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Well Made Women: Interior Designer Alicia On Her Craft And How To Achieve Your Dream Home

by: Well Made Clothes Staff | 4 years ago | Features

Image: Alicia Sciberras is a freelance interior designer based in Sydney. Here, she wears the Poetry Dress in Black. It's sold out in black but it is available, and on sale, in the insanely pretty Wedgewood

Instagram is the latest piece of technology to make interior design (as well as everything else), look effortless. Creating a beautiful, comfortable, light-filled, luxe-but-not-too-luxe, white-but-not-too-white, vintage-inspired-but-not-too-vintage (you get the picture) room is as simple as buying a few plants and upgrading your curtains and couches via Ikea, right? Wrong.

Anyone who has tried to emulate the photographs of fabulous interiors from their favourite Instagram accounts or their favourite magazines will know that this is an incredibly fine art, requiring the heady combination of innate taste and background knowledge, in order to answer questions like, but certainly not limited to: but which plants? But which curtain shop? But which shade of white-but-not-too-white couch?

Introducing Alicia Sciberras, a Sydney-based interior stylist who has probably created some of the rooms you have then pinned to your ‘dream home inspo’ board on Pinterest. Here, Alicia explains how she creates meaningful spaces, which in turn are beautiful spaces, as well as providing us with some hot tips about how we can crack, if not a career in interior design, then at least a decent living room.

Image: Alicia wears the Short Sleeve Shirt in Indigo and the Signature Classic Trouser in Indigo. Both of these items are currently out of stock, but we will have new stock of both of these items in the next two weeks. Please email us on info@wellmadeclothes.com to express your interest!

Kelly Elkin: Can you tell us a bit about your creative background? You studied fine art before getting into design, right?
Alicia Sciberras: My background is in fine arts majoring in sculpture – I graduated with First Class Honours from the University of Sydney (Sydney College of the Arts). During my four years at art school I had a keen interest in installation art and this is what led to understanding the presence each object holds in space, particularly the performative aspect of space. Art has been such a big influence in shaping my understanding of space, colour, and form.

I began my styling career working in the editorial team at Habitus Magazine – I interned there under the guidance of the beloved Paul McGillick and Nicky Lobo, and I learnt an incredible amount from this small, hardworking team. After my internship they luckily hired me and this was my entry point into the design world. We worked long hours but I wouldn’t change a thing – Nicky offered me pages to style in Habitus and I ran with it. The very first photographer I got to work with was the amazing Tim Robinson, a very well-known Sydney photographer who I admired a lot, and I still work with him today.

Kelly: For many people styling is a bit of a mystery. Can you tell us about your typical day?
Alicia: Styling is one of those things noone really understands, so I am really excited that you asked me to debunk it for Well Made Clothes readers. For me, styling is a creative process similar to storytelling: stylists create a visual language that is much more complex than just placing objects together. On any given day you can find me decoding images, testing structures and new materials to build sets with. I love riffling through my paint colour-swatches to test out new colour combinations and scouring markets and antiques stores for interesting one-off props.

Image: Alicia wears the Structured Tank, which is on sale!

Kelly: What excites you about working in the design world? What are you currently obsessed with?
Alicia: Too many things. My recent trip to Japan has left me craving small details and everything oriental. I saw an exhibition of ancient mirrors from China at the Nezu Museum; it is historical pieces that tell stories of world views of their time that really inspire me. But I am also obsessing about architect Tadao Ando and revisiting my art-school crushes of artists Matthew Barney and Joseph Beuys.

Kelly: With styling, how do you juggle outfits that are both professional and practical?
Alicia: When I decide what to wear on shoot I am very practical, footwear is the most important because of OHS in studios, so most of the time you will find me in sneakers. But I do like to have fun with my outfits. I mainly wear pants because who knows [what will happen]; it’s not uncommon to have to climb a ladder. I’m also one of those people who are eternally cold, so I always carry my plain grey jumper with me because it goes with everything and always looks good.

Kelly: You have an enviable habit of looking effortlessly chic. Do you have any muses who inspire you?
Alicia: Wow, that is so nice! Umm, I cannot think of just one muse. My eyes are constantly scanning for inspiration, but my partner calls my style 'Korean Grandma’, so let’s roll with that as my muse because I kinda agree, haha.

Image: Alicia wears the Literature Coat in Grey (which also comes in Black), which is on sale, and the Denim Culotte in Rebound, which are also on sale!

Kelly: How you do you incorporate your values into daily life?
Alicia: A few years ago I decided my style test of whether to buy something or not was 'would I feel comfortable enough to go to bed in this?', and I based all my purchases on this. But I suppose there are occasions where this restricts your wardrobe a bit, so I would say my current ethos is definitely in line with the age old saying 'quality over quantity' – I have less pieces but my wardrobe is highly edited. I place a lot of importance on the fabric quality of any garment I buy, and I would rather spend more on one basic white organic cotton tee than have 12 polyester pieces that feel horrible to wear.

Kelly: You have an impressive line up of clients including Habitus, Vogue Living and Champ Magazine. Do you have any tips for ladies trying to break into the industry?
Alicia: Firstly, thank you. Secondly, I love what I do so much and my advice to anyone trying to be a stylist is throw yourself into it 100%. Assist a stylist and learn everything from them. Do not be in a rush to get to the top! Meet with photographers, come up with fresh ideas to express your visions (ideas are the most valuable thing in this industry, anyone can just copy something!). Collaborate with people because you will always learn something from the experience, and just have fun! Styling is my ultimate dream job and I get to work with my friends and people I admire, and I actually cannot believe that I get to do this!

Kelly: What is the best advice you have ever been given?
Alicia: "Alicia, everyone else sees it! You are a stylist, call yourself a stylist", Megan Morton.

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