How an NYC fashion student spends her Sunday

Hollis Kolmansberger is a 21-year-old fashion student at FIT and designer of her brand By Hollis, which she started when she was 14 in Pennsylvania. 

"I write everything down, I'm a very visual person. So Sunday is my day to reset and write down, map out the week. I also kind of map out when I want to work out and what I want to do that week. Just to hold myself accountable for that."


"Of course, I have to mention Sunday is my Church day. I always watch services from my hometown church online. It's kind of always my priority. My Church has services all throughout the day so usually I watch at 10:45am, but since we got breakfast out today, I'm gonna watch a later one. So my new church is really like, for me, especially living in a crazy city, a way to keep my head on straight. And remind myself of my morals and how to react to a certain situation. In the life we live now, when someone wrongs you, people have the tendency to go and have a knee-jerk confrontational reaction, but that's only spreading more negativity. Church, for me is a great reminder of that and who I want to be. So that's why I watch it. 

And I continue to do it, even though I've left my hometown and now live in New York. What I really like about my church and the role that religion has had in my life is that my family has always made it clear that it's my decision. So they never baptized me when I was little, I decided to get baptized myself when I was 16 or 17. They literally bring a huge blow-up pool in the church and you write down why you're doing it. And that was right before I went to Portugal [for an exchange year], so I felt like it was a good time to cement who I am. This is what I believe, this is what I stand for.

Now I do struggle with the idea of a productive Sunday too because the Sabbath day is technically the day of rest. And in the Bible, God gives you Sunday to be your best day and to take one day without work. And I'm really bad with that. Because I still work. But I try to make it like enjoyable work. Yeah, I try to make it a little more enjoyable.


"It's not like I don't rest at all. I go through phases, but sometimes I really don't [rest]. But that's because at night when I go to bed, I love feeling so productive and I will be like, 'That was a productive great day'. And even when I do take like times to like rest, literally just sitting around doing nothing, I feel like I could have been doing other things. I have so many other ideas running through my head at all times. And I've ended up being more stressed out because I didn't try to do this other ideas.

And I've always been like that. So I kind of recognize that now. And sometimes I'll watch a movie, which I never used to do, but I've tried to do more of that this year, purely doing things for fun. And then while I'm doing that I'll work on other things, like research for my next collection, for school or for whatever. And I always just like go into bed and be like, wow, I got all this done. You know what I mean? So, on Sunday, I try to fit in the things that get my organized for the week alongside some fun thing. It's like a big planning, organizational, and skincare day.


Like this morning I woke up and I did face mask––I always like to do a face mask on Sundays. When I was in quarantine my boss now––I've known her for a long time, and she wasn't my boss at the time––she sent me this mini pack of face masks, so I do a new one each weekend. I've tried so many of these but I haven't landed on one that's my go-to. I'm better with other things. One of my must-haves is sunscreen––I use double SPF.

For beauty and skincare products, I always go to like The Detox Market on Houston. It's all clean beauty––I really try to use clean beauty products. That's for animal testing purposes, but also just for my skin––I have very sensitive skin. I usually use like the Lush coffee face mask, I was like a die hard for that. But then I learned that coffee can scratch with your face and cause micro-tears. I stopped using that, even though it always looked great for me, always worked, so I guess the micro tears worked for me! But it also clogs the drains. Too many cons to continue using it.

[EDITOR'S NOTE: As her former roommate, I appreciate her consideration for our drains]


"But just like my routine with sunscreen, I've always been very particular that, even on wild night, fun nights out, I always come home and I'm that girl that's like, 'Gotta take off all my makeup! I gotta do my routine!' Like, I know, people that don't, they just go to bed. [EDITOR'S NOTE: That would be me.] And I am very much a routine-type person.

The instant gratification of finishing my routine [keeps me with the habit]  You know what I mean? It's just how I function. I also feel like my brain is going like 50 miles a minute. All the time. Sometimes it's really great for me, and I'm happy I have a brain like that. Because it's how I can be creative in the field I'm pursuing and do well in school. Especially when I have conflicting priorities in one day, like work and school, it helps me to frame out my day and get everything done.


It doesn't matter where I am, I need to have a desk to be my safe space in a way, to work, to be creative, to put all my mood images everywhere. Any inspiration I get, like tear outs from magazines, a wrapper, anything, I put it up there. When I was in Italy, I had the cutest little desk area with all these tear-outs on the wall. My fashion school in Florence used to put old Vogue magazines and men's fashion magazines from the 60s in the library specifically for the students to pull out the pages. I would just go through them and tear stuff out, it was so fun.

I used to find graphics on little chocolates or little cute little napkins from cafes, and I really liked the font. So I'd pin those up on my mood board too––I've always really loved fonts.

Something I've been living by lately, and I was talking to my friend from home about this, is respecting my craft. This year, I had a really hard time with respecting myself as a designer with my talents and skills I'm learning at school and work. And I need to put it into practice, and not just sit around on my social media or something stupid for an hour or two. I need to like actually respect the time I'm putting into school and respect myself as a student. So in times where I'm just laying in bed, I'll tell myself, 'respect your craft', get going on what you're learning, you're putting time, money, all this stuff into your career. So respect that, and in a way I'm also respecting myself.


