Designer Ola Omami of OmamiMini, a new brand we are carrying this season, took some time out of her busy schedule to chat with us about why she launched OmamiMini, the line’s fall 2014 collection, & her views on children’s fashion. Enjoy!
1. We are excited to be carrying OmamiMini this fall! How would you describe the brand & its spirit?
We believe children’s clothes should not be very different from what we, parents, consider stylish and would wear ourselves. Kids are cute enough naturally, so there’s no need to add extra cuteness through clothing. And since I personally like all things simple and precise, I strive to make our garments very uncomplicated, but awesome.
2. You worked in interior design before launching OmamiMini. Why did you decide to shift gears and start your own children’s line?
When my daughter was born and I couldn’t find clothes for her (everything was so pink and cute I ended up buying half of her layette in boys’ sections) I decided to try and do it myself. I asked Natasha, a friend of mine and genius graphic designer who worked for Metropolitan Museum of Art at the time, to help me with logo and she got so excited about the idea that we ended up working together on the first collection and do it ever since.
3. Are there any similarities between designing an interior space and a children’s line, or they completely separate?
I think any design process is similar in a way. You have your general aesthetic vision, a concept for a particular project or collection you’re working on and the biggest chunk of work is always the technical details. In all cases, the design is turning something that exists in your head into something you can hold in your hands and it’s equally magical in all fields.
4. What has been your favorite part of designing children’s apparel?
The fact I can dress my daughter exactly the way I want to!
5. Walk us through your design process. How (or where) do you find inspiration before you begin a collection? Does sunny Los Angeles influence your design aesthetic?
We start with a general concept and color palette, working in tandem on developing prints and patterns. Since we’re a bi-coastal duo (Natasha is in NY), we exchange hundreds of emails with ideas, links to inspiring pictures, fill up Pinterest boards, and text each other little schematic drawings when all else fails. Los Angeles is a major source of inspiration to me – most of all that feeling of permanent vacation that is so easy to tune into with this perfect weather year round.
6. Your entire collection is designed & manufactured in LA. How important is it that you keep production close to home?
Very! The first aspect of it is practical – I have to overlook every step of the production process to make sure everything is made in according to our specifications and standards. I also believe that we have to give back to the city we live in. In our case, we do so by creating jobs and using local resources when it comes to every single detail of our garments, from zippers to labels. This is a great way to become a true part of the community. It might not be the most business driven decision, but it just feels right.
7. On your website, you say that a “wardrobe is not the most important thing in life. But the right clothes just make it way more pleasant. And fun.” Do you have a particular philosophy on how children should dress?
First of all, children should never sacrifice comfort for fashion. Second, there’s no reason for comfortable everyday clothes to be boring! I think parents job, among 10,000 other things, is to plant seeds of good taste and personality and one way to do it is through the way we dress our kids.
8. What other brands does your daughter wear?
Honestly, hardly any. We do have to get the shoes elsewhere though and I love the simple sandals by another LA based brand, Zuzii, as well as amazing Italian brand Pepe and French Pom D’Api. In general, I tend to like European labels – they always have such an elegant, timeless appeal.
10. Are there any fall trends that you are particularly fond of? What pieces from your fall collection at Estella are you most excited about?
I’m a true purist at heart and could just wear grey on grey all day, so I love the variety of textures this season brings – all the furs, chunky knits, and quilted details are great for mixing and matching even if you stay within a very minimal color palette.
I absolutely love our faux leather leggings with lining. It’s a very simple item that takes any outfit to another level without trying too much. The silver chinchilla fur coat is another favorite. The fur is super soft and print of dots and cats on the lining adds even more fun to this stunning piece.
11. Do you have any fashion advice or stylish tips you could give to our readers?
Never underestimate the power of accessories! There are not so many children would agree to, but think suspenders for boys or little scarf and hat for girls do wonders to upgrade any look.
Thanks so much, Ola!