Sarah Holden ’07

Sarah Holden

Oakland, California

Career: Clothing designer
Major: Studio art and a minor in religious studies

Sarah Holden learned to sew from her grandmother when she was seven years old. Those early lessons paid off well for the designer, who says she has a “lifelong love of making and designing clothing.”

After graduating from Scripps, Sarah began working in costume shops of regional theaters, most notably with the Denver Center Theater Company, Opera Colorado, and Santa Fe Opera. She learned an immense amount about period clothing, garment construction, and creative collaboration in the theater world. “And I was able to indulge in my love of opera!” said Holden.

After a few years, Holden pursued a different path. “I tried to envision my future self, and all I could see was a studio space,” she said. Holden moved into the fashion industry two years ago, utilizing her sewing and design skills. She enrolled in a patternmaking program at Apparel Arts in San Francisco to improve her technical skills, and has worked as a production and design assistant for a local designer, Catherine Jane, in her small San Francisco boutique. Holden assisted the designer with many aspects of her business—patternmaking, production cutting, fabric selection, and client fittings.

“I have been very happy with my career decision,” said Holden. “I find the fashion industry to be extremely dynamic and diverse.” Holden enjoys the endless possibilities that designing clothes presents and the problem solving involved. “Each project presents unique problems, which are fun to solve, and equally utilize the left and right brains.”

With a major in studio art and a minor in religious studies, Holden believes Scripps prepared her well for her career and life after college. “My work-study jobs at the Ruth Chandler Williamson Gallery and Pomona College’s costume shop gave me practical professional experience. My courses in religious studies and art history allowed me to think in an interdisciplinary way,” said Holden.

“Professor Susan Rankaitis encouraged me to think creatively and be confident as an artist,” Holden adds. As a result, she would eventually like to design her own line of clothing and clothing label.

Holden is recently between jobs, as the designer Catherine Jane decided to close shop. She plans to accelerate through the patternmaking program, and later check out the fashion scene in New York City, where she says job prospects look promising.

So the next time you’re shopping for clothing, check the label carefully; it may have a familiar name on it.


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