Whenever I feel overwhelmed with school and need to shut my brain, I do a couple things. I really like to go on walks outside, but to be honest I usually just go on my phone. I hate it. I'm trying to break that habit and read instead, but it can be easy to have an immediate brain-turn-off switch. But at the end of a social-media binge––I'd like to say it was 10 minutes, but it's usually more like an hour––I do it for entertainment but I feel gross afterwards. 

Every time I do it, I think in my head that I've probably wasted like 500 hours that I could have been doing something else. I always think about these Renaissance artists I learned about in Florence like Michelangelo, who did like all these crazy things when he was like, 16 to 21, some of his most famous pieces. And I'm like, 'No wonder you're so talented!' I mean, he's gifted, of course. But he also didn't have hours to waste on Instagram. I always think about like, imagine all the talent we could be brewing if it wasn't for that.

Every time I [go on social media], I think in my head that I've probably wasted like 500 hours that I could have been doing something else.

I do think it's great for some reasons, we're making connections, and especially for me in a creative industry, it was how you promoted yourself this year.  So I'm not a disser of social media. But I do think I need to be better at the balance and I think that's something that's not talked about enough. It's also because social media like generates so much money for companies––like if I I look at it as cigarettes, it'll probably be something we'll look back and realize,' Wow, I can't let people have free rein of that without warning them of mental health impacts.' I feel like it's a very dangerous thing that we don't realize. But that's what I try to keep in mind.


"I think I've just always been a very detailed person. In school, everyone kind of finds different things that describe them as designers. And for me, I'm a very detailed individual. And like, I focus on little details like finishing details. Like this... [Gestures to red finishing detail on her shirt] ...that you don't notice at first, but I've always thought it's really special when like you're wearing something and you secretly know the little attention to detail that's it. And then when someone else notices it, it's like a connecting point, I think.

As a kid, I used to collect rocks. It was like my big thing as a kid. I would collect all these rocks and shells and then put them together in a weird way––I can't even describe it. But it was like putting together a collection of random little trinkets––super simple things––but you put it together like a puzzle. You just feel like, 'this fits so well.' I feel like that's how I started doing mood boards, not necessarily with photos or on Pinterest. It was day-to-day collecting, putting it together, and just feeling like a little flutter like, 'Oh my gosh, I love this.' 

My grandpa was an auctioneer, so my mom grew up to auctions. They would auction off like such random, cool little things. When she was 10 years old, she bought these plates at auction with money she made doing odd jobs around the family farm. Eventually, she hung them in my room––there were so many pieces in our house that came from those auctions. We also would go to antique markets together. It was all about finding old treasures, reviving them in a new way, and piecing things together.
I feel like that's how I started doing mood boards, not necessarily with photos or on Pinterest. It was day-to-day collecting, putting it together, and just feeling like a little flutter like, 'Oh my gosh, I love this.' 

I feel like like I haven't nailed down my style yet. I feel like what I'm wearing doesn't represent who I am yet. But the funny thing is that, you'd think that if you had an unlimited budget––I definitely don't!––but you would know your style. Actually, I think the harder thing is to be a little more restricted and put things together––you have to be more creative. Honestly, it's more crafted, it's more special, and it's harder to do. So that's always how I go about my mood boards, piecing things together. It's easy to go out and just go to easy research from a huge database. But when you decide to pull things together from random sources, like the antique market or magazines, it makes your work more intentional. I actually have an old Mustang ad in my room––I love old cars.


"I feel like there's a connection to making up a physical mood board and like having a physical book––yeah, it's like a reminder of a self that exists not just in the digital world. If someone walked into your room, they would see all of these things little pieces put together, and it gives a little hint of who you are. I've never been a Kindle person. Like, I got a Kindle for Christmas one year and I've used it maybe four or five times. I need [a book] in my hands. I've always been very visual like that,I just need to turn the page how I want it and put my bookmark in, close it, and go back. 

I used to read a lot like as a kid, I used to love The Mysterious Benedict Society. I've been wanting to reread it just for kicks. I read a lot of mystery books––it's definitely my thing. I started my business I was 14, so I started reading Part of the Start and a lot of other entrepreneurial books, because that's how I learned at that age. My dad already had a lot of the entrepreneurship books, but I would also go to the library. And I would get my book, I would get my Sailor Moon DVD––I loved Sailor Moon.

Towards High School, all these books became required reading. One year we'd read 14 books and I thought it was fun. But I was the only person that read them, I swear. Like, all of them! There was a one where I didn't read the last 70 pages and I was mortified, but then at the end everyone was like 'Oh, we didn't read any of them.' I'm such a rule follower. I wish i could break that because I love when you meet people that just don't care, I need a little bit more of that in my life, because if you tell me to do something, I have to get it done, or I get anxious, unfortunately.

Right now, I'm reading so many case studies for my law class, and my textile classes have these huge textbooks on textiles and sourcing––it's all interesting, but it's all nonfiction. I used to be more of a fiction gal, and I'd love to get back into it, but it feels like school takes up all of my time and allotted brain space for reading.

1 comment

First blog post I have read in awhile. Fun to read! Thank you for sharing!

Marisol Regalado September 12, 2021

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