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January 18, 2017

Career Path: Andrija Sala

The fashion designer who came home for a rest, but instead started a business.

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  • Words: Sharmonie Cockayne
  • Pictures: Josh Geelen

“I’m just sitting here thinking ‘What a weird year I’ve had.’”

These are the words fashion designer, Andrija Sala, said to us as we approached her, a little late, for our meeting at Larry & Ladd.


See Andrija’s work on her website, here.

Born in Melbourne, Andrija spent her early childhood in Adelaide and her teenage years in Latvia. At age 21, she returned to Melbourne to study fashion design at RMIT, and spent a year of that degree on exchange in New York studying at the Fashion Institute of Design in New York.

After finishing her degree back in Melbourne, she finds herself in Adelaide. She’s home.


Andrija wears Acne in her Cloister Workrooms studio at the Epworth Building.

But, she didn’t come home for her career.

“I didn’t move here for creative purposes, I moved here to have a bit of pace break,” says Andrija.

But ironically, she’s made a few important career moves in Adelaide that have helped push her in a new direction. After working for Australian Fashion Labels as a junior designer, she began working closely with local designer, Kate Anderson, of the So It Goes label. And now, she’s embarking on her own venture.

I don’t think I’ve ever taken a selfie in my life, and I can’t imagine taking a selfie. – Andrija

From her home town, Andrija has begun laying the foundations for her own fashion label.

“What I’m going to do now, I think it has to be more commercial than my graduate work, which was very conceptual and artistic,” says Andrija. “I think [in the past] my work has been really serious and I want to step back from that. I’m going to do a mix of editorial pieces and basic wearable pieces as well.”

The collection will explore nostalgia – nostalgia arising from her childhood, and a weird kind of nostalgia for the lack of fabrics available to designers in SA – a concept that she’s happened upon purely because she’s based in Adelaide.

It’s a business at infancy level right now, but it’s a business that Andrija hopes to grow into a larger, more inclusive design practice.

“At the moment, it’s just me, and then I have a few girls in Melbourne helping me with stuff,” says Andrija.

“I’d love, ideally, to create a studio environment. I would love to, eventually, in a dream world, create an environment where people work on your label, to have other people contribute all the time – so not just a one designer kind of thing.”

Andrija says this type of business structure is inspired by Swedish fashion house, Acne – a label that began as a design collective.

But for now, it’s baby steps.

“I’m doing all of the boring shit at the moment, so I’m trying to work out manufacturers to try and start my own thing,”says Andrija.

“For me, that’s the hardest part, because you go to design school and they don’t teach you any of that stuff, but they teach you how to be a creative designer. In reality, there’s no jobs out there for super creative designers.”

“When you spend four years on a degree, I feel like you should be more qualified to do a job. You’re qualified to be an artistic practitioner, but in the reality we have to pay bills. You’re in this limbo land, where you’re like ‘I don’t know what to do now.’”

Only now, Andrija knows where she’s going, and we think it’s somewhere good.





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