ELIZABETH PEYTON: I was wondering if you ever use your home as an incubator, like a private incubator for what you bring into your studio.
SANDER LAK: Every day. It’s not like, Oh, when I go home, I read my books and my magazines and then take pictures, and that’s what I take to work. It’s never that direct. There is an energy that I recharge myself with when I’m home, which is very precious. And it’s very specific to me, considering my background and considering that I’ve lived all around the world and in so many different houses and apartments. So for me, this space where we are now is the first time really in my life that I have felt home.
EP: When you’re designing clothes, do you imagine the interiors that people who are wearing your clothes will be in?
SL: I imagine the clothes in a closet. I imagine them also combined with clothes that are not ours. I never see, Oh, this woman is wearing this, and she’s sitting on a pink couch. No, no. I do see it with, OK, so she’s hanging this garment next to her jeans or next to her this and that.
EP: A lot of fashion designers eventually move into making things for the home, in either a branding way or a real way. Do you have an interest in that?
SL: I would love to. When we started Sies Marjan, I really wanted to, in a very short time, make sure that we had an identity that isn’t just applied to clothes and what is around that. I really wanted it to be something that you can also apply to anything else that we surround ourselves with. And that includes furniture. It includes any objects, really. Like even technology. I would love to have a Sies Marjan phone case….
EP: Great. I would too.
SL: I’ve always had this fantasy of doing my own version of what Ralph Lauren does, where you create a world. And Ralph has done it in such a ginormous way. You can really look at anything that’s Ralph Lauren, and it’s his, it’s complete. And I think that’s something that I would love to get into, because I know myself. At some point, clothes are not gonna be enough for me to express. And I already have a million ideas. Whoever’s gonna call me, know that it will be a short meeting, and I’ll have a lot of ideas. [Laughs]
EP: Is there a philosophy of life behind your bringing so much color to your work?
SL: As a kid, my mom used to always dress me and my brothers up in really bright colors. When we were living in Africa, in the middle of the rain forest, or in Malaysia [my father worked as an engineer on oil platforms], my mom would dress us in bright reds to be able to see us in nature. Color can have the function of a cover-up of sorts. I have always loved the idea of dressing in one color. It’s on the one hand about standing out, and on the other about hiding or camouflaging. So as a kid, I started realizing that color is not only the thing that is on top of everything else as a surface. It is also something that fights or hides—there are all of these layers to color. And it was only when I was working on fashion that I realized that all of these sensibilities I had with color are not something that everyone else has. It was only then that I realized, like, Oh, OK, I think very differently about color, and I can really be emotionally connected to a color.
SL: Fashion in any form is a reflection of the zeitgeist. So there is something in the fact that people want to wear color in these days of, well, let’s call it darkness. There is definitely something very gloomy and very heavy and dark happening in our world and in our part of the world. And nobody can deny it. And I think that there is something there where a lot of people actually don’t want to look like they’re going to a funeral. They want to wear color. And they want to wear things that have a positive note to them and show beauty as opposed to darkness. Because if you want darkness, you just open your news app. You’ll get it in boatloads. [Laughs]