SAKS POTTS – by Barbara Potts & Cathrine Saks

Words:
April Ru Wan

On my third visit to the Saks Potts store this week, I waited for my appointment with founders Cathrine Saks & Barbara Potts, standing by the room’s centrepiece: a gleaming oak table. Nearby, a mother adjusted a polka-dot chiffon top on her tween daughter, showcasing the brand’s universal appeal across all ages and genders. This inclusivity is what fuels Barbara’s passion for her work as the creative visionary behind the brand. She takes pride in their unique approach, noting the broad appeal of their designs, from tweens to those in their forties, as evidenced by the mother-daughter duo present. Both founder’s diverse circle of friends, ranging from lawyers to techno artists, mirrors this inclusivity, with Saks Potts becoming a staple in their varied wardrobes. Barbara and Cathrine’s journey began when they launched the label at 19, having been inseparable since kindergarten. Starting a business at such a young age, especially as young women in Denmark, where female entrepreneurs were rare, presented its challenges. Yet, they’ve navigated these obstacles with grace, growing to appreciate the strength and dedication of their team. Their latest collection draws inspiration from festival fashion, channeling Kate Moss at Glastonbury with statement low-waisted belts on numerous outfits. Check out our interview below where we explore the new collection, the Saks Potts uniform and what’s next in the Saks Potts universe!

April Wan: What’s the creative process like when designing a new collection?
Barbara Potts: So, we start by designing our collections with the Saks Potts closet concept in mind. This means if you were to walk into the store, it would feel like you’re looking into a well-organised closet. When we’re brainstorming for a new collection, we keep the store’s essence in mind, focusing on what essentials make up the quintessential Saks Potts wardrobe—like the perfect polo and the must-have dress. This approach helps us lay the foundation for our collections. We also have a uniform collection, which is essentially the heart of what we offer. It includes the staples that are always available, such as our timeless polos. They strike the right balance between chic elegance and a touch of fun, unconventional flair. On top of that, we add some themed styles to bring a bit of spice and variety to the mix.
AW: We noticed the reference to Kate Moss at Glastonbury on the runway. How did the festival theme come to be?
BP: Actually, the funny thing is that the inspiration for this period is the year when Catherine and I went to high school, which was around 2010 to 2012. For me, it’s actually quite horrible. It was a little bit in bad taste, in a way, but I just felt that it was so fun to create this kind of energy. So, we introduced all these statement belts, which you might have also seen, like short dresses. You might recall seeing the suede boots, the wrinkled boots, embodying the whole indie vibe, but also with a significant touch of bohemian. And the funny thing, when we did the research for the collection, we always conducted this extensive research at the beginning, and then we focused on indie and bohemian themes. Interestingly, all the pictures were actually from the UK. Normally, when we do research, it’s quite often focused on America or elsewhere, but this had a very Glastonbury, UK festival vibe, and we loved it. So, we created this.
AW: The show was held in this store with around 50 attendees, quite the contrary to your last few shows. What made you guys choose such an intimate way to showcase your collection this season?
BP: Usually, we hold these huge fashion shows. For instance, last summer, we organised a public fashion show in Copenhagen’s largest square, attracting 4000 people. We love to host and bring people together. However, this time, given the global situation, we felt a more intimate, private show was appropriate.
AW: What is the story of the label?
BP: Normally, when we describe our brand, it’s all about Copenhagen because we’re from here. And when you’re from Copenhagen, it’s all about bicycling and practical details; it needs to be functional. Many of our jackets always have numerous pockets for added convenience. In a way, it’s that kind of thinking. I have my little daughter, and she’s on the bicycle with me. I need to feel comfortable and at ease. So I also think that the style we have, and also in general in Scandinavia, is very laid back and chill. In Denmark, it’s nearly abnormal if you are too overdressed. It’s like, no, no, it’s a little shocking. Overall, the brand is quite authentic. It bears our last name, so it’s like a personal story. We just really enjoy creating things that we love. You can totally see our life since the beginning, with its ups and downs, collections where we have been more somber and collections that have been more upbeat and lively. So I find it fascinating that it’s actually a quite personal story. Also, there’s the aspect of female empowerment. We are two young women starting the brand. There aren’t many like us in Denmark. You can really see that nearly all these entrepreneurs are men. So it’s not so common for women to be leading. That’s something we really love and want to create a community that also appreciates.
AW: Let’s take a walk through the collection!
BP: Of course, we always offer a lot of beautiful leather styles and cotton poplin, which is like our uniform shirt. It’s so funny because we actually refer to it as a uniform since suddenly, everyone at the office was wearing their shirts and salmon jeans, embodying the cool skater vibe. There’s a 19-year-old wearing it with a Palace T-shirt underneath, and then there’s the 45-year-old financial lady. It was just so fun to see our core uniform styles on so many different individuals because everyone here is so unique. That’s why we call it the uniform, because it’s like the Saks Potts uniform.
AW: What does the silver detail on the crewneck reference?
BP: Our monogram is round, featuring the initials ‘SP.’ What’s beautiful about our monogram is that it’s inspired by the mute swan. The mute swan is a specific type of swan and also the national animal of Denmark, so there’s a reference there. We love everything round; you can see that in our round circle motif present in many places. We wanted to create a classic PK polo with our unique touch, hence the introduction of our monogram as a little detail. Additionally, we introduced the Christina pants, one of our signature pieces, which people love because it’s fun and fits well with the festival theme. As with everything we do, there are always d-rings so you can keep your gloves and AirPods handy—very much in line with the practical lifestyle of Copenhagen.
AW: What’s next for Saks Potts?
BP: In this collection, to be specific, we are very excited to introduce and offer our first leather tote bag. It’s all about creating a bag that is incredibly easy to use—you can put everything in it. It’s totally based on our lifestyle.
Cathrine Saks: Overall, for us, it’s about creating a working environment that benefits the entire team and ourselves, ensuring everyone is happy with what they are doing. It might sound a bit abstract or fluffy, but it’s truly important for us to establish a company where every team member feels content and satisfied with their work. Of course, we also have numerous business strategies aimed at further growing the business and generating revenue, but our primary focus is on creating a workspace where everyone thrives and feels their best. In terms of markets, we’re particularly interested in expanding further into the US and the UK at the moment. Additionally, we hope to have a stronger presence in Asia, particularly in Shanghai and Seoul, in the near future.
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