24FashionTV had a chance to sit down with celebrity designer Sara Rose whose pieces were worn by Tyga, Kash Doll, Soulja Boy, Dream Doll, Melii, Rubi Rose, Asian Da Brat (Asian Doll), PNB Rock, Tory Lanez and many other talents in Hollywood.
24FashionTV: When did you first realize you wanted to pursue a career as a fashion designer?
Sara Rose: I think deep down, probably since the 3rd grade, I had this sort of confidence in myself about my ability to create art. My teachers always acknowledged it, from reading my story-writing assignments out loud to the classroom, or winning the awards for best drawing etc., I realized I had a talent for art, and a strong desire to want to show everyone. It just felt more like an unattainable dream than a reality that I could ever make a career out of my talents. Growing up how I did, nobody in my environment was successful. I mean, I didnt have any direction, and surely didnt have anyone to look up to, so I was never taught to aim high toward any goals. I didnt know who I wanted to be, truly, until recently in my mid-twenties. Furthermore, I really actually learned who not to be just by watching my elders. I knew I wanted my life to mean more than just getting by, working a 9-5 job, when deep down I had so many ideas, gifts, that I knew the world could use and appreciate and share with me. So really, I made the decision to take a risk in the Fashion industry at age 27. It happened quickly, with nothing driving me but that same inner confidence I had as a kid, and I just haven't stopped working at it since.
Tyra Banks for The Guardian Magazine cover - wearing Sara Rose handmade Angel Diamond Mask
You achieved quite a success for someone who started a brand 3 years ago, what do you attribute to such a success?
Looking back, I would say that what I considered, success, started immediately. I mean literally, I hand-made a Louis Vuitton face-mask out of my vintage LV bag in February 2018, and I posted it on Instagram-and BOOM. That was all it took- An IDEA, that nobody had yet. Being the first person to do something cool, that wasnt already trending. I had a niche-so I think it was new and refreshing to people. Id say that was the 1st main ingredient to how I achieved as much success as I did so quickly-I mean within days...weeks, celebrities were wearing my custom-made face masks. Not only that, but I would say it was a lucky strike, you know. Its not easy to think of something new-a lot of people recycle trends, but this was my debut to the fashion world. My first step into a whole new world with no formal education or experience in the industry-it just happened so naturally. So, it's beautiful in that sense. I just thought it was a cool idea to make face-masks out of designer bags. Nobody was doing it yet, so I figured, the hell with it, let's see what happens. So, the idea itself was most of what attributed to my success, while the other part of it I guess is just my natural desire to give myself a purpose to live for, to be remembered for something. From day 1, when I posted that LV mask on Instagram, I saw peoples reactions to it and I knew in that moment that this was going to be my new journey. It was my ah-ha moment. So, I pushed myself, I designed, I created more masks, I posted, I reached out to celebrities. I was my own publicist, my own marketing manager, I just remained persistent and consistent. I showed the world who I was, fearlessly. Thats always been my advice to my followers on gaining success-create a purpose worth living for, that keeps you excited, then pursue it fearlessly.
What inspired you to start luxury face masks?
So, prior to 2018 when I made that first LV mask, I was actually pursuing music, as a singer. It was tough to say the least, but I realize now it was actually a necessary journey meant to lead me to my Mask-making business. As a singer, I was building my brand image as this ski-mask wearing bad-girl, so I was rocking ski masks or bandanas on my face-which sort of became cool on Instagram. I remember one day I wore my Gucci silk bandana around my face-bank robber style- and posted a pic on Instagram. This was when that Gucci Gang, Gucci Gang, Gucci Gang song came out by Lil Pump. Well guess what my caption of choice was? Yeah, that photo got a lot of likes... it was right then that I had the idea to cut up my Gucci scarf and my LV bag and make some cool masks out of them. So, thanks to my failing pursuit in the music industry, my bad-girl fashion style paid off, and SARA ROSE was launched.
Sara Rose headdress from Moon Rays collection
Where do you usually find creative inspiration for your new pieces?
