The buzzy designer, whose debut at New York Fashion Week in February 2016 was studded with notables like Anna Wintour , Natalie Massenet and Stefano Tonchi , has since garnered a loyal fanbase who laud him for his colourful and sensuous clothes, as well as partnerships with key international and boutique retailers.
Sander Lak was born in Brunei, with his childhood split between Malaysia, Gabon and Scotland. His family soon relocated to the Netherlands, where Lak spent his high school years. After graduating from Central Saint Martins’ MA Fashion course under Louise Wilson , Lak spent five months working for Phillip Lim in New York. He then moved to Balmain, where he worked with Christophe Decarnin and then Olivier Rousteing . Soon afterwards, Lak moved to Antwerp, Belgium, where he would spend five years as head of design at Dries Van Noten .
In 2014, he was recruited by Nancy and Howard Marks’ holding company Deia to build a label from scratch in New York, turning down another position at a major European house. Before Sies Marjan, the pair had invested in Ralph Rucci, the American couturier who left his own label in 2014. At the time, the company said it would announce a new creative to helm the brand, but instead chose to start Sies Marjan, an entirely new label, using the existing infrastructure.
Lak's debut show took place atop the 58-storey Barclay Tower in Tribeca and was hailed by fashion critics. Soon after the show, the designer agreed to a US department-store exclusive with Barneys New York. The label started with 28 retailers globally for the Autumn/Winter 2016 season and now counts over 75 global stockists including MatchesFashion, Browns and Net-a-Porter.
Sander Lak was nominated for the CFDA Swarovski Award for emerging talent in 2017, and won the prize in 2018.