BA (Hons) Bespoke Tailoring grad creates immersive online exhibition
BA (Hons) Bespoke Tailoring graduate, Sarah Hollebon is based on Kingly Street in Carnaby London, offering handmade garments and advocating quality and precision in every item. She is currently focused on the areas of mental health, trauma, and sexual violence, with each collection highlighting people’s real experiences and challenges, where some are extremely deep rooted.
As the UK continues its national lockdown, Sarah is hosting a virtual exhibition, ‘Death Over Time Part 2’, which will be streamed to the public for free between 25 January 2021 – 14 February 2021 and will coincide with the national mental health campaign Time to Change’s annual ‘Time to Talk Day’ on Thursday 4 February 2021. You can visit the online virtual exhibition here. Ahead of the exhibition, we caught up with Sarah to see how she has managed her time throughout the past year and reiterates the positive impact fashion can continue to have on our society.
What have you been up to since we last spoke?
I launched a new product called: ‘miniatures’ They are mini versions of my current mental health collection and are limited to only 50. The miniatures are on movable and bendable mannequins, offering various poses. Standing at 30cm, the intricate miniatures work well as art display pieces in the home or workplace for opening up the conversation on mental health.
I also designed and created a custom bespoke jumpsuit for Kid Jupiter’s front man Laurence Morgan. Kid Jupiter are a vivid London indie band wrapped up in luscious harmonies and intoxicating grooves. Laurence’s jumpsuit is a striking asymmetric statement piece. We took inspiration for the colours, pastel pink and blue, from their new single to be released in 2021.
In my spare time, I am a mental health activist and public speaker. Since Jan 2020, I have been volunteering for Time to Change a national campaign to end stigma and discrimination around mental health. July 2020, I became a Speakers Collective community member. The Speakers Collective is a community of professional speakers who facilitate and promote learning on a variety of social issues. I have been developing and refining my public speaking skills by opening up the conversation and advocating a wide range of areas in mental health and sexual violence.
Tell us about the new collection and why the sentiment is so prevalent today.
The new piece is a unique art/ fashion collaboration between myself, Daniela Raytchev, a multidisciplinary artist and LCF alumni, and Never Fade Factory, a concept store based in Soho supporting emerging designers. The jacket raises awareness on rape and sexual violence and is created from upcycled materials and natural fabrics. One side of the jacket represents the turmoil of the trauma and the other side represents the aftermath during recovery. The original artwork is hand painted by Daniela and is based on one of her paintings, where she interviewed a survivor of sexual abuse. The deep red rouching is tucked and folded in, recreating the scars and complex journey one undertakes. Black ribbons can either be tied or hung loosely from the jacket, representing the process from flashbacks to the willingness to begin opening up and start the journey of recovery.
The reverse side of the jacket is plain black woollen fabric showing hints of Daniela’s painting. One can choose to wear/show your inner states of being or not, how much we reveal is up to us and it changes depending on us and our environment. Either way we own our story, and we can create our future, no matter which way we step out.
Sexual violence will always be a prevalent topic until the problem no longer exists. The Crime Survey of England and Wales estimates 20% of women and 4% of men have experienced some type of sexual assault since the age of 16, equivalent to an estimated 3.4 million female victims and 631,000 male victims. Just because this topic is not being spoken about, does not mean it’s not happening. There is no denying this is a challenging subject matter which is why it’s so important we keep the conversation flowing regularly within our circles. We have a long way to go, however, I do believe we are moving in the right direction to raise awareness, educate across all generations, and most importantly, to create safe spaces for survivors.
What are your hopes for the collection? How are you hoping it will influence society?
By choosing challenging subjects and encouraging conversation, I hope it will encourage society to be more aware, open, and educated on these issues, whilst eliminating the wrong and extremely damaging terminology/language often used in the media and press surrounding sexual violence. I believe the new piece communicates a powerful message and starts the conversation on a challenging subject. Holding these conversations help begin to normalise the dialogue in society. By doing this I hope it will help survivors feel able to open up safely to someone, whether that be a professional, friend, or a family member.
What are your thoughts on the future of London Fashion Week after the coronavirus pandemic has shifted our ways of working?
The future of London Fashion Week, I believe, will still crave the physical events as this is where emotion and deep connection is captured to inspire and delight all our senses. Artificial Intelligence is excelling in all directions however, not all senses are engaged, until then physically attending will be the top attraction.
How has Covid impacted your work?
Coronavirus has impacted my work massively. It’s made me become more creative with the way I market my products and aware of what product areas to expand. I am currently working on a balance between products I can sell online but also keeping to my bread and butter, offering bespoke one off pieces.
What would your guidance be for those who have recently joined LCF?
My recommendation would be to join creative communities through LCF, social media, or start one based on your creative interests. Embrace the uncertainty and stay open minded as you never know where it will lead you