Check out Sonny Sonnenfeld’s Artwork: An Interview with a Bay State College Fashion Alum
September 7, 2018
Bay State College's Fashion Alum, Amanda Sonnenfeld, was interviewed by Boston Voyager Magazine. The full article originally appeared on BostonVoyager.com on September 3, 2018.
Check out Sonny Sonnenfeld’s Artwork
Today we’d like to introduce you to Sonny Sonnenfeld.
Sonny, we’d love to hear your story and how you got to where you are today both personally and as an artist.
I began my career in the fashion industry as a Stylist, working in editorial, advertising, and e-commerce. As a Fashion Stylist, my end goal was always to have my own line. Before I ever even learned how to design, construct or sew, I would find myself daydreaming about my own creations walking down a runway to whatever impactful song I had playing in my headphones at that moment in time.
Throughout my career, I was granted some amazing opportunities to take on the role of Art Director, ultimately leading to a position in Creative Direction. As a Creative Director, I was able to put my theories about fashion to the test, and create these editorial visions I had brewing for so long. I have always been someone who likes to challenge fashion. I like to combine contrasting elements to create something new and exciting. I look for what is missing in fashion, rather than what is “hot” right now. This notion was the driving force behind my desire to learn how to create my own designs. Thus, leading to the decision to go back to school for Fashion Design, which was the best decision that I ever made.
Styling is a major factor in my designs. I envision the full look, from head to toe – hair, makeup and all, rather than picturing a singular garment. My experience in the industry, prior to designing, has really helped me in the process of becoming a fashion designer, in addition to the education I gained from getting my degree in Fashion Design. I have developed a strict, editing eye, and vast knowledge of consumer needs.
I now spend day in and day out, working on the progression of my brand, SKIN + BONES, in addition to my position as Head of Fashion for Fashion Collaborative: Haus Of Threes. Haus Of Threes, founded by Po Costa, builds networks of strong creatives in the industry, uniting artists with artists, i.e. designers with photographers. As Head Of Fashion, I oversee and scout new designers for the Haus. You can check out Haus of Threes at: @hausofthrees on social media.
I am constantly learning, evolving, and challenging myself. With each piece I create for SKIN + BONES, I challenge myself to be better than the last. I am constantly working towards the future, while living in the present.
We’d love to hear more about your art. What do you do you do and why and what do you hope others will take away from your work?
My brand, SKIN + BONES (Skin and Bones), combines couture, streetwear, and art, to create wearable-runway apparel and accessories. It is always exciting to see what designers have developed each season as each ensemble makes its way down the runways across the world. It is this intangible quality to Haute Couture that makes high fashion so sought after. However, many of these garments are not necessarily wearable on a day to day basis. For that reason, I wanted to create apparel that gives people that same feeling, makes them stand out from the crowd, yet are still able to wear it, comfortably.
Streetwear has a major influence in the aesthetic of my brand. I wanted to take elements of streetwear and athleisure, and use them to aid in the wearability of my products. All of my designs are adjustable, be in in size or in style. I create products that are able to morph to the wearer’s preference in comfort and silhouette. I use an array of hardware in my designs which grant this freedom.
I also have a strong background in fine arts, as well as a heavy appreciation for it. Therefore, I like to incorporate different artistic mediums into my designs, be it hand painting / illustrating garments, or using collage-like effects through a combination of handwork, ink and other illustrative tools. Texture plays a key role in my work.
There are a couple things that are extremely important to me as far as what SKIN + BONES represents. One being, that this line is available to everyone. What I mean is that there are no restrictions to who is able to wear these garments. I did not want to create a line that “unisex.” I wanted to create a line that was “gender-full,” as I call it. The human form is a beautiful thing; I still wanted to design garments that paid homage to that, while still being versatile enough to be worn comfortably by any gender. SKIN + BONES is about uniting people through fashion. People fight hard enough every single day to be seen and heard, so any little thing I can do to make people feel accepted, I will. Fashion is one of the truest forms of self-expression, and through that, I strive to give people a voice and a home.
Secondly, as someone who has fought so hard to get to where I am (and continue to every day), as so many of us have, it is crucial to me, as a designer, to represent the work of other hard-working, talented artists, through my brand. Collaboration is such an integral factor in the creative business. Whether it is collaborating with a graffiti artist on a set of designs, or collaborating with a musician on a music video / fashion film, nothing brings me more joy than getting the opportunity to work with another strong creative in order to create something that much more powerful for both of us. It’s a win win.
The stereotype of a starving artist scares away many potentially talented artists from pursuing art – any advice or thoughts about how to deal with the financial concerns an aspiring artist might be concerned about?
Oh my goodness, where to even begin. As an Artist, this is what you sign up for. It is so so so so difficult to make money as an artist across the board. I have had moments of so much doubt and stress, contemplating whether or not this was a smart move. However, when you find that thing that feeds your soul, you have to hold on to it and fight for it. I have had to come to terms with the realization that no matter how talented someone may be, it takes a long time and a lot of perseverance to actually bring real revenue into the work one does as a creative, or at least enough to be able to solely do that for a living. Most of us are not just handed things; it takes real dedication, a lot of patience, and a strong work ethic to obtain financial success as an artist.
My fiancé and business partner, Po Costa said something to me not too long ago, which really changed my perspective on success:
“If your career is doing what you love, then you have already succeeded.”
Most people have to work on the side in order to support their creative work, but we can’t let it stop us as artists. You can’t “fail” if you love what you do, and with enough hard work, persistence, and passion, it is impossible for great things to not come your way.
I put myself out there and say “Yes” to things that I was too afraid to do before. Being more of an introvert, putting myself out there and being vulnerable, was such an uncomfortable thing for me, but I realized that I had to be the one to represent my art, because that is the only way opportunities are created for one’s art to speak for itself. My brand is fearless, so I had to be too.
The best advice I can give is to always be your most authentic self. STOP apologizing for being different; being original is what sets us apart in the best way possible. Most importantly, do not ever compare yourself or your success to someone else’s; it is the worst thing you can ever do to yourself as a creative. Everyone has a unique path that pans out for each of us the way that it supposed to. Follow your heart, pursue your dreams, and more so than anything else, do not give up on yourself. Be kind to yourself, be kind to others, be humble, but have confidence in your capabilities and in your vision. Do not base your life around social media; use it as a tool, not as a comfort blanket. Good things come to those who believe in themselves.
Do you have any events or exhibitions coming up? Where would one go to see more of your work? How can people support you and your artwork?
SKIN + BONES is still in early development. My first collection, “Rebel With A Cause,” debuted at The Boston Public Library in early May, and again at Open Runway via Boston Fashion Week in Downtown Crossing at the end of May. I have big plans, but every step in the upward trajectory right now is a little victory. A website is in the near future, but as of now, people can view my work on Instagram: @sonnyfeld. I like to keep people up to date with current projects and designs. Additionally, I have started taking custom orders through Instagram as well. People can message me directly for custom work, or to place an order on something I post for sale or pre-sale.
My line has also been featured in Ladygunn Magazine, in conjunction with an interview about myself and SKIN + BONES. You can check it out here:
*I also recently worked with an incredible team of creatives in the production of a short fashion film, which I wrote and directed, alongside Director of Photography, Curwyn Henry, and Artistic Director, Po Costa, which features my designs. It is still in the editing stages, but will be released fairly soon. It was a project that was very near and dear to me, so I am super excited.