Sydney sisters, Hayley and Laurie Smith began their label in 2009 as a form of artistic expression and inspiration. Stemming from the animalistic and mystical, The Serpent & the Swan was created to express beauty in nature and fantasy, rather than a mechanical or mainstream outlook. The designs are eye-catching; playing with shape and texture, line and contrast; yet are completely timeless. With the added bonus of being completely androgynous and unisex, Serpent & the Swan has a green thumb, with the goal to plant a tree for each purchase made. At this moment, the label has planted 112 trees and counting.
For Hayley and Laurie, the label has combined the personal visions of the two, with Hayley’s fashion and costume design experience, and Laurie’s art and special effects (monster making and props for screen), the label has created pieces focusing on line, shape and nature. Fashion & Costume design and fine arts & special effects come together to form the mystical, dark image of the Serpent & the Swan. Alongside the collection includes a journal of images comprising of dark, mystical pictures, art of the body and depictions of animals. The Serpent & the Swan use this and their social media sites not as a piece of publicity, but as a mood board open to their customers, seeing where the girls find inspiration, and how this is interpreted into startling, simple pieces.
The Serpent & the Swan isn’t just a title for the label, but a representation of its collection. Much like the sister’s combine their background, the mythic origin of the serpent and the symbolism of the swan as beauty combine to create unique works of art. The label’s symbol: a patterned image of a snake circling itself becomes too a representation. The circled snake or dragon originates from the Greek symbol Ouroborous, representing cyclicity and self-reflection, but of course, the sisters leave the interpretation up to the viewer, much like their clothing is left for the customer to play with and present.
The Serpent & the Swan have progressed both in Australia and internationally, with stockists running globally. Having been involved in Melbourne fashion week of 2013 and 2014, Hayley and Lauri have proven the power of independent vision. And being environmentally conscious whilst still making gorgeous pieces is just a bonus!
Be sure to check out the website and social media for more information including their latest A/W collection!
By Jessica Clausen