Sapulpa Native Selected as “Emerging Designer”

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Local business owner and clothing designer Sarah Shibley is seeing some hard-earned success after almost ten years of building, tweaking, and fully-revamping her brand. The Sapulpa native was recently selected as an “Emerging Designer” for Tulsa Fashion Week, a local live runway fashion show featuring the
latest trends in the industry.

LA9 Clothing is a unique women's wear line that was started by Sapulpa Native Sarah Shibley (Photo: Cayla Spears)
LA9 Clothing is a unique women’s wear line that was started by Sapulpa Native Sarah Shibley (Photo: Cayla Spears)

Shibley says she began designing clothing in 2006 while she was expecting her first child and couldn’t find soft and stretchy styles to accommodate a changing body. Over the next three years, she began perfecting the styles, fabrics and production of the process. In 2009, she hit pay dirt when she received her first shipment of Eve Tunics. LA9 officially began as a maternity brand and was selling in the finest maternity boutiques in the US, but that business model faltered heavily with the recession. Shibley says her customers and her photographer saved her idea from being a total bust. “they all told me that these were the only clothing they bought in maternity stores that they still loved to wear, long after they were pregnant,” she says. “It was my photographer who convinced me that I had something much bigger than a maternity brand. It was then that LA9 evolved from maternity into the women’s wear market.”

“The LA9 collection is comprised of six essential wardrobe staples that women love to wear everywhere from lounging around the house, to yoga, to work, and going out in the evenings,” she said. “I originally created the collection as loungewear, but my customers have shown me all the ways to wear it.  So, now I just ask, ‘How do you wear your LA9?'”

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As it turns out, a lot of different ways. LA9 is a very versatile, soft and comfortable clothing that transcends seasons and breaks boundaries of traditional wardrobe pieces. Shibley says it’s best described as “a lifestyle brand for women on the go. It is so nice to have clothing that can pull double duty for busy women.  Just change your shoes and you’re ready for whatever your day may bring.”

The collection, which can be purchased at Little Bit of Country/Sapulpa Mercantile at 124 E. Dewey, is seeing steady growth and repeat customers. Shibley attributes this at least partly to the fact that her garments are wholly Made in America. “Only 3% of clothing worn by Americans is actually made here. In order to improve this, it is imperative that people realize the value of their goods and begin to question what they support.”

Shibley says that it’s important for the community to know where their money is going and that it’s supporting a local business and family. “I am a hard-working busy wife and mom of 3 young boys. I have 2 jobs and a lot of nights I hardly have time to sleep,” she says.

She insists that being intentional about your purchases will make things better for everyone. “When you buy clothing you have a choice. You can go to the mall and purchase mass produced clothing made who-knows-where. If what you buy is imported, you are more than likely supporting deplorable working conditions and factory workers who aren’t even earning enough to eat.  You probably will not receive a good fit, and you’ll be lucky if what you buy lasts.

“But, if you choose LA9, you choose to support a local small business. You choose to help a local family, while supporting your community and an American industry.”