Sarah Bagner, a.k.a Supermarket Sarah, is known for her "walls". They started in her living room but have now spread into public spaces; galleries, shop fronts, bars, receptions and perhaps most prestigiously, Selfridges in London. Having previously collaborated with Selfridges on an installation in the Wonder Room Concept Store, Sarah's new wall on the ground floor showcases an even bigger range of the kind of vintage and new designer gems available to buy at her super-cool online shop supermarketsarah.com.
Working with brilliant designers including Donna Wilson and Tatty Devine, Sarah has formed a "super network" of young talent. Items from supermarketsarah.com have been worn by stars like La Roux, TinieTempah and Lindsay Lohan and celebrity fans of the site include Damon Albarn and Lily Allen. Prepare to be inspired.
We spoke to Sarah to find out more:
Sarah, please tell us a little bit about your background and how Supermarket Sarah was born.
I studied graphic design at university in Brighton and then went into advertising. I found I was working mostly in the digital sphere and after a while found that I wanted to do something more tactile I guess, so I started moving more towards styling stuff and started doing Portobello Market on a Friday. I loved it and started meeting some really interesting people and making lots of great contacts. The Supermarket Sarah site website started as a bit of a portfolio site really, but then one thing led to another and I was asked by Selfridges to put together a wall for its London Concept Store.
I'm not sure really, I suppose curator might be a good way of describing what I do. I like working with people, which often artists tend not to. I enjoy the project-based element of what I do, the bringing people together.
I guess because it's a fun spin on consumerism. I liked the very democratic nature of a supermarket. Everything is displayed equally and simply. I sell items from £5-£500 but each is just as special. I like the idea that the everyday and mundane can be seen in a new way. I love breathing life into old things and seeing things in a new unexpected context.
And in terms of the products, how would you describe Supermarket Sarah, the online shop?
Hopefully something a bit different. There's a mix of vintage and new designerware – a mix of the old and the new. In the early days I did a few vintage fairs and realised that they weren't really my thing, because as much as I love vintage, for me it's also about the personalities of the new designers coming through. When you buy something, you're buying into the personality of the vendor as well as buying the item itself.
Are the artists who contribute to Supermarket Sarah all friends of yours or did you approach people to take part?
I started doing the walls myself, then I invited designers I admired to contribute. I asked Fred Butler to do the first one – she's amazing – and I couldn't believe how excited she was about doing it. It's surprising where you get just by asking! For me it's about working with people whose work I admire and about not selling anything that I don't love.
As well as the online shop, and Selfridges, you have a space in Battersea, London where you display your work and the pieces are for sale ...
Yes, we have what's called a 'test bed' there – we have a great landlord who's keen to work with artists to create a new arts space and there's a brick wall down there and that's where I've been hanging out.
Do you have any favourite pieces or artists you're working with at the moment?
No favourites – they're all my favourite.
To check out the current selection of vintage and new designer gems on offer, visit supermarketsarah.com