I had the pleasure of visiting Norma Kamali’s showroom on a busy 56th Street last week on a beautiful afternoon. What struck me right away was the amount of influence and power that Norma holds today as a fashion icon. She literally invented the sweatshirt, the most comfortable garment on earth that is a cult-favorite post-1980 Flashdance, she now has a Wellness café, she is an extremely successful retailer, and continues to invent styles that women L-O-V-E.
I recalled from my past the sleeping bag coat, the high-heeled sneaker, clothing made from parachutes, and being solely responsible to taking that sweatshirt to the streets. Just kidding about that, but I literally had many of these. For those of you old enough to remember, here are some vintage press clippings from WWD 1980 and British Vogue 1981.
Norma is an innovator, not only through design, but the way she markets her business and sells her clothing She started her website in 1996, has been a retailer since 1967, and appeals to the every woman. For spring summer she has created a collection of stripes, polka dots, drop crotch sweats (my fav!) a line of OMO swimwear, KamaliKulture, and stand-alone basics that are classic, wearable, and on-point.
She has collaborated with brands such as Walmart, Everlast, and Spiegel without selling herself short. A true entrepreneur and free spirit, her business has three generations of women wearing her clothing.
The wellness cafe includes granola, kale salads, juices of all kinds, and hand-pressed olive oils that are so fragrant I bought a few to take home.
The more mass and digital our culture becomes, we are looking for a dose of provenance and thoughtfulness anywhere we can find it. Norma has created a home for her clients, and friends, and if you have never visited her shop you should check it out…you won’t be sorry!