Student Designer Spotlight: Sara Bautista SC ’18

Sara Bautista SCR ’18 models her style in the Margaret Fowler Garden. (Ella Harris • The Student Life)

Art is a product of people’s inherent desire to create something out of feeling. Whether it be painting, sculpture, or fashion, these forms of self-expression help us both cope with our emotions and produce meaning out of our personal experiences. If we didn’t have art, how would we be able to endure the monotony of daily life?

This week I sat down with Sara Bautista SC ’18. Bautista discussed her early indoctrination into this philosophy about art due to her parents’ positions as artists. Bautista, recognizable by her distinctly colorful clothing, self-described as dressing like “a sexy little boy,” is a member of Adisa Studios and the designer of Interracial Leisureware. We covered her interest in fashion and its inherent connection to art, along with her very exciting upcoming projects.

TSL: How did you become interested in fashion?

Sara Bautista: There’s a fashion world and then there is personal style. The fashion world I’ve never been into. The first time I ever remember reading a fashion book was Fresh Fruits, which is that Japanese Harajuku book from 2001 or something. That was the only time I ever remember doing that. And, as far as art, my parents are artists. And they indoctrinated me to make things to feel. So anytime I feel anything, I just make something! It’s all very second nature. It’s a good way of coping with life that they set me up with. It’s a form of self-expression and conveying feeling.

TSL: What are your favorite brands/what inspires you?

SB: As far as brands, I feel like branding is capitalism. Social coherency. Social capital. But if I had to pick brands: Eileen Fisher and Supreme. Just because I love old women’s wear and Eileen Fisher is so sick to me. And my brand! Interracial Leisureware. I’m also in Adisa Studios and we have a lot of things cooking right now.

TSL: What is your creative process like?

SB: Interracial Leisureware, the project, came out of me being an American Studies major and not knowing how to feel ever. Because my major is so emotionally taxing. I felt like I needed to just do something with all of these readings. And, like, my life. So I started it. At first, it was very serious. Or just taking itself very seriously. And then I really realized quite quickly that that’s not who I am. So it has kind of devolved into whatever I feel like. I just want to play with color more and just, I don’t even know. I think I want to start making more jewelry again soon. I know that there is a laser cutter somewhere on campus. I might make Interracial Leisureware a jewelry line and not even a clothing line!

TSL: How would you describe your personal style?

SB: I always tell people I’m like a sexy little boy. There are certain things, elements to outfits that I always have. I always wear a safety piece. A safety piece to me is either something a friend gave me or something that is someone else’s. So, right now I’m wearing a hat that a friend gave me, earrings that a friend gave me, and my boyfriend’s jacket. And I always wear weed socks and I always wear Dickies and I always wear silly things that make fun of orientalism. I like to be silly with it.

TSL: What are your favorite pieces?

SB: My favorite things that I wear are—well I own so many weed socks. Just my collection of HUF. I’m so passé. I like HUF and HUF socks so much still. I have since I was like ten years old and I’m never going to get over that. So I will just wear weed socks until the day I die probably. My favorite pieces would be, I have a 1980s Adidas Tracksuit. Like, original. I got it from my grandma’s friend who died. That’s my favorite. I would be buried in that. And I have all pink superstars that are the same colorway. So I wear them together. Every year on my birthday! I only wear that outfit once a year, on my birthday. And I have a Jordache fur coat from the 80s that I love. I love the 80s.

TSL: Is there anything you’re working on right now?

SB: Watch out for Adisa Studios. We definitely have a lot of fun stuff. We all are cooking a lot of good things. Our set up at the Hive is going, so once that is all done we’ll be actually in production. I have a shirt coming out called The Bananalands. It basically makes fun of how tour shirts are really in right now. I couldn’t name you one Joy Division song. So it is making fun of that aesthetic, but it is mimicked off of a Hawaii tourist shirt. So it is vaguely the islands, the Bananalands. And the way that all world island cultures are homogenized into this weird foreign trope that doesn’t mean anything except to bolster the West and its continued normality. And so on the back of the shirt there are all of the major colonized islands of the world and their colonizer. Who came, what country, and what year. So it mimics a tour shirt. It’s a little subtle but also very colorful. The front is super colorful and the back is super colorful. And it is presenting the horrible facts of history. Making space for that but also playing with the fact that as the descendent of colonized people, I still do whatever I want.

Check out Sara’s instagram, @latterdaylove, and make sure to watch out for Adisa Studios and Interracial Leisureware!

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