good in a time where that seems impossible?" Fashion has this transportive property that can make you feel you're somewhere else or someone else, even on the bleakest day. This is why I knew I'd be making something I could wear. The project has evolved from there and I'm looking forward to seeing where it goes in 2021!

What's your favorite part about the New York creative community?
It's been really special being a part of a studio that hosts many other artists and having the chance to observe their processes alongside my own. 

What's inspiring you right now?
I've spent the past month in Oaxaca at an artist residency, and I've been inspired by the craftsmanship here. The quality of work is above and beyond anything I could produce currently, and it's very aspirational. I also love that art surrounds them and is a common thread in all aspects of life. Whether or not you create things from an artist perspective, I think being surrounded by things made with such thought and intention is life giving. It's hard to be in a bad mood or feel pessimistic about the future when your surroundings are pointing towards joy and optimism.

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Made in Brooklyn, NY