The Fashion of Art: Sarah Young
Oh to be Young…
Sarah Young breezed into Starbucks last Sunday morning, hungover from only two glasses of wine the night before and severely sugar deprived: “I’m on a no-sugar diet, but the eggnog latte was calling me”.
As she picked at her enticing, lumpy porridge mixed with dried fruit, we chatted about DJing, being a stylist and her latest role as the Creative Director of The Music Class of 2010.
Not only does Sarah have a great name (yes, I’m modest), she also has fantastic nails – a sort of stripy, zebra-like pattern in orange and hot pink. She admits that her 30minute salon visit every fortnight is the only time that she and her beloved blackberry spend apart, but I’d say it’s highly worth it.
After graduating a year early from her A levels (and despite being dyslexic, she also managed to bag a multitude of As), Sarah got into the fashion sector at the age of 17.
Fresh from her studies, she took a year out of education to set up her online business selling jewellery and t-shirts. “That’s when music and fashion started crossing over – I went though a phase of going out with my best friends (who are DJs) every night. I’d go to the DJ booths with my mates and think ‘this looks amazing’. I’d played the drums since I was seven but I’d never found a way to incorporate music in my life until this point and when a friend suggested i ditch the drum kit and buy some decks, it was like a halleujah moment.”
Her big break came at 19 years old during London Fashion Week “Chipmunk was playing and I was booked to DJ throughout the show. I got paid money playing the music that I loved, and I thought, “This is alright!”
After attending The Academy of Contemporary Music for three years, Sarah began a Styling and Photography degree at London College of Fashion and managed to grab a few jobs in the music industry through contacts for styling gigs. “I realised then that there’s not many stylist DJs in the fashion industry. The artists are never seen in high fashion, more like sports wear and labels like Nike, so I’d found my niche. I started gigging in the night, shooting in the day and getting sick working 24/7. I’m on antibiotics all the time!”
Now 21, Sarah’s next project is in collaboration with Red Bull: “I’ve had a really good relationship with them from when I did club nights when I was 19. They’ve been like a mentor to me”.
So, how does one manage to grapple a group of artists and dress them head to toe in high-end labels? “I was just brainstorming casually, and came up with the idea of gathering 9-10 of the best artists, DJs and producers – making a fashion-music fusion and multiplying everyone’s style by 10. On the day of the event, there will be a live studio session with the artists who will make a quick time track”.
It focuses on lots of multimedia, plenty of music and, of course, fashion. The Music Class of 2010 was actually shot in August at Red Bull HQ, shooting 9 artists over 3 days: “It was the most amazing yet hardest styling I’ve ever had to do”.
However, the talented Miss Young didn’t simply hire some random photographer for the iconic event, she roped in Satoshi Minakawa. “I used to be the Fashion Editor of Angliomania Magazine when I first met him. He’s amazing. He’s shot Dizzee Rascal, Guinness, Nike etc. I though he was the perfect guy to team up with to shoot this so I gave him a call and he loved the idea”.
The artists had the opportunity to dress up in the most luxurious labels including Balenciaga, Dior, D&G and Armani. “I was really excited to work with high fashion labels like Vivienne Westwood. I pulled a red check Westwood 3-piece suit for J2k to wear – it was so funny because this is a guy who wouldn’t normally wear a red check 3-piece suit. I had to convince him he looked amazing and in the end he agreed”.
Sarah likes to surprise people, dressing each star in such diverse outfits, causing even the artists to take a second glance: “you would have to look twice to recognise them”.
As all the hard work was done months ago, the even on Saturday (held at Red Bull Studios) is a “celebration” of the project: “it’s an exhibition. There will live artists on the night, such as Goldielocks, a dubstep producer, CJ Beatz from Radio 1 Extra and record label Gut Instinct coming down”
The event is truly exclusive – last time Red Bull held an event the guest list filled in 49 seconds. “There’s 75 spaces, each with a plus 1, and the event will be streamed though redbull.co.uk and my website [see below]. It’s an amalgamation of amazing, talented people’.
So, life is rosy on the DJ and styling front. Full steam ahead! But what about studying? How could this possibly fit into Sarah’s packed schedule?
“I’m a crammer. I did my GCSEs in one year, A level, had a gap year, one year at art college and now I’m in my third year at LCF: I’m so done with education! Some people ask why I bother doing a degree, but education is really important. Getting a degree from a great establishment means that no-one can chat shit about you because you always have that degree”.
I concur with Sarah on this one, she may be talented, beautiful and driven, but I like that she wants to use her degree as a backbone to her career, as surely that’s what it’s designed to do?
She hastily adds “If your talented and you haven’t got a degree – big up to those people”.
Certainly, we sometimes do get these flukes; those who succeed nevertheless, but if the reassurance of a brilliant degree is what works for this DJ-Stylist-prodigy – so be it.
It’s clear from the off that Sarah is the type of person who is always busy, in fact I’m amazed that arranging an interview with her was as easy as it was.
“There’s a phrase: ‘if you want something doing, ask a busy person to do it’ – I’m a bit OCDI have lists coming out of my head”.
It comes as no surprise that Sarah’s life-plan for 2011 is already in motion: “I finish my degree in May and the I’m looking to get into production. There are definitely not enough female producers out there. I’d also like my own EP of funky dancehall dubstep vibes, hopefully debuting by the end of 2011”.
In the same year, Sarah also hopes to launch two new websites: one for DJing to feature all her mixes, and one for fashion with her online portfolio: “I don’t have a portfolio yet, and I’m doing really well without it but…I just want to be a DJ and a Stylist and excel at both. I love music and fashion equally, what’s the point in limiting yourself? I’m going to try my hardest and surround myself with creative people. I admire producers like Toddla T. He’s a radio 1 DJ and producer, and gets to travel all over the world”.
Sarah realises that it’s important to utilize different elements of herself “I’ll do as much as I can fit in, but it’s about quality, not quantity. I want to make everything worthwhile”.
She’s currently working with a media brand to release a monthly mix CD, and is really enthusiastic about their range of young and established talent.
“As a stylist, I’d love to travel whilst I work. When celebrities like Rihanna come over, I would like to be the go-to stylist that the US artists and acts come to, but I’m gonna end up living in the US anyway- hopefully.”
It would be naïve to think that Sarah’s creativity would stop here, in the UK: oh no, no – she’s got her eye set on a more oriental scene in the future.
‘’Urban’ music is not given a creative outlet in China, there are no female DJs, so I want to bring new things”, she laughs before adding “I’ll conquer China”.
And do you know something? I have no doubt in my mind that she will. The girl has found a niche in the market. I wanted to have a little bit of a Spice Girls moment at this point and scream out ‘GIRL POWER’, but didn’t think that would go down as very professional with my super cool, super stylish, urban companion.
Sarah Young is great: simple as. Great at styling, great at DJing, and she’s also a great person to chat to.
Aside from the no-sugar diet (which, by the way, I think is mental – I’d die without my daily packet of biscuits), Sarah is an inspiration.
The Music Class of 2010 will be held this Saturday, 4th December, and I’ll be bringing you exclusive photos and reportage straight to theCool.