Sherri Hill started working for 12 years as a designer for Jovani Fashions, helping launch the brand. She eventually left Jovani in 2008 to begin her own evening gown line under the name Sherri Hill, Inc. which now has a network of over 800 stores.
Now arguably one of the most famous Pageant and Prom dress designers, Sherri Hill has been working in the industry for several years. Her New York fashion week debut happened in 2011, where Kendall Jenner walked her first runway walk, starting Kendall's career!
Following the runway show, Kendall expressed her excitement by tweeting "OMGGGG just finished my first ever runway show for @sherrihill!!! #amazing #imaddictedtorunway!"
World-famous model, Carmen Dell’Orefice also walked the 2011 Sherri Hill runway as well as Miss China 2011 Luo Zilin, and Miss USA 2011 Alyssa Campanella!
In September 2012, Sherri Hill announced her Spring 2013 collection at New York Fashion Week was, Miss Universe 2008 Dayana Mendoza modeled Sherri Hill's new collection!
At the February 2016 NYFW show, Sherri had Miss Universe 2015, Pia Alonzo Wurtzbach walk the runway in her design.
Sherri Hill's Story
Hill was born Sherri Branum. Her parents are James and Roberta Branum. Growing up, Hill's parents owned local general stores around the Minco, Oklahoma area selling everything from fabric and clothing to shampoo, candy and school supplies.
At the age of eight, Hill was given the opportunity to work part-time in the family store alongside her older sisters.
The family business sold colorful fabric that sparked Hill’s interest in fashion. She enjoyed selecting merchandise for the stores, then was drawn to the creative aspect of design.
Hill’s first ever design was an apron elementary school project. In an interview with Upscale Living Magazine, Hill said of the project, “I was disgusted because I wanted to make something glamorous. I thought, “Who wears an apron!”
She was eventually allowed to “dress” the four mannequins in the store’s front windows by draping yards of fabric around each of them.
After graduating from high school, Hill went to study fashion design at the University of Oklahoma. During this time, her family opened stores in Norman and Oklahoma City where they focused on women’s clothing and evening wear. Hill also began designing her own line of evening gowns.
After graduating from the University of Oklahoma, Hill worked for various manufacturers in the evening wear business. For 12 years, she worked as the chief designer for Jovani Fashions, helping launch the brand. During this time, she started gaining recognition in the pageant world when various Miss America, Miss USA and Miss Universe contestants won in the gowns she designed.
Some early winners to wear her designs include Jennifer Berry, Miss America 2006. She wore a white gown with a v-neckline and a semi-sheer bodice encrusted in crystals. Miss America 2007, Lauren Nelson, also won in Sherri Hill.
In 2008, Hill left Jovani to begin her own evening gown line, along with her family, under the name Sherri Hill, Inc.
The brand quickly became known for the meticulous attention to detail in each design, with the selection of beautiful fabrics and trimmings combined with innovative combinations of cuts that accentuate the best features of every woman.
When asked what makes a quality article of clothing, Hill responded, “Fabric is, of course, important, but pattern making and construction must be done by the finest skilled artisans.”
In 2011, Sherri Hill debuted at New York Fashion Week in the Trump Tower. Since then she has shown collections at every Fall and Spring New York Fashion Week.
This was Kendall Jenner's first runway show, giving Jenner her big break. Jenner walked for the first time alongside her sister, Kylie Jenner, and fellow budding model Hailey Baldwin in Hill's flowy, embellished gowns.
Hill appeared on Season six episode two of Keeping Up with the Kardashians where they show Jenner hired to walk her first New York Fashion Week. World-famous model, Carmen Dell’Orefice also walked the 2011 Sherri Hill runway as well as Miss China 2011, Luo Zilin, and Miss USA 2011, Alyssa Campanella.
At the 2013 New York Fashion Week, Sherri Hill held an 'Evening By Sherri Hill' show at the Trump Tower. Hill debuted her new prom and couture collections in front of several celebrities, including the Duck Dynasty family. Sadie Robertson, the 16-year-old daughter of Willie Robertson of Duck Commander, walked in the runway show modelling the 'Sadie Robertson Live Original' range.
At the February 2016 New York Fashion Week, Sherri Hill's show was held at Gotham Hall and in addition to Sadie Robertson, she had Miss Universe 2015, Pia Wurtzbach, walk the runway.
When asked what goes into preparing for a fashion shoot or runway shows, Hill said, “We choose the garments to be shown, find accessories, choose the location, models to suite the mood of the garments. Our photographers, Fadil Berisha is very involved in this process.”
Speaking to her process of choosing models for her shows, Hill said, “I choose models who are able to show joy. I never choose models who look hungry or miserable. My clothes are for special occasions where women are usually celebrating.”
In recent years, Hill has joined some of the biggest systems as the official evening gown designer.
In 2010, the Miss USA prize package included an evening gown wardrobe sponsored by Sherri Hill. Hill has sponsored the pageant ever since.
This year, every contestant at Miss Teen USA and Miss USA 2019 visited the Sherri Hill headquarters to pick the evening gown they would wear in the national competition. In addition to evening gowns, the opening number outfits for Miss Teen USA, Miss USA and Miss Universe pageants are also sponsored by Sherri Hill.
In 2015, Hill was announced as the official evening gown sponsor for the 2016 Miss America Pageant.
Then Executive Chairman and CEO of the Miss America Organization, Sam Haskell, was quoted as saying that Sherri Hill dresses are "synonymous with class and style."
On August 9, 2018, the new Miss America 2.0 announced a new three-year partnership with Sherri Hill to, “embrace the first class of Miss America 2.0 and welcome those young women who will be part of Miss America up through the organization’s 100th anniversary.”
The release went on to state, “Miss Americas 2019, 2020 and 2021 will be wearing Sherri Hill gowns throughout their Year of Service as they travel the country and the world to advance their social impact initiatives as well as serve as the national ambassador for Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals.”
Today, the business has a network of over 1,000 stores selling the brand in over 52 countries.
In 2017, Sherri Hill headquarters moved to a sleek space in downtown Austin, Texas. The Hill’s also maintain a dress design studio and showroom in Atlanta, Georgia.
Her designs reach far beyond the pageant stage. She also has lines for prom, homecoming and special occasions.
When asked to define the style of her line, Hill said, “My line is all special occasions, from prom to wedding, to red carpet events. We do gowns for the special events in a woman’s life. Our line is designed to celebrate the moment.”
Celebrities including Selena Gomez, Carrie Underwood, Miranda Lambert, Zendaya, Ariana Grande, Gabby Douglas, Fifth Harmony, Bella Thorne, Tamar Braxton and Ryan Newman have worn Hill’s designs for various red carpet, charity and social events.