Norma Kamali is ready for the day. Chicly dressed in a suit made of grey jersey, the designer has an energy and spirit remarkable for any woman—especially one who has been working in the New York fashion industry for 50 years.
Kamali describes the 1970s as “a time when fashion was at its most original… its most unique, stimulating and creative. When to walk through Central Park in the summer in a velvet dress was not an extraordinary thing!” She cites Cher as a huge influence on fashion, and comments, “This was when her passion for comfortable, sexy, modern clothing was born, [in] a timeless style that transcends fashion.”
While she designed the famous red bathing suit worn in the iconic 1976 Farrah Fawcett poster (the suit now belongs to the Smithsonian), her designs today can be seen on celebrities such as Miley Cyrus, whom she dressed for the European MTV Awards in a silver foil turtleneck dress, and Christina Aguilera, seen on The Voice in a pair of Kamali’s studded shorts, plus Debbie Harry, and Misty Copeland on the cover of ELLE South Africa. She is known for her innovation and her exceptional skill of producing classic designs that always seem modern.
The core of her affordable Kamali Kulture line is “dresses I designed in 1973 but in new types of fabric.” After working on a Univac computer at a job at Northwest Airlines in the 1960s, she foresaw the importance of technology in business and became the first designer to have an online store on eBay. Kamali now has a unique online service, where customers can “Try Before You Buy.”
There are comparisons with another great survivor in fashion history—Coco Chanel. Early on, they both used soft jersey, and today they are both still relevant and fashionable, 40 years later. And with her face framed by heavy bangs and glasses—like the French designer—Kamali understands how to make any woman feel fabulous.
Today, Kamali’s brand is based on every aspect of a woman’s life, from fitness, health, beauty, and style to entrepreneurship. This has now become the mantra of her company. Her belief in the strength of the internet, e-commerce and social media, and being able to directly communicate with her followers, is key to her day-to-day business. The future of the global, mobile connection to women around the world is an opportunity never seen before, and is perfect for her lifestyle concept.
“Empowering women through fitness, health, beauty, style, and entrepreneurship builds women who are invincible. A woman who is invincible will change the world.”