Sarah Hollebon on mental health, Bespoke Tailoring, and Kingly Street
BA Bespoke Tailoring alumna Sarah Hollebon recently won a two years residency on Carnaby’s Kingly Street, London. Shaftesbury partnered with London College of Fashion to offer two tailors the opportunity to establish themselves in a studio space for two years, on Kingly Street, the historical home of tailors in London. Alumna Sarah Hollebon and Joshua Millard both earned a spot after presenting their business plans to an outstanding panel composed of Chairman of the British Fashion Council: Harold Tillman CBE, celebrity tailor Mark Powell and Head of Retail at Shaftesbury: Sam Bain-Mollison. We caught up with Sarah Hollebon about her life after LCF and what she will make of this opportunity.
Tell us a bit more about yourself
My home town is set in Taunton, Somerset. My family transcend cultures from American, Italian, Australian and English, so I had the chance to be surrounded by vast, deep-rooted cultures from an early age. After graduating from LCF in 2018, I moved back home and worked part-time for a Savile Row waistcoats maker, while being an artist in residence at Bridgwater and Taunton College. I moved back to London in July to my new premises in Kingly Street, Carnaby.
What have you been working on since finishing your course?
Since graduating in 2018, I have expanded my graduate collection which explores and highlights the taboos and the stigmas about mental health. I gave speeches advocating mental health, alongside exhibiting the collection at Off the Cuff, Taunton College and Bell House - with the aim to continue to raise the awareness of society’s, still, deceptive perception of mental health and to start the conversation.
Using tailoring as a platform to voice people’s mental health experiences, holds a crucial contribution to a better world and to better well-being. We must push through and beyond the boundaries of comfort, to educate, and to develop ourselves until the dialogue is nothing but a positive subject.
You’ve been offered 2 years rent-free on Carnaby at 26 Kingly Street working close to established tailors, how does it feel?
It feels incredible! I am truly ecstatic to be awarded this phenomenal opportunity alongside invaluable mentoring. I am extremely excited to begin my journey, to establish and to develop my business! I am thrilled to be surrounded by impeccably skilled master tailors and to have at my fingertips invaluable business advice and guidance from Harold Tillman, LCF, Shaftesbury/Sister London.
What are your goals for these next two years?
I want to explore and raise awareness of social issues around the world by organising workshops. As a tailor, I will offer clients to choose outfit designs from the mental health collection, and I create their own tailored garment bespoke to their body. From a sustainable point of view, every sculptured garment is adjustable, and I encourage clients to reuse and repair, while 10% profit is donated to YOUNG MINDS UK.
Did you always know you wanted to pursue a career in tailoring?
Not exactly, I always knew I wanted to pursue a career in high fashion. However, tailoring wasn’t the first thing that came to my mind. I’ve always been more drawn to work that has been handcrafted because I fully appreciate the perseverance that goes into it. I went onto the BA (Hons) Bespoke Tailoring course with the pure intention to learn the handmade traditional tailoring techniques not because I was obsessed with suits… but my love for suits happened during the course.
Why did you choose LCF, and what did you enjoy the most about your course?
I chose LCF as it was one of the two universities offering a full tailoring degree course. I wanted to submerge myself fully into every creative aspect as whilst being surrounded by so many creative people, so LCF being part of the UAL network was the perfect fit.
I enjoyed the balance of creativity and traditional craft. Being taught by tutors who were or used to be on Savile Row meant we learnt the true traditional impeccable tailoring techniques. Every day was invigorating!
What advice would you give to potential students who would like to enrol at this course?
Don’t limit yourself to just tailoring. Always be open-minded to learn new things or to take up opportunities that arise, even if they aren’t connected to suits - you never know when you can incorporate the two together and create something groundbreaking. Get out there! It’s up to you to go out and find out about networking events, panel discussions that you can get involved in for free. LCF has some of the best resources and contacts in the world, so take advantage of it!
Photographer: Zhou Xinjia
Models: Chloé Doherty and @iamthelword
Embroiderer: Rebecca Bruton
Hair and Makeup: Beth McKendrick
Tailor and Set Designer: Sarah Hollebon
Assistant: Jaz Pearce
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