Finding her stitch

When Ribin Estes needed a dress for her senior prom, she  didn’t fight the rush to her local designer dress stores. Instead she went to her sister.

Clothing designer Sarah Estes is a 21-year-old merchandising, apparel and textiles sophomore at UK, and she also happens to design her own clothes and organize her own fashion shows.

Estes said she had always been interested in art, but her creative mind took to clothing design when she and a friend designed T-shirts together at age 15.

After high school she attended the International Academy of Design and Technology, in Nashville, to pursue her passion for design. She would eventually transfer to UK to pursue her major.

When Estes’ sister came to her asking for a prom dress, she said Ribin trusted her creative style.

“My sister wanted me to design her prom dress. She just told me she wanted a purple dress,” Estes said. “All I had to do was make sure the fabric was purple.”

Estes helped form the Lexington Collaborative Group, made up of local designers collaborating to organize events and bring together the fashion scene in Lexington. She is the only student in the group.

Estes said the group is an opportunity for people from different backgrounds who all love design to work together and help one another.

“I started out loving making clothes, but I realized if I’m going to be able to sell my clothes and get my name out there, we have to organize events,” Estes said. “It’s really just a passion of helping all these designers. A lot of them are good friends of mine,

and I want to help them get their stuff out there. I want the community to get excited about what’s going on.”

Estes said the future of the group looks promising, and she is excited to see what’s around the corner.

“We’ve been a group for a year, but we haven’t been a group people can donate to. It’s not really an official organization,” Estes said. “But this week we’re going to be incorporated. We’ve already got everything filled in. We’ve grown a lot in one year, and in another year we’ll be even bigger than this.”

She said her ambition is to one day design custom pieces on commission. She said it would offer her the most creative freedom, and it is at the heart of what she loves to do.

Estes’ designs will be on display at Awesome Inc’s Nexington on May 8th, and the Lexington Collaborative Group’s Future of Fashion 2 on June 5th.

To see Estes work, as well as the work of other local designers, visit