With an industry filled with countless creative minds and endless inspiration, it’s not nor surprising or unusual to recall the work of designer Norma Kamali — the mastermind who has consistently influenced fashion with her innovative concepts and multiple of dominate trends.
The sleeping bag coat to the prominent high-heeled sneaker is some of many of her creative inventions that have contributed to her iconic disposition. Having formed clothing constructed from sweatshirt fleece fabric, she introduced a way for the modern woman to illustrate style while wearing comfortable attire —something that has been a predominant motive for women everywhere.
It was in 1968, when the designer opened her first boutique in her native hometown of New York where her earliest designs were showcased, including detailed appliqués, snakeskin, patches constructed of lizard and leather and t-shirts embellished with rhinestone studs. A year later both her boutique and creations were featured and covered editorially in the likes of Harper’s Bazaar and Vogue. The same year was intertwined with her invention of America’s fashionably popular garment, “Hot Pants”.
Only the biggest influencers are able to design collaborative masstige lines with world-renown retailers — reasoning as to why Kamali was sought after by Walmart, Everlast and Spiegal.
Being immersed in retail since 1967, Norma does and continues to market and sell her clothing in the most innovative ways. In conjunction with her flagship store in New York, barcodes can be scanned to shop from window and in-store displays. As an alternative to using standard mannequins for visual purposes, 8-foot cutouts of models wearing her latest collections captivate the eyes of shoppers that parade throughout the location.
Today the designer taps into offerings from the past that make up her influential designs. Her spring 2013 ready to wear makes use of hand-crocheted Brazilian lace that has spent years sitting in her closet. Her early uses of appliqué’s make for a recurring appearance, contributing as the trim on raw denim jeans and its jacket companion. Not to mention her obsession of decorative studs on jersey fabric are seen again. “This collection is my fresh take on what I did back in the day”, says Kamali” as quoted in September’s runway feature for WWD.
Keeping the designer as relevant as she is, musical Icon Rihanna has been spotted on several occasions this year wearing everything from a sheer panel Kamali swimsuit while on a January vacation in Hawaii to her February 54th Annual Grammy’s performance wearing a mesh bodysuit. In August, she fashioned her summer performance in Osaka, Japan wearing a dark gold lamé skirt from Kamali’s Wrap And Tie collection.
A firm believer in fitness and desire to empower women with her informative finds, she remains a contributor to the Huffington Post as well as Elle and More.Com while running a Wellness Café from her flagship store. In her past September 11th “Hey Baby” write-up on Huffington post she expresses:
“A designer hopes to make women feel good and empower them in the clothes they wear. We are successful for the most part in the pursuit of uplifting women. However, we realize the clothes can only do so much, and can’t empower a woman when she is undressed or not feeling good about herself.”
Norma Kamali is a celebrated designer, a winner of various awards and achievements, including a 1999 Pencil Award for her notable commitment to New York City Public School Education and WWD’s 2010 honoring as one of 100 designers who shaped fashion. Her commitment to invent, inspire and evolve as a fashion mogul are proof that she exhibits natural and well deserved staying power as a leading, accomplished woman in business.