Norma Kamali is an icon.
Among her myriad of distinctions, the CFDA award-winner invented the sleeping bag coat, helped to popularize shoulder pads in 1980s women’s fashion, modest swimwear, and was the first designer to launch an eBay online shop.
Here, the pioneer discusses how taking passion-driven risks can lead to a fascinating life
Live The Process: What innovations in your lifetime have forever changed our approach to wellness?
Norma Kamali: One change is that there is an opportunity for more awareness due to the Internet. There is greater access to information regarding fitness and health, and this has helped grow and inform the wellness community.
LTP: Was there a specific event or person that inspired you to open The Wellness Café in your Midtown store?
NK: The inspiration for the Wellness Café came through an in-depth search for the best olive oils in the world. Olive oil can do so many things for health, wellness and personal care. It’s important to rethink what we use. With the Wellness café, we offer access to the purity and multi-functionality of timeless and modern products like olive oil, salt and tea, in addition to a variety of plant-based products.
LTP: What observations have shaped your philosophy about fitness as empowering for women?
NK: Clothes can make a woman feel good about herself and feel truly empowered. However, if you can take off your clothes and feel good, that raises the bar of self-esteem and empowerment. Exercise is the main practice for physical fitness, so it’s empowering to take care of yourself in order to feel good about who you are.
LTP: You have innovated so much in the fashion industry—from introducing iconic trends to launching the first eBay store. What is your advice for those who wish to grow their confidence and let go of reticence?
NK: You can’t convince people to take risks unless they feel a passion for something they have never done before. If you feel passionate about something, let your passion carry you through your fear. When you take risks, life is never boring!
LTP: What does happiness look like to you?
NK: Happiness is feeling like I have a purpose in this lifetime and seeing it come closer to realization.
LTP: What does it mean to you to "Live The Process" and how do you do that every day?
NK: The process is always as important as the motivation and the goal. The process can be painful, daunting and overwhelming, but oh so necessary.
I live it every day and still feel there is so much to learn.