Get To Know - Sakara from Sunshine Living

Interview with Sakara - Posted on 1st May

I've come to know Sakara well over the last couple of years; we've been working together behind the scenes to create some super cute garments together. As well as working freelance she also owns her own fashion brand, Sunshine Living - she creates stunning loungewear and accessories with sustainability at the forefront.


For Slow South, Sakara beautifully manufactures the Sunny Shirt Jackets, In the Palms Headbands and Daydreamer Shorts - she's a fashion oracle, talented designer and is beyond amazing behind the sewing machine.


Get to know more about Sakara below.


Hi Sakara, firstly I must ask - your name is beautifully unusual, is there a story behind it at all? Or hidden meaning?


Why thank you! My mum travelled around world for a few years when she was in her 20s, and picked up mine and my sisters names on her adventures… Think it may have been seen on a boat haha. It means sweet one.


You run your planet friendly loungewear company, Sunshine Living from your studio in Berkshire. Can you give us a little insight into a typical day for you? I know you're a tea drinker so I’m guessing this starts the day?!


Oh of course! I can’t start the day without a cup of tea, and 20 minutes of being an annoying cat mum to Archie, much to his disgust. I then head over to my grandparents which is where my studio space is, and only a 10-minute walk from mine, which is just lovely. This also means another cup of tea on arrival, made by the legend that is my Grandad Dave. I have fully taken over their spare room, and I'm not quite sure they realised what they had gotten themselves in for when offering it to me, but there’s no going back now! So, as well as Sunshine Living, I also freelance pattern cut and seamstress for a few other businesses, and whichever is the priority that day, and needs to be done first, is done. It usually consists of cutting, sewing, cutting, sewing, tea, sewing, and snack breaks throughout the day, before heading off to my evening job as a cocktail bartender. 


I just had this huge feeling of guilt that my love for fashion and it’s huge impact on the world was bad thing, and I needed to find a way to be able to do both.

During your studies you specialised in ethical fashion - what was the catalyst for this choice? 

I’ve always cared about the environment, and the world we live in, but it didn't really hit me until I was at university and had a 1/4 life crisis (still ongoing may I add) where questioned my entire existence on this earth… yes, very dramatic as per. I just had this huge feeling of guilt that my love for fashion and it’s huge impact on the world was bad thing, and I needed to find a way to be able to do both. I touched on it throughout year 1 and 2, and after a trip to Thailand the summer before my final year, and noticing the huge waste and pollution problem right in front of my eyes, it just clicked in my head. I needed to go all in, guns blazing. Creating a sustainable and zero waste collection for GFW, teaching myself as much as I could. This has since just followed on from there, not wanting to compromise on my ethics for the sake of a job. 

You mention online that your ‘dream’ fashion job didn’t go to plan after uni. What was the dream job then and what made you change your path? 


If I'm completely honest I didn't have a specific job in mind, I just knew I wanted to work in sustainable fashion, in London. This turned out to be incredibly hard to find, there just didn't seem to be any. A lot of places didn't seem to care that much about it, at uni we were never taught about sustainable options, and even pushed away from looking into it. But I was shocked at the lack of options. I definitely did apply for fast fashion roles when I graduated, I just wanted to get a foot in, and see if I even had a shot. Thank GOD I never got any of them, I would have hated it. I then set up a small jewellery business on Etsy when I returned from travelling, and my family pushed and encouraged me to sell clothes on there too. And thus, Sunshine Living was born. 

What can we expect from Sunshine Living in 2022? Any new releases on the horizon?

Oh, who even knows! I don’t to be honest. I used to plan, plan, plan, and overthink to the very stitch of what I was creating and it was draining. I’ve finally gotten to a point where I’m just creating what feels good, right, and inspires me at that very moment. This is just what works for me, an everyone is different. That’s the beauty of being small, I can have a design idea in my head, made, and photographed within a few weeks instead of a few months like larger brands. I have however really loved creating new things like the bags, and dresses, and loved my summer co-ord short and shirt sets from last year. So, keep your eyes peeled for more updated versions of these very soon. 

Your love of creating and making is obvious to anyone that knows your branding. But as a loungewear brand do you feel pressure to have a constant presence on social media? 


YES! I always have. I love talking on stories, that’s my absolute fave, but if I'm not feeling it I just don’t. I used to be really hot on posting on the grid and stories every single day, but now I feel like Instagram is out to get us and it’s tiring. I've also taken on more freelance work, and it’s helped to bring back my love for making things for Sunshine Living. There isn't so much pressure to make lots of money from it. This also means I can enjoy the social media side of things more. I now just post when I feel like it, and when it feels right for me, without beating myself up for it. I’m a creative, not a social media manager  haha. 

You love to travel and have done so in the past - are there any adventures in the diary for this year or anything on the wish list?

This year will be a lot more UK staycations, I think! I’m trying to save money at the moment, which is not a skill of mine, so we will see haha. However, there will be lots of beach day trips and weekends away near the sea. 

Lastly - do you have a favourite Slow South item? And if so, how are you styling it?

Oh no I can’t pick one!! At the moment I’m a sucker for a hoodie, so I'd have to say the Lovers Hoodie and It’s All Good Hoodie. Depending on the weather my go-to is either baggy cuffed jeans and converse, or Sunshine Living cycling shorts and trainers. Simple and comfy. 

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