Girl on the Up – Luri and Wilma Feature
“To become the person you strive to be you must first accept the true person you are and from where you originate.”
— Julianna Smith
When we were introduced to Julianna Smith, we couldn’t help but be inspired by her as a person and what she stands for in the creative world. During a period of her life where most of us would find it difficult to move on, Julianna had an epiphany and decided to dedicate her creativity to uplifting others through designing clothing. Her clothing brand NOMI, a combination of her late mother’s name (Naomi) and the phrase “know me,” uses original designs incorporating her mother’s artwork as well as inspirational messages to its consumers. After discovering her mother’s art work, Julianna’s movement has quickly resonated with women everywhere. It’s like the NOMI brand says, “NOMI is to know you.” We caught up with Julianna to discuss her creative origins, her inspirations and how she turned a difficult moment in her life into a positive movement.
l&w: Tell our readers a little about yourself…
JS: My pleasure, I was raised by a ‘hippie’ mother who was an artist in every sense of the word; talented, openly passionate yet transient, eclectic and unorthodox. Through a diverse childhood of constantly moving and evolving I lived a life surrounded by art and the very passionate people who created it. This proved to be a significant influence of how I have lived my life. I have led a life full of love surrounded by my children and husband, tons of world travel, I became an interior designer and now am founding a fashion line. I truly am living my passion!
l&w: You often describe your up-bringing as “uncoventional” because of your artist- mother. As a young woman, what lessons did her lifestyle teach you?
JS: As a child I certainly learned to adapt and make the best of any situation I found myself in. To see beauty in all aspects of life and to evolve with my surroundings. To create and to transform the ordinary into something extraordinary was something I was taught from day one. As an adult, I resisted her unconventional outlook and chose to forge a more mainstream lifestyle, but felt not quite whole. Not until I learned to recognize and embrace how deeply my mother’s traits influenced me and through acceptance of it, I found peace and felt free of all self-doubt.
l&w: We know that you come from a background in interior design and ran a successful firm. How did you get started with that?
JS: That career choice was a natural one for me and was certainly the result of our constant moving. As the child of a transient artist and at a very young age I was tasked with setting up our home. Our “ homes” by the way were sometimes in the form of converted school buses, tee pees, small shacks with no electricity or running water while at other time beautiful sprawling hunting lodges and farm houses. I enjoyed decorating our homes no matter what they were.
l&w: Many of us have events in our lives that transform us. The passing of your mother, Naomi and the discovery of her artwork was that for you. If you don’t mind, can you share what you felt when you discovered her hidden artwork? Do you remember what exactly from this discovery sparked the idea to start NOMI?
JS: Yes, after my mother’s passing I discovered many of her original works of art, uncovering many memories of my past. While taking in the beauty of her whimsical, yet spiritual sketches I began to see aspects within my mother’s creations that embodied many of my own distinct traits and those of women in my life. One example of this is upon discovering the image I named after myself (The Jules) which is of a young girl riding on the back of a flying condor with her blonde hair flowing and an expression of pure peace on her face. I was immediately transposed back into a time of my childhood, free of all self-doubt and restrictions. This in turn sent me on a cathartic journey of self-awareness and acceptance which I manifested into my passion of fashion hoping to give all women the opportunity to proudly portray their sense of self-acceptance and originality through this medium. To literally wear their hearts on their sleeves.
l&w: Who is the NOMI woman? What should she take away from wearing your designs? What do you want her to know about your mother’s art?
JS: NOMI aims to uplift women in their everyday lives. To inspire pride in their individuality and make them feel beautiful in their own essence. The Nomi woman wants to stand proud of their originality and celebrate that little inner hippie in an artisan approach juxtaposed into contemporary sophisticated fashion.
l&w: Starting NOMI based on conventions to empower and uplift women, have you discovered something new about yourself as a person?
JS: I sure have, I have learned that fashion should be as original as we are as women. Not to follow trends or fall into that mass produced cookie cutter look.
l&w: What inspires you now as a clothing designer?
JS: My mother’s art continues to inspire me. I have so many images that I want to transpose into clothing, enough to keep me going for a lifetime! I am currently using some unseen images in a yoga line launching this spring, others in a gorgeous Fall 16 line and hope to expand more of her art images into a men’s wear line as well as child’s wear line.
l&w: Do you have any advice for may be in a state of transition in life, business, etc?
JS: Nomi’s mantra is to “be beautiful by virtue of being fashionable in your own essence”. I believe when you accept your originality and stand proud in your individuality you will transition with ease into any circumstance.