“I’ve been fired for what I’ve worn before.” As we sat outside on what was bound to be one of the last few cold nights in Austin, Sara opened up to me about one of her past fleeting job experiences working as a restaurant hostess.  “I was working at this yuppie place in Bee Caves and I got fired because a Yelp review said I looked too goth” Sara explained while wearing a vintage black fur coat and smoking a cigarette.  Apparently the Yelper went into detail about what Sara had been wearing, which included what Sara could only describe to me now as “sort of a French school girl dress.” The dress still hangs in her closet today even though she hasn’t worn it since. “I still like it” she says.

Sara Cummings is the type of girl who no matter where you are, is always someone to notice.  Although she admittedly prefers to wear mostly black and be an observer of others, she herself along with her style is one that tends to be observed.  With her knuckles often made bloody from cheese grating her clothing, she makes it a point to only wear clothing with character.  Unashamedly a t-shirt and jeans lover, Sara takes this casual vibe and stylizes it further by literally grating her clothing to make it look more worn.  Something we probably all did during the 90s grunge trend, but something Sara still does today.

The 90s is a decade Sara seems to relate to the most with her style, perhaps because those years made up such a defining time period in her life.  Having dealt with death at a young age, her outlook now as someone in her 20s is one that maybe not everyone can relate to or understand.  When photographing Sara at her house I literally almost tripped on a coffin. If the thought of falling into a coffin doesn’t make you appreciate the life you have, I don’t know what will.  As a native Austinite, Sara’s definitely doing her part to keep things “weird.”

After being born in Austin, Sara’s family moved to West Texas where she stayed for 10 years, a decade she defines as a nightmare.  “In West Texas I was naturally kind of the weird one.  Coming back to Austin I felt at home.  People are just as weird as me.  I fit in here.  That helped me to be a little more ballsy with what I wear.”  Not only is she brave with her fashion choices, Sara also stands out amongst the crowd in her career.  Six months after starting hair school and at the age of 18, she began styling for Matrix working hair shows around Texas and went on to work for Propaganda and now is a freelance stylist on her own.  Sara was the only one in her school to graduate with an extensive portfolio of work, a difference she explains was due to her true passion.  “I wasn’t there because I tried to go to college and it didn’t work out and I had to choose something to get my parents off my back.  It was something that I was actually fully invested in and have always really loved.”

Although she is a creative and talented hair stylist, the way I was first introduced to Sara was through her modeling.  After being discovered one day by a fellow Austin creative at Spiderhouse, Sara began modeling more and more around Austin and quickly became the muse for the vintage boutique Laced with Romance.  Her petite boyish frame combined with her piercing eyes create interesting photographs that pull you in.  Of her modeling career, Sara says she never expected anything to come of it because she’s only 5’5″. “In the modeling world I’m old and I’m short” she says, but Sara still has a desire to try and get signed to an agency.

Sara is currently planning on moving to Los Angeles to pursue, among several things, her modeling career which she says she knows will not last forever.  “I have to try and do it while I still have the chance” she says.  When she’s not modeling or doing hair, you might find Sara on tour with her boyfriend Autry Fullbright, band member of “. . . And You Will Know Us By the Trail of Dead.”  Sara also has always had a fascination with mortuary science and says that eventually she would like to see herself styling hair not only for the living, but for the deceased as well.  “I’ve always been interested in that and felt it would be really fulfilling work. Work that I was proud of.  To give someone their last look.”

This black vintage fur coat from Laced with Romance Sara describes as the “cherry on top” of her winter uniform.

In her favorite rare vintage Nine Inch Nails t-shirt rom Dollface Vintage.

Cast of Vices leather hospital bracelets

Sara’s adorable kitty is named Lydia after the character from Beetlejuice.

Q&A with Sara:

How do you describe your personal style?

I’m kind of unashamed about repeating outfits. If I find something that fits really well and that fits my mood then I won’t resist wearing it a couple of times a week. I might be wearing the same shirt 5 days in a row.  I never like anything that’s too new or too clean.  And I like to wear a lot of black.  If I wear anything other than black I feel like a highlighter.  I like to feel like a shadow, just observing.

 

If you could style anyone’s hair, whose would you choose?

Bjork.

 

Any past style choices you are embarrassed by?

In high school I was really into crazy eyeliner and tons of hair extensions. It was my experimental phase.  Hopefully I deleted all trace of photos of that.

 

What’s the one thing you’ve had in your closet the longest?

I have a favorite pair of pants and the button actually comes completely off, so anytime I wash them or go to the bathroom I have to hold the button.  When I was at Fun Fun Fun Fest this year, I dropped the button in front of the port-a-potty and I had to get down and find it.  Also, my vintage black fur coat which was one of the first things I got from Laced with Romance.

 

Where are your favorite places to shop?

I do a lot of trades during shoots, like with Laced with Romance and Black Swan Theory.  But other than that I shop online a lot, which is risky for having an awkward size so if I find bottoms that fit me in a certain brand then I only order from that brand. I’m a big fan of dollskill.com, Unif, and then Nasty Gal every now and then.

 

What trend in Austin are you over? And what trends do you see taking off in the near future?

I’m over cut off shorts right now; they’re overdone.  I still wear a lot of high waisted stuff but I think I’m going to start phasing it out because I think ultra low waisted things are coming back. I can see Adidas snap down pants coming back actually, and I think thin spaghetti straps will be big this summer.

 

Joanna Wilkinson
keep austin stylish