Designed by two sisters from Sydney Hayley & Lauri Smith. The Serpent & the Swan label is inspired by a shared childhood love of the animal kingdom as well somewhat dark and morbid fascination with the anatomy of creatures and their mystical incarnations. Since launching in 2009, Serpent & the Swan has been creating women’s & men’s and androgynous unisex collections paying special attention to cuts lines and shapes.
Hayley Smith has had over 10 years experience in the fashion and costume design industries. Designing for some of the world’s top global fashion brands as well as working alongside musicians creating garments for stage and film.
Lauri Smith comes from a background in fine arts and special effects, which includes the production of prosthetics, props and monster making for television, music clips, clay animation and feature films.
Unique, handcrafted, animal-inspired trimmings adorn each garment. The subtle yet striking hardware takes on many forms including buttons, brooches, zipper-heads and toggles and has become a hallmark of the Serpent & the Swan’s unique handwriting.
Incorporating their different creative backgrounds and a distinctive shared visual aesthetic, the label aims to offer a collection that is both beautifully designed and inspired by the designers own vision, rather than influenced by runway trends.
Serpent & the Swan made their much anticipated debut at MBFWA in 2013 with an installation in The Box, receiving critical acclaim from media and buyers in the Fashion Industry.
Serpent & the Swan has been receiving consistent press coverage in esteemed publications including Vogue Australia, ELLE Australia, GQ, Cleo, RUSSH, Nylon, Remix and Catalogue magazines and well as a number of online publications and celebrity product placement.
Serpent & the Swan collections are sold in selected boutiques throughout Australia, internationally and online.
Now time for the nitty gritty of this intriguing brand. I had the pleasure to interview these two creative sisters!
Your two sisters who have created this brand, tell us more.
What is your label about?
Serpent & the Swan comes from the idea of dualism in nature.
We have always had a shared interest in how animals have been symbolized throughout the centuries and the great significance they hold to many cultures and belief systems.
We believe animals have a deeper more inherent meaning which continues to inspire us and our collections.
Our desire was to create interesting fashion that lasts beyond trends and create something truly unique.
What made you create this label? Tell us your story
We decided to create our own fashion label after both of us were working in the creative industry for many years – Hayley head designing for global brands and Lauri creating limbs and monsters for various projects… we thought we should collaborate and create something truly unique.
How did you get started in all this?
The idea first came to us over a family dinner one night. We decided to merge our creative abilities and backgrounds to create a label that is unique and expresses our joint visual aesthetic.
We both had full time jobs so every weekend we would devote to conceptualizing, designing & visualizing Serpent & the Swan.
Who’s your inspiration/ fashion designers who you look up to?
Our inspiration are not people as such, they are more animals, nature, anatomy and sound that truly inspires us.
How and what gives your inspiration for each collection? Do you go on fashion trips to gain inspiration?
We draw all our inspiration from Nature & sound - whether its from the outer (animals, plants, universe) or inner (anatomy, nerve systems, bone connections) when we are stuck we generally go for a walk in nature or go to the museum which always helps and sparks many concepts.
Who is your target market?
Our customer is anyone who appreciates attention to detail and doesn’t want to follow anybody else really. An independent sole who creates their own path.
How do you go about sourcing your products?
We start by selecting fabric from our favorite Sydney based textile agents, then let the fabric talk.
Where is the final product made?
Our final product is manufactured right here in Sydney Australia.
What’s your current achievement with the brand that you are most proud of?
Definitely the latest musical collaborations we have been involved in. We had the divine sounds of Sarah Blasko singing at our MBFWA show earlier this year, which was incredible! Also recently the lovely Megan Washington modelled for our latest transeasonal collection we just shot last week.
How many years did it take for your idea to hit reality and start becoming a reality?
You have to make your own idea a reality. So as soon as we discovered this was something that was worth pursing we acted on it.
What are your future plans with your label?
To grow our brand internationally. Targeting the USA and Asian market as that’s where most of our organic traffic and interest via our website has come from.
What’s your feeling for future trends
We don’t follow trends. On the contrary, we try to ignore them. We aim to create pieces that can be worn whatever trend is happening or not happening.
And lastly, any advice to people who want to get into the industry!
Stay true to your own unique vision no matter what.
Also one word to live by TENACITY!
Special thanks to Hayley & Lauri Smith