A Designer Who Explores the Social and Political Landscape of Angola

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Self-portrait by Sandra Poulson
Self-portrait by Sandra Poulson

Sandra Poulson is a recent Central Saint Martins graduate whose work draws on her upbringing in Luanda

Introducing New Beginnings, a new series of mini Q&As spotlighting emerging designers, in the wake of Craig McDean and Katie Shillingford’s shoot for AnOther Magazine Autumn/Winter 2020.

AnOther Magazine: What are your hopes for the future?

Sandra Poulson: I am feeling positive about the future. I have some projects lined up for 2021, which I am already working on, as well as setting up my own studio in London.

AM: What is the thinking behind your work?

SP: My work discusses the political, cultural and socio-economic landscape of Angola as a case study to analyse the relationship between history, oral tradition and global political structures. 

AM: What three words would you use to describe your approach to fashion?

SP: Locality, decoloniality and progress.

AM: What does community mean to you?

SP: My understanding of community has had a number of different forms throughout my life. Having grown up in Luanda, lived for a year in Lisbon and now for six years in London, I feel that instead of replacing the communities I belong to, I have accumulated them. 

AM: What community did you grow up around? How did that shape you?

SP: I grew up in Luanda, a city where the social and economic disparities are very sharp, but at the same time the culture is very unifying, the communities that raised me as a person were quite diverse. One really important community I felt part of was of the listeners of rap music in Portuguese and Kuduro. Artists suggested by my brother such as Valete, Gabriel o Pensador, Black Company, Bruno M genuinely informed my awareness of the world and my role in it.

Follow Sandra Poulson on Instagram here.

This interview has been edited and condensed.