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This San Diego Clothing Line Is Fashioned from Family Paintings

Clothing designer Sarah Armendariz opens up about launching her line, Cosima


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“This shirt is really about my mom’s gorgeous Desert Bloom print—I love the exuberance, the drama of the huge blooms, the colors, everything about it.” American Shirt in Desert Bloom, $148 | Photo by Jenny Siegwart

Cosima Pop-ups!

The Local Bazaar at Liberty Station, June 7

Flower Hill Feast + Craft, June 9 

shopcosima

The women in my family have always created—if not as a career choice, out of necessity or pure joy. My grandmother designed and sewed entire wardrobes for herself on a Singer sewing machine. My mom made her clothes on that same machine and a living from designing and painting. Even my paternal grandmother dressed in a completely individual way. I use her old bandanas in photo shoots as a nod to her fabulous Texas ranch style.

It was kind of a now-or-never moment when I launched Cosima (the name is a mashup of my sons’ names: Santiago, Pablo Manolín, and Cayo) in spring 2018. All of my kids were finally out of diapers, and I saw an opening to go for it. With that said, the fashion industry is a tough and crowded place to try to succeed—I went back to school for design when I moved from Austin to San Diego in 2003, and held various design jobs. I knew if I wanted to launch my own brand, there would have to be something to make it stand out. My beautiful printed fabrics originate from my mom’s and my stepdad’s artwork. Cosima is my first time attempting this. I have a graphic artist who helps me take the print from canvas to fabric. To capture the vivid colors, digital printing is the way to go.

I love my studio, because I’m surrounded by all the creative energy of my family. The old Singer sewing machine sits on my desk (I sew on it, too), along with handbags my mom designed, my family’s artwork, notes from my husband and sons. I’ve just begun designing my third collection, Spring/Summer 2020. As for the possibility of a men’s line? My oldest son suggested we try boys’ button-downs with some of the prints, which I think is brilliant.

 

From the Spring/Summer 2019 Collection

Americana Skirt in Bones n Blooms, $118

 

Gallery Blazer, $228

 

Slipstream Dress in Music Print, $228

 

Gallery Pant, $222

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