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fashfest designer profile: sovata


Photo: Red Photography

Photo: Red Photography


Name: Jade Sargent


Where are you based?

How did you get into fashion and what do you love about it compared to other types of design?
I got into fashion by experimenting with making hats and fascinators. I wanted to learn millinery but the classes never had enough students so I decided to study fashion instead. I love fashion design because it allows you to create wearable art in 3D. You start with something flat and using your hands you watch it evolve into a 3D piece.

Who is your target audience?
Sovata’s target audience is women aged 25-45+ who want to wear garments and millinery that are feminine, bold, sophisticated and allow them to stand out from the crowd. They enjoy comfort, natural fibres, and sustainability but don’t want these important qualities to compromise their style.

How would you describe your aesthetic, and what can people expect from your collection at FASHFEST 2014?
My aesthetic is bold, contrasting and uniquely feminine. Audiences can expect my ‘Ex Libris’ collection being shown at Fashfest to showcase traditional feminie silhouettes, teamed with contrasting colours, contrasting material choices, as well as bold uses of line and movement.

What’s your design philosophy?
My design philosophy is to create modern, stylish and environmentally conscious total looks. Here is my favourite quote on hats:

‘Hats are the most unnatural of all items of clothing; they are the least necessary but the most powerful. Their semiotics are frequently complex but always clear. They have tools of transformation and authority.” With this quote in mind the SOVATA label was created to include two distinct sections of garments and millinery that when combined create a cohesive, modern ‘Hatted’ total look.” (McDowell, C 1992)

More and more, ideas of sustainability and ethics are explored by fashion designers, how is this reflected in your own label?
I explore sustainability and ethics through my choice of pattern making, zero waste 3D pattern making. It is important to me that I create things with zero waste when they are born. Pre-consumer textile waste contributes thousands of tons of waste to landfill each year. I feel that as a designer it is my duty to stop this from happening. Exploring zero waste pattern making has also given me my own unique design signature—it’s an added bonus.

What do you look for when casting models, how can a model help articulate a particular ‘feel’ or aesthetic?
A quiet confidence is the key. I love models who know what they are doing. Models who aren’t too showy. Models who are classy, elegant, and happy in themselves.  For a model to articulate a particular feel the designer is responsible for describing a character to them; a character they must aspire to be on the catwalk. I tell my models they are to become peacocks, naturally beautiful, commanding of attention, elegant, quiet, confident, and graceful.

Do you think the Australian fashion industry supports emerging designers?
Definitely, and I think that it is really evident with Fashfest. Fashfest has done the right thing by the industry and added a new show this year. It will highlight upcoming fashion design graduates from the Canberra Institute of Technology. They didn’t have to do this but it’s exciting that they took a stance and did it.  Indeed, Fashfest in general is so supportive and was created to provide a platform for the local Canberra fashion industry. There was nothing like it here in Canberra before. It certainly is helping me grow and emerge in the Australian fashion industry.

How can your designs be purchased?
At the moment SOVATA designs can be bout through me direct. Customers contact me by email, through the Sovata Facebook page, or at my regular stall at the Hustle & Scout Twilight Fashion Market. In the coming year my designs will also be available online at

Do you have any advice for someone considering fashion design as a career path?
Take a leap of faith and go for it. It is hard work and forever evolving and changing but it is immensely rewarding and exciting.

What night are you on at Fashfest?
I am showing on Friday 2 May. I look forward to seeing you there!

Fashfest will be held at the Canberra Airport, 30 April to 3 May, in a beautifully designed space, with a massive atrium, stunning architectural elements and a modern industrial look. Tickets are available exclusively from the Fashfest website, and are fast selling out so get a move on, have a great night and support local and home-grown fashion talent!

Check out Sovata on Facebook here.


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