Badlands Baby

Talisa Sutton (along with Rohan Peterson) is the mind behind Badlands Studio, a creative consultancy specialising in fashion, graphic design and fine arts. The pair provide creative and art direction, branding advice and blog development as well as a range of other services and Talisa is also a talented stylist and photographer. As well as managing Badlands and designing for Australia’s newly launched Elle Magazine, Talisa has blogged for for their Spy Style segment and can boast clients such as Net-a-porter, The Corner Shop, My Chameleon, Brace Magazine and Amy Kaehne. A model of natural beauty and an individual of considerable talent, Talisa is definitely one to watch. The fashion world is her oyster, and what a stunningly beautiful pearl this young woman is.

Sophie Flecknoe: Firstly, can you tell me a little about yourself? How would you define what you do?

Talisa Sutton: I’m 23, I’m engaged and I love fashion, art, design, film, travel and literature. It’s tricky to put one title on what I do! I’m primarily a graphic designer & social media coordinator; this is what I do four days of the week. Then I also work on freelance design, art direction, illustration and styling projects and blog for both my personal site, Badlands, and

What is your definition of beauty? Where do you find it?

The first thing I think of is aesthetics; I love very natural and organic shapes, being surrounded by nature, light, white, and greenery…

Let’s talk about Badlands. It’s such a beautiful blog. When did you start it?

Thank you! Badlands started as a little visual inspiration diary for me when I was studying graphic design at TAFE. My fiancé Rohan and I both liked the idea of sharing our work and inspirations, it’s been more than 3 years since then and I can’t think of anything I enjoy doing more.

What’s the overall basis of Badlands? What do you aim to do through your work? 

I suppose what I love about it is the complete creative freedom, there are no restrictions or limitations. Some weeks I might feel like focusing on personal style, others it might be posting recent styling and design work or sharing a new label, books, magazines etc. that I have found with my readers. Really, I just love creating things and having a little space of my own.

How would you describe your personal style? Is it a reflection on your styling work? 

My style is quite classic and minimal but with feminine details. I love a trench coat, denim and sneakers but then with a beautiful bag and delicate gold jewellery. I think you can get a good idea of my style through my styling work.

Who are some of your style icons? Any favourite labels or designers?

I have so many… My favourite designers are Phoebe Philo at Celine, Dries Van Noten, Isabel Marant and Phillip Lim. My style icons are Jane Birkin, Sofia Coppola, Charlotte Gainsbourg, Alexa Chung and Ashley Olsen.

You have also blogged for Vogue. Can you tell me about your work there?

I started blogging for Vogue Spy Style last year. My work for them focuses on fashion through my personal style, mini-editorials, outfit posts and flat-lays.

Where do you draw inspiration? Who or what influences your work?

I draw inspiration from a lot of places; beautiful artwork and galleries, nature, fashion, cinema, photography, and literature.

Is travel a component of your work? Where is one place you would love to visit?

Not so much, I have been lucky to travel overseas twice in the past two years, most recently to New York and prior to that my first trip to Europe. I would love to see so many more places though, at the moment I would like to go back to Europe in Summer (it was freezing when we were there!) and I would also like to see South Africa as it’s a strong part of my family heritage.

Have you always been based in Sydney? Where are some of your favourite places to visit in this city?

I grew up between Sydney and Canberra. My favourite places in the city are Parsley Bay, Elizabeth Bay Marina, Rushcutter’s Bay, The Botanical Gardens, The Art Gallery of NSW, the MCA and Verona Cinemas.

What is the importance of social media in today’s day and age for the work that you do?

Social media is incredibly important; it’s such an integral part of blogging and any creative business. It allows your readers to interact with your content in terms of commenting and reposting and in my case it allows me to update more frequently. I update my Instagram almost daily whereas the blog is closer to weekly.

What do you keep in mind when you style a shoot? Do you aim to tell a story?

I have an idea of the mood I am trying to create before shooting; I also love deciding on the name for the editorial and researching references and inspiration. Usually I will do a run through and style the clothes on hangers so I can see all the looks next to each other, and I’ll also create a mood board in Photoshop. What I love though is how things naturally evolve on the day, the addition of an extra accessory or a whole new look, which seems so perfect… I love to get carried away with this feeling and there is often a little bit of nostalgia and romance to my work.

What are you listening to at the moment? 

Vanessa Paradis, Daft Punk x Pharrell, The Virgin Suicides soundtrack and Serge Gainsbourg.

Where do you see yourself in five years time? What’s next for you?

At the moment I’m really happy with where I am and how things are going. Next year Rohan and I will be getting married but that’s as far ahead as I’m thinking!

Words: Sophie Flecknoe. Image courtesy of Badlands.

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