Sarah Cotterall grew up in an Italian family in London and almost every year she would go with her family to visit her mother's village Sillicagnana in northern Tuscany, Italy. Cotterall says Sillicagnana played a huge part in who she is and heavily influenced the direction she took in design. Living in London she would visit galleries and museums often, the V&A was and still is one of her favourite places to go. She studied Art and Fashion at BTEC level before deciding to get an International Marketing Degree. Cotterall was also accepted to study fashion at St Martin's, but at the time thought it was not the right fit.
Fresh out of university, she worked in Paris for two years before moving back to the UK to work for Leo Burnett in advertising. Shortly after she moved to Auckland with her husband and continued work in advertising for the next couple of years before having children. After having children she decided to follow her passion and create beautiful couture jewellery.
A couple of years later, Cotterall couldn't physically make every single piece herself anymore with Silk & Steel growing at such a rapid pace. The Superfine and Superluxe collections are made by offshore manufacturers, however, her couture pieces and one-off bespoke pieces are made in house, as each design tends to evolve during the creation process. Colours and textures found in fabrics and stones greatly influence Cotterall's designs. Silk&Steel can be seen on a number of NZ artists like Ellie Goulding, Gin Wigmore and Hollie Smith.
"I love creating bespoke pieces and it's great to see them being rocked by well-known kiwi and international artists," said Cotterall. The power to enable women to create their own sense of style and to be unique is what Cotterall loves. Each piece has been designed to be worn together and are incredibly versatile. "It's such a joy to see how my customers wear pieces - and I love the pleasure that it brings them," she said.
Silk&Steel is sold online and currently stocked in a number of boutiques in New Zealand, as well as Smith & Caughey's department store in Auckland. Already in Melbourne's Storm store, Cotterall plans to push her brand more into Australia and then the UK.