Our last post in our series of interviews with creative entrepreneurs comes from Sarah Cannon, part of a sister duo making an impact on the local fashion scene. Take a few minutes to read how she started designing clothing and where she hopes to take her brand Hazel Cole.
Sarah Cannon has been surrounded by design for as long as she can remember. Together with her sister, she designs as Hazel Cole in Raleigh, NC. Born into a design family, Rachel and Sarah’s parents are both architects. They grew up around architecture and design, spending as much time at Cannon Architects as they did at home. Each sister fell in love with design from a young age and both took their own path into different design professions. Here she shares the experience of designing a collection for Charleston Fashion Week, which features her own designs printed on Spoonflower fabric, along with tips for budding creatives!
Patterned Strength by Sarah Cannon | photo by Ben Scott
How did you get involved in fashion design?
I got into fashion design when I started making clothes in high school. I took all the apparel and pattern design courses that were available. I was next accepted into NC State University where I enrolled in a dual degree program in Art & Design and Textile Technology. I am an Annie Albers Scholar and will finish my dual degree in May of this year.
How long have you been designing garments?
The first full collection I designed and constructed was in my freshman year of college for the tenth anniversary of Art2Wear. I was the second freshman to ever be accepted into the runway show. From there, I designed collections in Art2Wear over my next three years. I will graduate in May with 6 collections completed and in my portfolio. The last two collections were completed in collaboration with my sister, Rachel Cole Cannon for our brand Hazel Cole.
What has been your biggest challenge?
I think the biggest challenge I face is fulfilling all the goals I set for myself. I often run into the problem of wanting to get more things done than I have time for. I always complete the job, but sometimes I am not able to take it to the ultimate vision I have for the challenge. I am confident over time that I will learn to edit through my goals to better realize the priorities at hand.
What has been your biggest success?
I think my biggest success to date was being a part of Charleston Fashion Week with my sister Rachel for our company Hazel Cole. We were selected as part of the top 19 emerging designers and won People’s Choice. It was an inspiring experience.
Where do you see yourself in 10 years?
In ten years I hope to be running my own company with my sister, Hazel Cole, here in Raleigh. I want to focus on having good quality, locally-made clothing with a national outreach. I believe we can produce a line of elegant, sophisticated clothing that reflects our region and culture.
What is your creative sound track?
My creative soundtrack changes constantly depending on my mood and what I am working on. Recently, I have been listening to rock classics such as The Beatles, The Stones, etc. One of my favorite Pandora stations when I am trying to lift my mood up is the “Build Me Up Buttercup” station – it's so fun!
What one piece of advice would you give to someone pursuing a creative career?
I would encourage a new designer to never stop trying to improve your work and to seek out the critiques of others. Constructive criticism can sometimes be hard to accept, but it will always make you pause to think and ultimately motivate you to improve your work.
Who inspires your work?
I find inspiration from many sources - my family, travel, nature, music, art, graphic design, pop culture, etc. Much of my work is inspired by architecture. Both my parents are architects and I grew up surrounded by design and the creative process in architecture.
Rainy Day by Hazel Cole | photo by Ben Scott
What resources have you found really useful?
I have found that researching other designers is very useful in my design process, I often use WGSN, style.com, Women's Wear Daily, and Pinterest for searching for inspiration. I also gain a lot of working knowledge and inspiration from looking back at fashion and learning from history. I have looked at classic movies, different fashion movements over the decades, and fashion icons of the industry.
For any sewing construction issues I am confronted with, I usually can find the answer in my Vogue Sewing book from the 70s.