‘A Pinch-Me Moment’: Summit-Born Designer Brings Signature Dresses to Anthropologie

Sue Sartor is delighted that many styles of her unique flounce dress—in fresh, joyous prints—are selling out quickly.

Two models don green and blue Sue Sartor dresses for Anthropologie
NJ native Sue Sartor collaborated with Anthropologie to design the guacamole-green Sue Sartor Flounce dress and blue Palladio kaftan, $495 each. Photos courtesy of Anthropologie

Spring is upon us, and so are warm-weather dinner parties, weddings and vacations. No wonder fans of designer Sue Sartor are embracing her effortless dresses and kaftans in classic silhouettes, intricate block prints and bright colors.  We caught up with Sartor, who is originally from Summit, to get the skinny.

When did you start designing?
In the early ’90s in New York City, I worked for Calvin Klein’s luxury line. I saw firsthand how being authentic and staying in your lane can do great things. Today, I’m fortunate to merge my interests of art and design by creating artisan block prints, along with my own natural silk and cotton fabrics. 

What was a turning point in your career?
Several years ago, I designed a unique flounce dress. When my first box of stock arrived, shoppers literally bought them on the spot. That dress silhouette, the Sue Sartor Flounce, helped define a timeless style for my line. 

Headshot of designer Sue Sartor

“Joyous prints are here to stay!” says designer Sue Sartor. Photo courtesy of Brittany Daniel

What inspires your design process?
I’m inspired by vintage botanical prints and elements from the garden. Sometimes I send sketches to my artisans in India to create custom-carved block prints, or we repurpose vintage blocks. My signature details are hand-pieced contrast prints, hand piping, placket-front detailing, a contrast sash and pockets. Joyous prints are here to stay!

And your recent Anthropologie line?
I’ve always admired Anthropologie, so when they reached out, it was a pinch-me moment. We collaborated to create my best-selling silhouettes in fresh, new prints, and we’re thrilled that the concept has been such a hit, with many of the styles selling out quickly. 

Is your family supportive of your business?
Absolutely! My husband is a general surgeon, and I waited to start my business until our three kids were grown. Once you start a business, you are your brand. Anyone who has a dream of entrepreneurship should envision everything and keep a journal of ideas. Enjoy everything you do, but be willing to outsource anything that doesn’t feed your soul.

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