Local Spotlight: Numari

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This week, CapFABB sat down with PR Director Kaitlynn Hendricks of local design house Numari to talk style and fashion.


CapFABB: How did you come up with the name Numari and what does it mean?
Numari: Numari is a mashup of an Indian word that means “wardrobe”, and an adaptation of the word “new.” We’ve put these concepts together in our creative inspiration for a “new wardrobe.” Our vision for this “new wardrobe” is not only the fun and freshness of having new garments, but in bringing an entirely new kind of garment — custom fit. Numari engages existing, coveted designer labels and brings their designs to the consumer with each garment custom-created to fit her body like a glove, and at the same price you’d find off the rack.

CapFABB: Have you always been interested in fashion?
Numari: Personally, it took me until years into adolesence to enjoy fashion, because it was such a struggle to find something that really fit and flattered me. My body didn’t fit into most of the clothes I tried. I often spent hours in the dressing room, fuming that I wasn’t “normal,” but that’s the thing. No one’s body is “normal.” Standard sizing and off-the-rack design is just that — standard, or generic. It took me time to find my voice and understand my body so that I knew what worked for my unique needs. Once I understood myself and how to better express my own point of view, I really fell in love with fashion, and its been my number one guilty pleasure ever since!
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CapFABB: What made you want to start your own line?
Numari: Our founders, Arti Anand and Komal Kushalraj developed the concept together through conversations about their love for fashion and experience with standard-sizing fit issues. The fit issues that come with standard-sizing are so rampant that they’re just expected — most women just deal with the frustration, or think there is something wrong with their body because there hasn’t been a good solution. Arti and Komal had the style and intellectual resources to address this huge problem which everyone can relate to, so they decided to do something about it. Now here we are with an amazing solution just a few months later!

CapFABB: What is your ultimate goal for Numari?
Numari: The grand vision is to provide the equivalent of a department store, but where every garment can be custom-created to fit each individual person. We have the system in place to do it, its just a matter of scaling up and engaging more designers to produce lines for us. Numari is also about innovation and thought leadership. We’ve paired our fashion brand with a digital online magazine, En Route, as a way to express our uniquely feminine voice that says you can be devastatingly gorgeous and smart at the same time.

CapFABB: What do you like most about being a designer in the DC area?
Numari: DC is a city of intellectuals and networkers — people who are incredibly resourceful and driven. Addressing problems and issues on a global-scale is commonplace. The creative class that exists here isn’t as well known as federal Washington, but the cross section of the two seems to be emerging more and more, especially in startups and local business. We’re taking on a HUGE issue. Amidst this growing energy, we’ve found a welcome springboard to launch NUMARI, both in behind-the-scenes business development and great initial clients.
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CapFABB: DC is not known for being a fashion capital, did you ever have any reservations about being based here?
 Numari: Absolutely not. Historically, I’d say that DC’s lack of fashion-savvy comes with its need to be taken professionally seriously. It seems as though in the past, people have been afraid that anything other than a bland suit and flats would make them seem vapid or maybe trail outside party-lines. My favorite part of the NUMARI brand is rejecting the false-dichotomy that says brains and beauty don’t go together. Being exceptionally well-dressed and styled is actually a huge professional and social advantage, and I think DC is learning to embrace the benefits of good style.

CapFABB: What are your thoughts on style in DC?
Numari: Fashion is about expressing a point of view, and in many ways, I’m not sure the District really knows itself. It’s an incredibly transient city, but it’s also an incredibly and internationally well-connected city. We have all kinds of amazing, global flavor coming in and out, but much less solidarity. Locally, a cohesive identity doesn’t get developed or expressed very well or often. DC has amazing elements to its culture, but it needs to develop its voice.

CapFABB: If you had to give one piece of fashion advice what would it be?
Numari: Fashion has an often subtly realized but very prevalent effect on everything else you do. Your clothes speak about who you think you are — what you’re doing, where you’re going. Being well put-together is often seen as vain, but for me, its a sign of respect for yourself, and for the people you represent and interact with.  A well-fitting garment, both in terms of design and actual fit, speaks volumes about all of these things without you ever having to say a word. Think about how it felt the last time you put on a new garment that was perfect for you and what you were doing. There is a surprising amount of power and joy in fashion. NUMARI wants women to take hold of that and wield it well. So we’re bringing them not just a new wardrobe, but  a new kind of wardrobe — custom fit.

