Monday, November 08, 2010

What's Your Fashion Status? Interview w/ Designer Sarah Jones

I first met Sarah at a Runway Monday fashion show in January, wearing pieces from her signature line STATUS. The drape, shape, and overall mood of her dress caught my attention for this street fashion snap. She told me she was a fashion designer and I didn't see her again for months.

Fast forward to last week's trunk show, where Sarah was busy zipping back and forth between racks of her clothing and ladies who came into Circa 2000 Menswear not expecting to find something for themselves.

"That long dress has been really popular. It's a great maxi dress and can even go black-tie depending on the accessories."

In between the dressing rooms and racks, talked about starting out as a designer, her line, and the Dallas fashion scene.

~ So how did you start your own fashion line, STATUS?
For design school and different things, a lot times I'd have events to go to and I couldn't find what I want so then there's a number of cocktail dresses I made for myself and everywhere I went [people would ask] "Oh my gosh, where did you get that? Can you make me one?"

~ When did you decide to go from cocktail dresses to ready-to-wear?
I've done bridesmaid dresses, I've done 2 wedding dresses, all for special clients. By no means do I want to become a wedding [designer]... So that's kinda how I went from special occasion and wanting something special and different...

Then how to translate that into a ready-to-wear collection where you will feel special and different in wearing something interesting with some design that people notice, "Hey, I haven't seen that everywhere, walking up and down at every price point."

~ What do you think sets your ready-to-wear collection apart?
The subtle style lines that people appreciate and notice... and that's what's intriguing.

~ How would you describe a STATUS girl?
That's the great thing about [STATUS]. It's a sophisticated urban woman that goes through a lot of different things in her daily life - so she could wear her silk tank with boots but then layer it with another tank and make it a dress for a cocktail evening or dinner.

It all goes back to that dressing up/dressing down thing so she's gonna wear this to events, to see friends, to happy hours and dinners. But a lot of [the pieces], you can make them casual and be that chic, sophisticated I'm-doing-my-grocery-shopping-and-I-look-fabulous.

~ What would be the perfect accessory to pair with your new Fall collection?
Shoes are huge when you're dressed up or down. You can put one of the long dresses with some gladiator sandals and you're boho chic, or you can put on some heels and you're almost black-tie ready...

For the Fall line, depending on the piece... Depending on the look that you're going for... Flat boots is what I'm loving right now - I think it's the opposite of the giant heel - but I don't think there's this one accessory...

~ I've seen you at a couple of events wearing your line - has that been good marketing?
I wear my own clothes all the time for two reasons. The first reason is that's the kind of clothes I like and, again, I try to have something in the line for every occasion.

The second reason is I get stopped everywhere I go... I tell them I make it and you can buy it online or at these boutiques. I think that's growing organically from a marketing standpoint, and it gives me feedback of who's noticing and liking it and under what circumstances.

~How do you see the Dallas fashion scene and where do you think you fit into it?
I love that there is a Dallas fashion scene, that there is this kind of incubation of designers and apprecation for that. I know right now I'm focusing on developing here but also developing my line across the country and expanding from there. {Dallas] is certainly a great place to incubate and I'm excited about all the emerging designers.

I know [local fashion show producer] Jan Strimple has mentioned that you have to give people jobs and the more designers there are based here, the more of those supporting jobs, supporting people will be here, like people for finding hangars to deliver my stuff.

~ Talking about the Dallas fashion scene, do you have any tips for emerging designers in Dallas?
The key is just figuring out a way to design and do something you love, and then find a business way to do it. I think for a lot of people in Dallas, that next step is, "Ok, we're doing these events, these [garments], how do we turn it into a business, a career and a living?"

Not to sound in it just do it for money but, eventually, you'll be doing something else for work and [design] will be a hobby. If you can harness that [design talent] and get with people that are business-minded... I think that's the key to turning so many talented people with all these great ideas and actually making it into an end-product.

STATUS is currently carried at 12 boutiques nationwide plus Sarah's online boutique. You can check out more of her designs and buy her line @

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