Designer Bel Sorrentino makes clothes that you can collect and cherish

Launched just as the 2020 lockdowns began, Sorrentino Studios is an emerging Melbourne brand that is definitely one to watch. With its mix of slick tailoring and textured bodycon cuts, the brand has an edgy but elegant vibe. 

Launching under pressure

“I  design, cut, sew and produce each collection and I have recently hired a machinist to  help with some of the production,” explains Bel Sorrentino, founder of the eponymous brand. 

“I have an Italian background and my  grandparents had their own leather jacket business in the 80s so the name was a no brainer. I studied fashion design at RMIT university and after working full time in retail for one year I decided to go my own way and start Sorrentino!” 

Melbourne fashion brand Sorrentino Studios Bel Sorrentino

Founder and designer of Sorrentino Studios, Bel Sorrentino

Bel started her “contemporary, bold and edgy” brand right at the beginning of the 2020 Coronavirus lockdowns in Melbourne.

“I had already had the idea of  starting, and was saving up for the start-up costs. At the time I was also making masks on the side of full-time work – before we were locked down again in July – they became mandatory soon after, [and] my DMs blew up!” says Bel.

“This forced me to create a website within days; work out the inventory and stock levels, and hire a machinist to help me sew. The masks generated enough money for me to pay for all my patterns, fabrics, materials, photography, models, etc. for the first collection.”

Being transparent

Bel obviously wanted to be a designer, fashion is seemingly in her blood, but she also launched Sorrentino Studios out of a sense of frustration with the current fashion industry.  

“I launched the brand because I was frustrated by the way high end brands were basically  functioning like fast fashion – ridiculously high quantities of units and regular drops that  come every month!” Bel points out. “It was eye-opening to see the sheer quantity of waste going into the  industry and I didn’t want to contribute to this waste.”  

Sustainability is very important for Bel and how she runs her brand. “All of my pieces are made from premium deadstock materials and trims – this means that everything is made from fabrics that could have ended up in landfill due to the fabric being out of season or end of the run fabrics from mills,” explains Bel. 

“All of the pieces are hand-cut and handmade by myself and my local machinist who is paid well above the industry standard and works from her own home studio. All of our parcels are packaged with recycled or compostable packaging [materials] and all labels, care labels, swing-tags, thank you cards etc are all made here in Australia by ethical and sustainable suppliers. 

“The brand prides itself on transparency so you can see a list of all our suppliers on the FAQ page of our website, [and] my long term goals are to open my own brick and mortar store with my own local sustainable  in-house production.”

Creating modern-day heirlooms

Bel says that she is inspired by bolder, and more edgy designers like Dion Lee, Christopher Esber, Mugler, Iris Van  Herpen, Ann Demeulemeester, Peter Do, Raf Simons and Maison Margiela – all designers known for holding strongly to their own particular DNA.

“My collections are androgynous and can be worn across all genders. I have recently released  a range of handmade jewellery and accessories that include gloves, bags, ear-cuffs, mix-and match earrings and necklaces,” says Bel.

“The main concept for Sorrentino Studios is to create long-lasting, ethical and sustainable clothing that has a story and that people feel connected to. The idea is to see these pieces as wearable artworks – something that you collect and cherish – like a modern-day heirloom.” 

For more information and to shop Sorrentino Studios go to sorrentinostudios.com, and follow the brand on Instagram at @sorrentino.studios.

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