A lot of my creativity comes from sleepless nights when I'm up and my mind is running. Sometimes I'll get a mental picture in my head and see some cool headdress or creation in my mind, and Ill want to sketch it out, or Ill get an urge to get up and start making it.
Other times, my ideas come from shopping for fabrics and seeing some cool materials that give me an idea. Thats why I like to walk around the districts browsing for materials. I have to see new things to spark an idea.
Sara Rase design in Harper's Bazaar magazine
What is fashion to you?
Fashion, for me, is like a never-ending chase to find the best version of myself that I wish to be, but never finding it. When I was a kid, I remember going to school always wearing the same recycled hand-me-down clothes. Many days, Id wear the same shirt or pants as the day before. I still remember how it felt-it gave me this feeling of knowing I wasnt as cool as other kids, feeling left-out and unaccepted. I was eclectic, an outcast, unable to be trendy or fit in. Somehow, those feelings transcended into how and what designs I create today. Im always reminded that for better or for worse, I'm different. But different can be cool too. So I go on creating something new and new and new. Maybe still searching for acceptance, maybe from myself?
Sara Rase design in Harper's Bazaar magazine
How is working in fashion different today than from when you started out?
Well, I have achieved many new ventures in 2021 that is aligning with my current goals, such as fashion shows and magazine placements. But the industry feels mostly the same, with the exception of many other companies designing face masks since last year's pandemic. So I dont have that niche anymore, but it was a good thing actually because it forced me to pivot my brand into focusing on high-end editorial opportunities, showroom placement, and creating more headdresses and accessories now vs face masks. So my business is pivoting in the direction I want it to!
What role do you think social media plays in fashion today?
I think I speak for every creator and business when I say the ALGORITHM sucks! Instagram use to be an amazing outlet for me-I mean one time in early 2019 I hit 20,000 comments on a giveaway video! And as a business who needs social media every single day, the algorithm has caused a dramatic deficient on our views and outreach! It's definitely much harder today to reach your own fans or gain new followers or customers. Social media and online shopping is taking over malls and in-door shopping! I think we all can see the changes taking place and all we can do is continue to try out best reaching out, posting and promoting.
Ski Mask from the Sara Rose Mula collection
How was your brand affected by the Covid-19 lockdown?
The pandemic was a both blessing and a curse for me and my company. When it first started back in March 2020, I was making the most money I had ever made, because of the mask shortage that was happening around the world. So my mask sales were skyrocketing! I can say I was not prepared! I can laugh about it now, but looking back I was so overwhelmed with orders that I was crying and stressed out, reaching out to manufactures for help. I wanted to fulfill everyone's orders, as I knew the importance and the fear of people not being able to cover their faces and feel safer. I mean, I went from a very casual flow of mask orders for fashion purposes, to an OVERLOAD of mask orders for life-or-death purposes! It was a surreal time in history for my company. On a professional level and personal. I suddenly went from being a niche fashion brand- to being copied, mimicked and out-ranked by huge companies and designers worldwide making the exact same masks I was making for years. Imagine designing and making face masks for years when nobody else is doing it, to in just one day, walking outside and seeing literally every single person on the street wearing face masks that look exactly like your original creations, made by someone else. It was heartbreaking...it was shocking. Yet, at the same time, the entire situation helped boost my company up so I had more awareness and more customers shopping with me. So I had to stay positive, look on the bright side, and start working on plans B, C and D.
What is your favorite part about being a designer?
Well, my favorite part of myself being a designer, is that I can start new trends. I think that is a designers gift- To think of something, and bring it to life for the world to see, feel touch.
How do you want women to feel when wearing your pieces?
I want women and men and everyone who identifies in between to feel like connected to a fun, creative, progressive community. I make fashion for the unaccepted, the unpopular, the outcasts. Because we are cool, we fit in with each other, yet we stand out from everyone else.
What comes next for Sara Rose?
My favorite part of life are the surprises. Simply embracing existence, as any existentialist would say. I wish to continue doing what I love to do, which is designing, creating and helping my followers to find and pursue their passions. I won't stop pioneering exclusive fashion trends and welcoming all communities of people to come be a part of this brand Im building.
Editor, 24Fashion TV