Have you ever been introduced to someone you admire, although at the time you didn’t even know that person existed? That is the feeling I had when I recently had a chance to interview designer Clark Sabat. Mr. Clark, as I started calling him during our candid conversation, was born and raised in New York City and originally wanted to be an architect, but instead followed his dream of becoming a fashion designer.
After focusing on tailoring and draping while attending Parsons School of Design, he went on to design for several labels in both NYC and Paris before starting his own brands Voudoo, and Friends with Benefits. Recently he collaborated with Los Angeles-based accessory brand Hemincuff on a soft leather briefcase, the Dylan bag. Which they jointly state is “Made for those who – exemplify freedom of expression and a maverick mindset.”
It is that maverick mentality towards the fashion industry that we go in-depth with Clark about below as we get to know who he is, what he has learned from the millennial generation, and which designers inspired him. One thing that immediately jumps out about both his personal taste and the Dylan Bag – less is more.
HFL: Who is Clark Sabbat?
Clark: A father and a creative who has been designing for 20 plus years. A freelance design consultant with a variety of clients from J Crew, Ann Taylor Loft, etc… Also, manager of son Luka Sabbat as he launches creative collaborative
HFL: What is one thing you have seen from Luka in guiding him through his career?
Clark: I see his creative nature. I see how he gets an idea and how it motivates him. I take those ideas and help shape them so they can make sense to the rest of the world.
HFL: What is one thing that older generations can learn from Millennials?
Clark: One thing I learned from Millennials is that when I was growing up, you were taught that you could only do one thing. You chose that thing, and that’s what you did. However spending time with my son and his friends, I realized – whoa – I can actually do much much more. Millennials are not afraid to take risks. They see the world as a place full of possibilities. I discovered ways to make multiple projects overlap – it’s all about smart creativity.
HFL: What are you currently working on?
Clark: Currently I am collaborating on a bag line with HEMINCUFF. The bag is a unisex modern reinterpretation of the briefcase. There are zippers, large pockets, and removable straps. A bag that is designed with the active person in mind.
I am also developing a capsule collection. I want to create beautiful products in a limited way. I am focusing my business on being more product driven. I used to create these big collections and realize that all these pieces will not sell. Only a small portion of what we design ever sell. This revelation made me decide to rethink how I approach the fashion business. I’m also working on creating pop-up stores with a select group of retailers and creative partners.
HFL: How did you get into fashion design?
Clark: My original background was in Architecture. I went to a specialized high school for it, and I realized architecture required a long wait period to see the fruition of your labor. I wanted something where I can see the creativity blossom immediately. I had a love of fashion since I was very young that was cultivated by my mother. We didn’t have a lot but what we had was really nice. We had Saint Laurent suits, beautiful soaps, petite bateau undergarments, etc.We didn’t realize what we had, but we knew it was special. It helped me develop my sense of style and creativity. So basically while I was in class waiting for my teacher to grade my architectural designs, I made the decision to become a fashion designer. I taught myself how to draw and applied and was accepted to Parsons. From then on the adventures would begin.
HFL: Do you plan on working with Luka in any capacity in the future?
Clark: We are constantly working together. We are working on many projects in different capacities. We eventually plan on working on a fashion line together.
HFL: Who are your favorite designers?
Clark: Let’s start with… Madame Gres – She is the master of the drape.
Madeline Vionnet – She created the bias cut.
Jacques Fath – He hired Dior and Balenciaga. Before they started their own fashion lines.
HFL: What is your personal style aesthetic?
Clark: My personal style aesthetic – less is more. Clean with a twist.
HFL: What is next for you?
Clark: Continue to design and develop ideas. Keep pushing myself and my creativity. At the moment I am working on a small Japanese denim line while continuing to develop the bags and accessories.
HFL: Finish this sentence. Style is …
Written by: Evan Marshall @Its_what_ev