Junior Holston pursues interest in vintage clothing production


Courtesy of Annamaria Holston

Junior Annamaria Holston poses for a photo in her handmade Victorian-era dress.

Meredith Bell

Junior Annamaria Holston has been creating her own vintage-inspired clothes since elementary school. Her creative process begins with influences from her everyday life. 

“It starts with the moment of inspiration where I see a dress in a movie or on Pinterest,” Holston said. “During the school day, I’ll be thinking about how to troubleshoot constructing garments, because sewing is actually really complicated.”

Holston is often inspired by early 1900s icons, such as Carmen Miranda, an actress from the late 1920s known for her platform shoes and fruit headpieces. Her biggest influences, however, come from 1530s and 1830s fashion. These time periods are best known for dresses with dramatic sleeves and exuberant hats. 

“I love 40s movies and really cheesy musicals, they’re my favorite things in the world,” Holston said. “The 1530s and 1830s are my all-time biggest inspirations.”

Holston uses a variety of fabrics to make her clothes, ranging from linen to silk. Depending on the materials a project requires, she checks thrift stores first. 

“I go to a thrift store first, but I’ll go online if I need something specific,” Holston said. “I’ve never used a pattern before — I usually just make it up as I go.”

Junior Sara Sasser, Holston’s friend of five years, admires her passion for clothes and creative abilities. 

“I find it so impressive whenever she sends us photos of her clothes,” Sasser said. “She just intuitively makes stuff, and it’s really cool.”

The time it takes for Holston to finish a project varies, depending on her motivation to do so. 

“Sometimes I’ll start something and I’ll finish it a year later,” Holston said. “The time a project takes depends on how inspired I am.” 

Holston’s passion for the arts has been present all her life. Olivia Holston, Holston’s older sister, thinks their expressiveness is a result of having an artistic upbringing. 

“I don’t think there’s ever been a point in our lives that we haven’t been surrounded by creative people,” Olivia Holston said. “There was never a time when we didn’t expect to do something creative with our lives. I’m a film major in college, but I still think my sister and I share a lot of the same mediums.”

Holston’s dad is an author and artist with a passion for music and expression. Her mom, Rose Holston, introduced them to thrift shopping at a young age. Rose Holston thinks their hobbies have influenced both of them artistically. 

“I still don’t know how to sew; I wasn’t the inspiration, but I introduced them to things that probably did inspire them,” Rose Holston said. “Anna is the baby of the family, so she’s taken a little bit from everybody and made it her own.”

Olivia Holston admires her sister and is proud of what she’s done with her passion for making clothes. She is impressed by Holston’s independence.

“She’ll get an idea in her head, go to her room and you’ll hear the sewing machine for hours on end,” Olivia Holston said. “Watching her become the creative person she is has been so insane — she’s always done her own thing and been really independent.”

Holston is taking a Costume 1 class, but her teacher, V. Kottavei Williams, assigns her Costume 2 work because she’s already capable, Williams said. Williams admires Holston’s work and her personal everyday style. 

“She’s phenomenal; I think her style is retro in a very glamorized way,” Williams said. “The done hair, the pop of red on the lip, very specific clothing — it all reminds me of Old Hollywood.” 

Holston hopes to take what she has learned in her fashion class with her into the real world. 

“I’d love to do costuming for theater, like opera and ballet and also set design,” Holston said. “I can’t do anything else, I have to do this for the rest of my life.”