When I launched SCLARANDIS in 2017, I strongly relied on the advice and support from friends, ex-colleagues and family to help me start this business (too many to mention, but many to thank).Today the business is still a small family venture. I rely on the support of Italian suppliers I worked with during my corporate years, along with a few freelance collaborators. I have no employees and after trying out several spaces, still work from home. With the pandemic came new challenges. My brother Matt had arrived at the beginning of March for a planned photoshoot, but with the shutdown in New York, became an indefinite houseguest. With my husband and two girls, ages 11 and 10, at home, our apartment suddenly became one of the city’s worst co-working spaces, at times with five of us tapping on our laptops on our dinner table.
Creating content has always been an important aspect of brand building. It sets the mood on Instagram, the website and the marketing. After a while, I realized that for a small startup like mine, hiring a photographer, a studio, photography equipment and models would be prohibitive in terms of costs. I’ve relied on two exceptional photographers, Marjolijn De Groot (an old Friend from Paris) and my brother Matt.
To this day, our models are those who want to support and help create great content for a friend. They take hours out of their day from being a mother or from working or studying just to help me out.
Matt had arrived from Italy, having spent the previous five months in Sri Lanka to shoot a short documentary about the 2019 Easter bombings. He is 20 years younger than me and technically a half-brother, but I’ve always considered to be nothing but a brother. Our father was Piergiorgio Sclarandis, a magician of a travel photographer, and I’ve always thought that Matt and I inherited his photography instincts and passion.
We were able to shoot a video for the SCLARANDIS spring collection before the home lockdown. And after a few weeks at home feeling a bit lost and anxious, we felt the need to shake off the quarantine blues and find motivation – but all we had were some coloured rolls of background paper, basic equipment, and the living room floor!
We have always worked well together and fed off each other’s creativity. In the past in New York City, we would always sit and muse about and identify our inspiration, and then we would go about finding those locations. When you’re working on a limited budget, there are numerous challenges, such as getting permits, renting the right equipment, finding a location we can access without paying for rights, etc.
Matt and I have always been inspired by the great fashion photographers of the 70’s and 80’s, Instagram feeds, and fashion books in my library. Of course, having a large budget would be wonderful, but the limited budget forces us to find beauty in the ordinary, even in the common laundry room of my building. Paradoxically, this limit also allows us to have more freedom. We have no constraints on our creativity and our ability to experiment with different ideas. In this sense, our only limit is our vision.
Hopefully, the pandemic will subside and we’ll be back to life as we knew it in the near future. But for now, I’m the model and as usual, Matt is the photographer, with a little help from my girls who love to give us ideas, like using their yellow umbrella!
Sending good health and peaceful wishes from our family to yours.
Sarah & Matt xxBACK