By Sofie Ringtved Jensen
Saks Potts: “One might as well make a plan B from the get-go”
When Cathrine Saks and Barbara Potts send their first model out on the runway tonight clad in their tenth collection, it’s the celebration of a mini-anniversary. Much has happened since 2015, when the Saks Potts duo made their debut. On the way they have learned that nerves are okay, and that timeliness and diligence are key.
Much water has run under the bridge since 2015 when two young students, Cathrine Saks and Barbara Potts, manifested themselves as one of Denmark’s most interesting brands with their debut show at Copenhagen Fashion Week. They are back on the schedule for the fourth time this summer — stronger than ever before.
Cathrine Saks and Barbara Potts are closing fashion week tonight with their show — one that according to them is both bigger and better organised than previous ones. On top of that, it’s a sort of mini-anniversary for the two designers, as this collection is the tenth one they design together under the name Saks Potts.
What is the most important lesson you have learned from previous shows, and what have you done differently this season?
“We have learned to plan better, to make sure that we have sufficient time and avoid stress and frenzy. It is super important that you don’t work non-stop in the days leading up to the show, but that you make sure to get some sleep. When it all goes down, you have to be 100 % ready, and being sleep-deprived for the week prior is a no-go.
For this reason, we have made sure to have everything in order this time around — this season is definitely our most structured and prepared. For example, we made a detailed schedule for the two weeks leading up to the show, including what we need to do ourselves, and what our team needs to do leading up to the day itself. In that way we make sure not to forget anything. Timeliness and diligence are key!
But the feeling of nervousness and excitement you get in your tummy right before a show will probably never go away, no matter how many collections we make. A lot of elements need to work together. We have learned that one might as well make a plan B from the get-go.”
Putting on a show takes a lot of work and effort, so why have you chosen to prioritize it again this summer?
“We have only ever done shows during the summer fashion week in Copenhagen, which is a sort of coincidence reaching back to our debut in 2015, when we were still students and had a summer vacation. Since, it has proven a good idea for us to only put on one show a year here in Denmark. We also have a strong focus on other markets, including, for example, by doing a small presentation during New York Fashion Week in February. To us this works really well and it is super exciting to combine different fashion weeks. We’d rather not get ‘stuck’ anywhere, but on the other hand feel a strong attachment to Copenhagen, and love showing our collections in the city where it all started.
In general, we prioritize putting on a show because it grants the opportunity to project our whole universe coherently — not just clothing on hangers, but as part of a greater theme that makes it more tangible, easier to understand. Also, having a show and thereby hopefully being presented on Vogue Runway makes a lot of sense for the brand both when it comes to retail and press. We can tell that way more people know the brand and have seen our collection when we have done a show — especially from social media, when people upload pictures from the day itself — the difference is palpable.”
What is the biggest challenge of doing a show during fashion week?
“The biggest challenge has to do with our still being a relatively small company without oceans of resources or employees, but with great ambitions for the show. Uniting those two circumstances can be difficult! But we have already learned a great deal since our debut in 2015. We know on what things we can spend a bit more, and one where we can save. But it does at times require a bit of creative thinking.”
What do you hope to get out of the show?
“To us, the show is a success if we can see people get inspired and happy — and that goes for the press just as much as it does for family and friends. At the same time, it also means a lot that our employees attain a success with what they have taken part in make happen. It should be a celebration for everyone involved.
In addition, we hope and expect that people get surprised by what we present. We have reached collection number ten, so it is a sort of little anniversary for us — which is why both the show and the collection are markedly bigger than previously. We look forward to presenting it!”
When are you the most nerve-wracked?
Barbara: “When the first model is entering the runway. Then there is no way back. So much leading up to the show can be polished. But when the music plays you can’t do anything anymore. That is truly nerve-wracking. At the same time it’s the point where everything comes together and you get a sense of calm. So you can only hope that everything clicks.”
Cathrine: “What makes me the most nervous is when I wake up on the day of the show. You just know that it’s a day where everything needs to work, but you have no idea whether all will go as planned — even though you have done everything in one’s power to make things work.It’s always an exciting day. So many parts need to play together to reach that greater sum.”
How do you think fashion week can stay relevant?
“One of the best things about fashion week is everything it draws in. So many things beyond fashion are happening in the course of the week — exciting activities within food, culture, and art. A lot of stuff gets set in motion. We meet a lot of people who say they love coming to Copenhagen Fashion Week because it is a bit more laid back than other ones, with a friendly atmosphere. And that’s awesome!
If fashion week is to remain relevant, it is important that it keeps renewing itself by welcoming lots of new talents and supporting them in their shows. A lot of our guests ask us who they shoudl go see — and in that regard it’s important that there are some young, relatively unknown designers on the show calendar whom the big international buyers may not know, but who might surprise them with what Danish design is capable of.
Having said that, we don’t think the established designers should be forgotten. It is also important to take care of the bigger brands. The best is to generate a good synergy between them — if there are only new designers, there is no financial basis for fashion week as a whole. Fashion Week needs to embrace both.”