Focusing on high-end textiles and superb tailoring, Sauma was founded by Amy Altunis in 2019 to create exceptional pieces for event dressing. Come find out by quality is so important to Amy and how Sauma found its gap in the ever-growing fashion industry.
q: How does working in New York differ from London?
a: While London is geographically spread out, NYC is much more condensed. This makes it far easier to work in the NYC fashion industry because the factories, textile and haberdashery companies, pattern and sample makers, as well as the fashion schools are all situated within minutes walking distance from each other. There is a clear and definite fashion industry centred around midtown Manhattan's 7th Avenue. The accessibility of all things fashion related allows for a more productive working environment.
q: What prompted you to start your own brand?
a: I have always had my sight set on forming my own label. I was exposed to fashion and art in almost every aspect of my life from a very young age. Aesthetics played a enormous role in my upbringing. My grandfather was a very talented and popular couturier, and my father was a young fashion designer who in his later years founded Mood Fabrics in NYC, the largest high-end textile company in America. I started working at Mood when I was 18 while attending university. It was there that I had the incredible opportunity to work with some of NYC's iconic fashion designers. This was most fortunate, and laid the foundation for my own pursuits in fashion. I established a fundamental understanding of luxurious textiles and impeccable craftsmanship, such that I was designing for the people around me by the age of 20. I finally got to attend fashion school at Central St. Martin’s after moving to the UK in 2005. Three children and 15 years later, the timing felt right to pursue my dream and establish my own collection. My view is that there is a gap in the market for fine and heavy-weight silk garments, much of which over the years have been replaced with man-made fabrics like polyester. I want to trigger nostalgia by reverting to old school quality garment-making. I found it necessary to make a place for this niche in a world that had increasingly moved toward fast and disposable fashion. I always keep the words of Giorgio Armani at heart, "luxury cannot and must not be fast." And so, in 2019, SAUMA was born.
q: Where does the name SAUMA come from?
a: The name SAUMA is actually my maiden name and is a tribute to my father who is a gifted artist, fashion designer, entrepreneur, and most of all my mentor.
q: How would you describe the SAUMA woman?
a: The SAUMA woman has a real affinity and appreciation for pieces that will carry her throughout the years. She is elegant, confident, and embraces the idea that less is more.
q: Who are the designers that inspire you the most?
a: Throughout the years I’ve been inspired by many designers. But the three that stand out are Halston, Yves Saint Laurent, and Giorgio Armani. Halston for its fluidity and sensational draping, Yves Saint Laurent for its attention to detail, and Armani for stunningly portraying modern minimalism at its best.
q: Why is it important for you to design pieces that are timeless/seasonless?
a: I aim to design collections that are seasonless and timeless. It's always nice to have that ‘go to' piece in a woman's wardrobe that can be worn regardless of season. This gels with my belief that that clothing should be made to last; quality construction and attention to detail dramatically lengthen the lifespan of a garment.
q: Your favourite piece of your current collection and where you'd wear it to?
a: The Madeleine dress is most definitely my most popular. It's a piece that has many faces to it. It can be worn during the day or evening, can be buttoned for a smarter look or unbuttoned for a more relaxed and stylish night out. I’ve had clients who have bought this dress in every print and have asked for additional custom prints. It's amazing how the same dress looks completely different with each new print and fabric.
Sauma isn't just pleasing to the eye, it is also made with the highest quality of materials.
Something we always hear nowadays is, 'Quality clothing is so hard to find. They're either too expensive or they fall apart after a few months.' That is exactly the gap that Amy is trying to fill - creating quality garments that will last a lifetime.
Having her father as an inspiration and mentor, a man who founded Mood Fabrics in NYC, one of the largest high-end textile companies in America, Amy had first hand experience in dealing with fabrics, design, as well as working with some of the most iconic fashion designers in the industry. Seeing the amount of man-made fabrics used in mass production, she wanted to make a change and also to bring a little nostalgia by reverting back to old-school quality garments; ones that you could have in your wardrobe for years to come without the worry of wearing and tearing.
With the world slowing returning to normal, events are at the forefront of everyone's minds. Whether it be birthday bashes, dinner parties or weddings, we all need something we can wear. Sauma's piece are the ones to go for. The silk drapes around your body effortlessly, accentuating your silhouette perfectly.
Sounds like the ideal garment right? We think so too...