Reno fashion designer reaches millions on TikTok

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RENO, Nev. (KOLO) — A Reno fashion designer is reaching millions with her design posts on TikTok.

Sarah Hambly was introduced to sewing from an early age.

“My mother has sewn all her life,” she said. “She grew up sewing, she sewed all her own clothes and stuff, her siblings did that and I had no interest in that as a kid.”

It wasn’t until her father’s death in 2016 that the 29-year-old decided to pick up a needle and thread.

“I really love the process, the catharsis that it is to create art professionally and to create art as a part of your life and just trying to express yourself,” Hambly said.

At that time, she was still in photography school and design was just a hobby.

“It was mostly because I really wanted to get into fashion photography, like Vogue,” Hambly said. “At the time, I didn’t have access to 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 supplementing my photography with my own clothes.

In 2020, COVID lockdowns and another loss sent the self-taught designer to TikTok.

“I lost my grandmother in the very early stages of COVID to COVID, she was in her 90s…and luckily I knew art was a way to do therapy and I just did some more and more art and I shared it with the internet,” Hambly said.

Things took a turn in February of that year, when she released the first part of a series recreating Arianna Grande’s Grammy dress.

“At 10 that night I was like, ‘Okay, we’re getting to the two million point’, and then I went to bed and the next morning it was like 16 million, and then it just kept going. ‘rise and more, I was shocked,’ Hambly said.

That video now has 25 million views and catapulted Hambly’s channel, which now has 2.7 million followers and nearly 88 million likes.

“TikTok noticed and the people behind TikTok were like, ‘Hey, wanna come do prom week for us? Like a DIY prom dress,’ and I was like, ‘Yeah, I’d love that,'” she said. “Then Netflix was like, do one for us, then another company and the next thing you know, I have like management teams going, ‘Hey, we’d like to represent you.’

Gradually, what she started doing for fun turned into a career.

“My sister works for me, my mom works for me, we have this huge team of people who produce my clothing brand, they handle my offerings, the video editing. I mean, all of this wouldn’t have happened if I hadn’t made this video,” Hambly said.

The now full-time designer, who makes dresses inspired by princess, cosplay and pop culture, is set to showcase her work at the Reno Fashion Show on July 30. She had participated in 2018 and is delighted to be back this time as a headliner.

“It’s me, it’s my turn, I was like, this is wild!” Hambly said.

She draws inspiration from 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 continue to inspire others.

The embroidery work of Hambly’s dresses is done by her. Most of the clothes she makes are only for content creation, but are then recycled for future work.

Hambly has a clothing line named after him and is available online at https://officialhambly.com/collections/all. Follow her on social media @officialhambly.

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