A report by Jessica Dyer for The Brixton Blog.
Bianca Saunders started working in Brixton as part of a 3-month residency series run by Brixton Village. Born and raised in London Bianca recently graduated from the Fashion MA programme at the Royal College of Art, before which she studied at Kingston University. The self-named fashion label focuses on menswear influenced by the men in Bianca’s life.
This year Bianca was named on the Forbes 30 under 30 list of the top young entrepreneurs of 2020. She has also won the 2019/2020 British Fashion Council’s NewGen Prize. The Bianca Saunders label has shown at 4 London Fashion Week seasons, the garments respond to conversations around ideas of contemporary masculinity and draw inspiration from Bianca’s Caribbean heritage.
“I ended up in Brixton because of the opportunity given by Brixton Village. Brixton is such a vibrant place, with a culture that relates to me as I am from Caribbean decent and Jamaican heritage. It’s an inspirational place and being based here allows me to be constantly inspired” says Bianca.
She continues, “I started my own brand for the creative freedom, to do what I wanted and find myself through design.”
The majority of the garments are hand made by Bianca herself, during this period, she has moved her production back to her home and is working on delivering products ordered from her last season collection. Bianca explains “Now is a time for forecasting, planning and making. I’ve had to learn how to work from home again during this period, but my main concern is making sure the brand survives.”
After the lockdown she hopes to return to a new studio space, still in Brixton market, becoming a permanent resident.
During her studies at the RCA, Saunders documented male friends, talking to them in their bedrooms about masculinity and their wardrobes. “These interviews are a large part of the brand. I’m inspired by dancehall culture, VHS videos, the parties I went to growing up” says Bianca. It’s that atmosphere that Bianca Saunders designs emulate.
In October 2019, in response to Black History Month, Bianca curated an exhibition at Brixton Village showing her work with Ronan McKenzie. The exhibition featured other artists Akinola Davies Jr, Caleb Femi, Ronan McKenzie, Jazz Grant and Rochelle white.
Video Light Autumn/Winter 20 collection was devised and made in Brixton. “The studio is a great location, lots of light, and has been really helpful for me to start my brand. I have been able to utilise the space for press interviews which has been really important.”
Bianca looks forward to returning to Brixton, the light studio, the inspirational local community and a chance to expand her fashion line further.