021021_MNS_Biden_fashion Jill Biden

Jill Biden, wearing an outfit and mask designed by Jonathan Cohen Studio, attends the ceremony honoring the 400,000 Americans who have died of COVID-19 in the past year.

When Jill Biden arrived in Washington with her husband Joe on Jan. 19, the day before his presidential inauguration, she was wearing an outfit and mask designed by a company founded by an Atlanta International School graduate.

Sarah Leff, a 2005 graduate of the Buckhead school, is the co-founder and CEO of Jonathan Cohen Studio, a New York-based fashion house. Biden wore the outfit and mask both when her family got to Washington and later in the day during a ceremony honoring the 400,000 Americans who have died of COVID-19 in the past year.

“It’s a great honor,” Leff said. “It was very exciting for both Jonathan and myself.”

Biden wore a purple paneled dress and wrap coat that are both part of the company’s fall 2021 collection “that will be going to market in the coming weeks,” Leff said, adding it believes in sustainability by upcycling its old fabrics into new products.

“(The outfit and mask) were made in New York,” she said. “We do manufacturing and development in New York. The lining of the coat is from (the company’s) past seasons and the mask is made from fabric remnants.”

Leff has a bachelor’s degree in strategic design and management from Parsons School of Design and a master’s degree in luxury education at Columbia Business School, both in New York. While at Parsons, she met Cohen, and they started formulating ideas for what would become Jonathan Cohen Studio, which launched in 2011. Today Leff is in charge of the brand’s operational and commercial side.

“We are so thrilled for Sarah that she has been recognized in this way,” Atlanta International Head of School Kevin Glass said in a news release. “She has always been very generous with her time, returning to AIS to share her experience of the design industry, startups and growing a business whilst staying true to your beliefs. She is a great inspiration to our students, and we are so proud of all she has achieved.”

Leff said Atlanta International prepared her well for college and a career in the fashion industry.

“I think during my time at AIS, I learned early what I wanted to do with my passion for entrepreneurship,” she said. “My (journey) to New York led to that, through my internships and experiences in New York.”

Of the exposure her company received from Biden’s outfit and mask, Leff said, “It’s been a great experience. It’s very important for us to learn about the women who wear Jonathan Cohen, and she is a Jonathan Cohen woman.”

Support Local Journalism

Now, more than ever, residents need trustworthy reporting—but good journalism isn’t free. Please support us by purchasing a digital subscription. Your subscription will allow you unlimited access to important local news stories. Our mission is to keep our community informed and we appreciate your support.


(0) comments

Welcome to the discussion.

Keep it Clean. Please avoid obscene, vulgar, lewd, racist or sexually-oriented language.
Don't Threaten. Threats of harming another person will not be tolerated.
Be Truthful. Don't knowingly lie about anyone or anything.
Be Nice. No racism, sexism or any sort of -ism that is degrading to another person.
Be Proactive. Use the 'Report' link on each comment to let us know of abusive posts.
Share with Us. We'd love to hear eyewitness accounts, the history behind an article.