From L to R: With Annie; with¬†Jessica; Melini
“How did you come up with names for the designs?”¬† That’s a question I’ve been asked¬†several times.
When¬†the¬†design prototypes¬†were finalized¬†and it was time to give a name to each style, the first names¬†that came to my mind were the names of¬†long-time friends¬†of mine¬†who are passionate about movement, and have been extremely generous in providing input, comments and suggestions all along.
Annie¬†and¬†I¬†met through dance club in secondary school, where we¬†shared the same crazy enthusiasm over Chinese dance.¬† Annie’s now ¬†into pilates.¬† She has¬†always¬†been¬†my go-to person for a candid opinion on anything from styles and colors, to business ideas.¬† Annie loves halters, so the first halter in the collection was named after her.
Jessica¬†is another dance fanatic¬†I¬†met through¬†dance club.¬†¬†She still attends ballet classes today.¬† Always¬†thoughtful and infinitely patient,¬†Jessica¬†endured¬†countless versions of my drafts¬†in¬†the planning stages and¬†provided invaluable feedback.¬† ¬†The cami with the cute ruched front¬†is named after her, not least for her unwavering support.
Melini¬†and¬†I met in¬†business school.¬† We bonded over job recruiting,¬†and share similar¬†interests in¬†dance and movement.¬† Yoga,¬†pilates, dance–she does them all with finesse.¬† Feedback, suggestions,¬†thoughts–she has given me more than I can thank her for.¬†¬†When it came to naming¬†the cami with the dance-inspired scoop back, Mel naturally came to mind.
And there you have it: Annie Halter, Jess Cami, and Mel Cami.
Om Republic is the coming together of¬†my interests in¬†yoga, dance, art, and design.¬† One of the¬†best things about¬†designing a line of apparel centered around my interest in movement is that work never really feels like work.¬† Here’s a¬†look¬†at what goes on during part of the design process.
When I receive¬†the fitting samples, one of the first things I do is to put them through a wear test.¬†¬†The¬†garments have to look good, feel good and allow a full range of motion.¬† Forward bends, twists, backbends, inversions–you name it.¬† It’s quite a lot¬†of work to put every design through these stress (and stretch) tests, but it’s also a lot of fun.¬† Of course,¬†a side benefit¬†is that¬†it helps me get better at¬†the yoga asanas.¬† But¬†the most rewarding part is, tweaking and refining a style such¬†that not only does it have¬†a¬†distinct design element, it’s comfortable to wear¬†and¬†provides freedom of movement.
When you browse our online store, you’ll notice that about one-third of our collection¬†is distinguished by subtle Oriental styling.¬†¬†We’ve gotten a lot of flattering feedback on these¬†Eastern touches from our customers and friends (thank you all!), so I wanted to share where the inspiration comes from.
It’s Chinese classical dance–the sights, sounds and silhouettes that I grew up with.¬† And what is Chinese classical dance?¬† I don’t think I can do it enough justice by summarizing it in a sentence, but here’s a¬†photo that¬†provides a sampling.¬†¬†Titled Moon Night, this is¬†a dance that I performed in many, many years¬†ago–at age 15.¬† The set was sublimely beautiful, the music liltingly lyrical, and¬†the steps¬†expertly choreographed like a seamless wave.¬† When I started sketching the designs for the first Om Republic collection, memories from my growing up years as a dance student naturally came flooding back.¬† The result?¬† Several styles that were inspired by the¬†essence and¬†fluidity¬†Chinese classical dance.
p.s.¬†… and in¬†case you’re wondering, that’s me in the front row, leftmost, in a backbend.