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Spot On: Trendsetter Jewelry Designs

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Trendsetter Jewelry Designs takes pride in its its high quality jewelry that’s  handcrafted in the USA. Iris Perry, the designer, uses a variety of hand-selected natural gemstones, freshwater pearls, Swarovski crystals, copper, brass, and precious metals. Her jewelry is made with love, making you feel special by personalizing metal tags with “TJD by Iris” on each piece and supplying a label with the name of the piece and the material used to create it. Meet Iris Perry of Trendsetter Jewelry Designs.

Where do you get your inspiration?
I get my inspiration from nature, geometry, architecture, historical themes, emotions and everyday objects.

When and how did your company come to life?
In December 2008, I found out that I was going to be laid off.  In that same month, the company that I was working for had a craft show.  So, I decided to sell some jewelry pieces that I made. The following year in April, I started my company.

What’s your ultimate dream for your company?
My ultimate dream for my company is for it to be very profitable and for people to identify my jewelry on the street!

What do you sell?
I sell handcrafted fashion and artisan jewelry!

Where can I find your product?
I sell my jewelry online at www.trendsetterjewelrydesigns.com. I have some of my jewelry collection in the Magnolia Salon in Rockville, MD.  I encourage people to host home shows and do other types of shows throughout the DMV.

Interview conducted by Kristine Thomas, founder and owner of DewdropDC. Check out the blog here.

Lola Ro Jewelry: A contemporary and classic mix

Lola Ro inspires you to follow your dreams. On the road to getting her master’s degree, she decided to pursue her passion—creating jewelry. She now puts her energy into her business and dreams of making it big—real big. Have a look at her collection and see why she will succeed.

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Where do you get your inspiration?
My inspiration was derived from where I am originally from – Nigeria. I met my best friend there making jewelry as a hobby. Nigeria is known for its intricate and unique jewelry making techniques. I became fascinated by it and thought I could mix its traditional look with contemporary style to create one of a kind pieces. I decided to take a couple of classes from the local jewelry artisans in Lagos when I visited Nigeria for vacation. I got hooked and I have been making jewelry ever since. Other places I get my inspiration from are magazines, TV shows or fashion trends. The whole idea is to create one of a kind jewelry that creates a little drama and makes you look exotic and unique.

What do you sell?
I sell statement jewelry which includes unique necklaces, bracelets and earrings. I also make customized jewelry based on the customer’s specifications.

When and how did your company come to life?
After taking all my jewelry classes and at the same time preparing for my master’s degree, I felt comfortable with jewelry making. I decided to make my first collection of about six necklaces which I named “Asi-ko” (in Yoruba language, a tribe in Nigeria) which means “season” or “contemporary.” The understanding is that women select their attire and accessories based on the function or ASIKO, or season of the year. It could be for a wedding celebration, Thanksgiving holiday, and so on.

My friend encouraged me to sell my pieces to a boutique in Georgetown. So after some convincing, I made an appointment with the owner at Celine De Paris and he bought all my pieces. I was so excited and decided to pursue it as a business, which has been a great move for me!

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Designer duds for less: SNOBSWAP

Do you have a Louis Vuitton bag you want to swap or sell? Or are you looking for said bag but don’t want to pay full price? SNOBSWAP can certainly help you. This online site lets you swap, sell or shop for all things designer. Meet the dynamic duo behind this  online marketplace, sisters Elise Whang and Emily Dang.

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Where do you get your inspiration?
Elise:
I was on the hunt for the perfect pre-owned Chanel handbag that lasted for months and I found myself daydreaming about a website where I could swap the other purses in my collection for a Chanel bag. And that’s how SNOBSWAP got set in motion.

Emily: Elise told me about the concept of SNOBSWAP and I immediately signed on. The idea of an online marketplace to sell, swap or buy luxury designers for less is every woman’s dream come true. Most of our friends faced the same dilemma, a closet full of clothes and bags and nothing to wear.

When and how did your company come to life?
We debuted SNOBSWAP in beta to friends and family in 2011 and it has gone viral. We have thousands of members and fans so we thought it was time to celebrate and introduce SNOBSWAP to the larger public.

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