RENO, Nev. (KOLO) – A Reno fashion designer is reaching millions with her design posts on TikTok.
Sarah Hambly was introduced to sewing at a young age.
“My mom has sewn her whole life,” she said. “She grew up sewing, she sewed all her own clothes and everything, her siblings did and I had no interest in it as a kid.”
It wasn’t until her father’s death in 2016 that the 29-year-old decided to pick up a thread and needle.
“I really like the process, the catharsis that it is to create art professionally and just create art as part of your life and just trying to express yourself,” said Hambly.
At that time she was still in school for photography and design was just a hobby.
“Mostly it came about because I really wanted to get into fashion photography, like Vogue,” said Hambly. “At the time I didn’t have access to like a stylist or fancy clothes that I really wanted to photograph. So, I thought ‘Well, if I don’t have them I can try to make them’. I started to supplement my photography with my own clothing.”
In 2020, COVID lockdowns and another loss sent the self-taught designer to TikTok.
“I lost my grandma at the very beginning of COVID to COVID, she was in her 90s…and luckily, I knew that art was a way that I could do therapy and I just kind of did more and more art and shared it with the internet,” said Hambly.
Things took a turn on February of that year, when she posted part one of a series recreating Arianna Grande’s Grammy dress.
“By 10 o’clock that night I was like ‘Okay, we’re coming on the two million point’, and then I went to bed and the next morning it was like 16 million and then it just kept getting more and more and more, I was shocked,” said Hambly.
That video now has 25 million views and catapulted Hambly’s channel, which now has 2.7 million followers and almost 88 million likes.
“TikTok took notice and the people behind TikTok were like ‘Hey, you wanna come and do prom week for us? Like a DIY prom dress’, and I was like ‘Yeah, I’d love to that’,” she said. “Then Netflix was like, do one for us and then another company and the next thing you know I have like management teams that are like ‘Hey, we would love to represent you.’
Little by little, what she started doing for fun turned into a career.
“My sister works for me, my mom works for me, we have this massive team of people who produce my clothing brand, they manage my deals, video editing. I mean, all of that wouldn’t have happened if I hadn’t done that one video,” said Hambly.
The now full-time creator, making princess, cosplay and pop-culture-inspired dresses is set to showcase her work at the Reno Fashion Show on July 30th. She had participated back in 2018 and is thrilled to be back this time as a headliner.
“It’s me, it’s my turn, I was like, that’s wild! said Hambly.
She is inspired by designers like Alexander McQueen and John Galliano, and her dream is to dress a celebrity like Blake Lively or Taylor Swift for a red carpet and to keep inspiring others.
The embroidery work Hambly’s dresses are done by her. Many of the garments she makes are solely for content creation but are then recycled for future work.
Hambly has a clothing line named after her, and is available online at https://officialhambly.com/collections/all. Follow her on social media @officialhambly.
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