Norma Kamali is a fashion designer with over 50 years of longevity in the industry. Kamali named her company OMO (On My Own) and as a high schooler forced to wear a uniform that name represented fashion, entrepreneurship, independence, and innovation.
If you are not familiar with her work, Kamali is known for creating the “sleeping bag” coat, using silk parachutes to make garments, and is the OG of athleisure. In my senior year of high school, I had the opportunity to buy a Norma Kamali bathing suit. I wanted to be closer to the designer and hoped that a bit of OMO would rub off on me. I drove myself to Bloomingdale’s in White Plains and, feeling both fashionable and grown-up, made my purchase, took home the bathing suit, and proceed to never wear it. (In retrospect, I understand why I couldn’t bring myself to wear it, but that’s a post for another day.) I loved that bathing suit and had it for many years.
Kamali has incredible longevity in an industry that relies newness. Her industry awards include a plaque on the Fashion Walk of Fame in Manhattan, a CFDA Board of Directors Special Tribute Award, and the CFDA Geoffrey Beene Lifetime Achievement Award in 2016. In the last decade, Kamali has expanded her sphere of influence to health and wellness. Late last year, she wrote I Am Invincible and shares her philosophy on life and longevity through personal stories across the decades of her life. It’s a great read that is part biography and part wellness tips. At 76 Kamali is an excellent example of constant personal and professional evolution.
My beloved Norma Kamali bathing suit is long gone, but I Am Invincible is a keeper.
(Author’s Note: I unsuccessfully searched online to find a picture of the bathing suit. If anyone out there knows the one I’m referring to please write to me)
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