With her doe-eyed features and soft-spoken demeanor, you’d mistake Sonya Kraan for a shy young thing. But don’t be fooled. Behind that graceful poise is a strongwilled woman – one who is making a name for herself in the fashion industry as a name to watch.
Kraan graduated from RMIT University in 2008 with a Bachelor of Design (Fashion) Honours First Class. Following this, she presented her collection as part of L’Oreal Melbourne Fashion Festival Student showcase ‘Metamorphosis’ in 2009.
During that year Kraan was involved in national design competitions including the Chambord Shine Awards where she was commended by her peers as an innovative and avant-garde designer.
Kraan’s work is unique in that she focuses on creating beautifully crafted womenswear with hidden functionality and transformability.
Garments change to meet the needs of the wearer, from removable sleeves or layers for acclimatization, or an entire reconfiguration. Kraan’s belief in creating sustainable clothing is driven by her desire to inject more ‘options’ into a garment and creating something less static, resulting in a piece we can wear and re-wear over and over again.
In March 2013, Kraan launched her transeasonal collection “The Recovery” for Gusto & Élan, so Couturing took the opportunity to have a quick Q & A with both the designer and Katya of Gusto & Élan to talk about all things fashion and Kraan’s plans for the future.
Thara: How did the partnership between Sonya Kraan and Gusto & Élan begin?
Sonya: I was approached by Gusto and Élan last year and immediately knew they would be a great fit for my garments. The boutique is so beautiful!
Katya: We discovered Sonya Kraan in The Spirit of the Black Dress show in 2012. We loved her elegant, sophisticated designs, and thought it will be a great fit at Gusto & Élan. We are always on the look out to discover rising design stars, and the Sonya Kraan label definitely has the X factor.
Thara: What do you love most about The Recovery?
Sonya: This collection was inspired by the journey to Recovery from chronic Migraines. Volume and layers are restrained in areas by belts, symbolising the balance of control and the freedom of letting go. I also found it really interesting to explore the dilation and constriction of vessels that takes place during a migraine. I did however want to go in a more positive direction than my last collection by examining the lightness and freedom of the Recovery process.
Katya: The clean lines and thoughtful detail is very much Sonya Kraan’s design signature and The Recovery collection stays true to these concepts. It compliments Gusto & Élan edgy yet feminine collection of women’s wear.
Thara: What did you want to achieve from the launch of The Recovery?
Sonya: I wanted people to be able see and touch my garments. Information is lost in photos and I get so excited about the fabrics I use. In this collection I have shirts made from a gorgeous silk/ cotton blend, silk dresses and of course wool tailoring. It was also really nice to meet and chat with my customers. They have given me a few new ideas.
Katya: We love hosting designer events at Gusto & Élan, it gives our customers opportunity to be the first to discover new collections, and meet the designers, as well as give the opportunity for the label’s fans to come together. The launch did just that.
Thara: Describe the ‘Sonya Kraan’ woman – what type of woman emulates the label’s look?
Sonya: I design for a woman who has high expectations of a fashion product. She seeks a garment that is innovative and original yet not overdone. She is sophisticated with an edge and isn’t a slave to trends.
Katya: The ‘Sonya Kraan’ woman appreciates fine design, craftsman ship and attention to detail. She is professional, elegant and sophisticated.
Thara: Sonya, you have achieved so much at such a young age compared to other successful names in your field – what do you hope to achieve in the future?
Sonya: Oh thank you! I just really hope to be able to create beautiful things. That’s really why I’m doing this. I think the best decision I made was to not feel too restrained by trends, the economy or even the seasons. The industry can be quite regimented and I want to remember that I’m not only designing clothing I’m also designing the way I run my business. This is something I want to further explore and be open to creatively. I’d also like to learn how to knit.
Article image courtesy of Sonya Kraan