NoMiNoU in the North Shore News

by Christine Lyon | North Shore News  |  December 12, 2014

Nomi pieces intended to motivate and uplift women

When her mother passed away, Jullianna Smith found her sketches everywhere.

Strewn about the home, inside the silverware drawer and underneath couch cushions, Smith discovered dozens of her “artistic hippie” mother’s whimsical and spiritual drawings.

“As soon as I saw these sketches I was immediately taken back to my childhood,” Smith says. To her, the images represented the freedom of a child sailing through life without inhibitions or social pressures.

“The one that spoke to me most was of a little girl with long, flowing blonde hair riding on the back of a condor,” she says. “That reminded me of myself as a little girl.”

Unearthing these illustrations inspired Smith to start a clothing line dedicated to motivating and empowering women through art. The brand name, Nomi Designs, is a fusion of her mother’s name, Naomi, and the words “know me.” Smith, a former North Vancouver resident now based in Tsawwassen, just released her first collection for spring 2015 and expects a larger fall collection and yoga line to be available in the new year.

The garments all feature her mother’s artwork, discretely hidden on linings, sleeve cuffs and under collars, paired with inspirational quotes by influential women. For example, Nomi’s signature piece, the tailored Jules blazer, is lined with fabric imprinted with the sketch of a girl perched atop an in-flight condor and superimposed with the words: “Cut not the wings of your dreams, for they are the heartbeat and the freedom of your soul.”

“I just wanted to bring this art into clothing and just sort of remind ourselves, as women, to be independent and unique,” Smith explains.

The just-released spring collection uses mainly organic fibres in natural tones such as ivory, stone and pale rose.

“I’m trying to go for sophistication with a whimsical, spiritual element,” Smith says. “You can be stylish, but still know in the back of your head there’s that little inner hippie child in you.”

Smith had an unorthodox upbringing, spending parts of her childhood living in teepees and school buses. The frequent moves helped her become independent, she says, and she would help her mother outfit their abodes with second-hand furniture she would find at garage sales and spruce up. The same was true of her wardrobe.

“I would find clothes and I would repurpose them and rework them, redesign them, that sort of thing.”

As an adult, Smith pursued a career in interior design and says that fashion has proven to be a natural extension of her creativity.

She hopes women who wear Nomi garments feel beautiful, inspired and original – no matter what life throws at them.

“If you need that little reminder, you just look down at your sleeve, look in the lining of your jacket,” she says. “I’m trying to give you some uniqueness and individuality by owning an original piece of art that you can wear.

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