Sandra Bell Wilkins has been creating clothing for profit since the age of nine. Fashion design was deemed a creative and lucrative hobby for a young woman, but everyone thought that music would provide a respectable future and it was music that provided a scholarship to University. When Sandra applied and ultimately arrived at University there was no question in her mind that Fashion was her ultimate passion.
After graduation from VCU in 1968, she freelanced in LA and worked as a sales manager for Bullock’s of Southern California to pay the bills. In 1977 she returned to her alma mater as a full-time graduate and teaching assistant in the Theatre Department and in 1978b became a full-time instructor in the Department of Fashion, promoted to assistant professor in 1985 and tenured professor in 1992.
In 1990, Ms. Wilkins ended her part-time pursuits of an MFA in Costume Design with only 8 credits and a thesis in the way of completion but vowed to resume her studies in the not so distant future.
In 1992 she was named interim chair of the VCU Fashion Department and remained in that position until 1996. It was that same year that Sandra traveled to Zimbabwe on a USAID grant to teach, consult and develop Fashion Programs for technical schools in Southern Africa, and in the fall semester of 1999 traveled to Qatar to head the Fashion program in the Shaqab College of Design Arts.
In 2002 Shaqab College officially became VCUQatar and in 2005, Sandra became the Chair of the Fashion Department.