Style Speaks its Mind – Georgia Straight Article

by Stephanie Hood on April 8th, 2015

To NOMI is to know you—this is the motto of NOMI Designs, a Vancouver brand whose spring 2015 debut collection fuses the inner hippie with an outer modern, clean silhouette. Created by Jullianna Smith, NOMI Designs pays homage to Smith’s mother, Naomi, who lived a passionate, unorthodox life that she captured in her artwork.

“My mom was beautiful, first and foremost. She was so original in her style and her flair for life. She was certainly a hippie, and she was an artist,” Smith tells the Straight during an interview at the OPUS Vancouver hotel in Yaletown. Having been raised in an unconventional style, Smith reflects on living in tepees and school buses in Yahk, B.C., and how she turned to a more mainstream lifestyle when she reached her late 20s, only to find it lacking.

“I couldn’t really figure out why life wasn’t working for me; it wasn’t going the way that I thought it should,” Smith, a former interior designer who had no fashion experience before creating NOMI, recalls. “I wanted to fall back into a time and a place where I was free and secure, with no inhibitions.”

When Smith’s mother passed away, numerous pieces of artwork were unearthed in her home.

“They were under couch cushions, they were in the silverware drawer… They were in all the most bizarre places,” Smith says. “It was almost like these were little secret drawings to herself to maybe bring back a time that she was happy in.” Because Smith herself was seeking the same simplicity, the sketches inspired her to go back to her roots and create a fashion line that communicates the message of individual beauty her mother so passionately believed in.

The collection ($86 to $249) includes knitwear, woven tops, tailored pants, blazers, and shorts, and has a light and free aesthetic, with neutral tones such as ivory, blush, and stone grey. Each piece is named after an inspirational woman in Smith’s life and many feature an inspirational quote from an influential female, to serve as a reminder to the wearer of her own strengths and individuality. The lining of the tailored Jules blazer ($249) features a scrolling bird sketch by Naomi that reminded Smith of herself as a child, soaring through life with no inhibitions. It’s paired with the quote “cut not the wings of your dreams, for they are the heartbeat and freedom of your soul.” Matching shorts are available for $112.

Another highlight is the Mel tank ($86), a racerback with adjustable straps that features the words “she moves through life with ease and integrity; whole, complete and perfect” and a drawing depicting the tree of life with a figure draped beautifully over the top. The brand’s name, NOMI, is a fusion of Smith’s mother’s name and the phrase “know me,” which to Smith means “know me as a strong, independent woman.”

Smith’s goal is to inspire pride in individuality, offering the wearer a chance for to “be fashionable, by virtue of being beautiful in [fusion_builder_container hundred_percent=”yes” overflow=”visible”][fusion_builder_row][fusion_builder_column type=”1_1″ background_position=”left top” background_color=”” border_size=”” border_color=”” border_style=”solid” spacing=”yes” background_image=”” background_repeat=”no-repeat” padding=”” margin_top=”0px” margin_bottom=”0px” class=”” id=”” animation_type=”” animation_speed=”0.3″ animation_direction=”left” hide_on_mobile=”no” center_content=”no” min_height=”none”][her] own essence”. She wants the quality of the garments to reflect the quality of the women the line represents, and uses high-end silk, linen, and Tencel for the pieces, which are all manufactured locally and sold at

“I don’t ever want them [her designs] to be mass-produced; I will never sell out,” Smith says. “To me, the number one important thing is that the message and the art is out there, and number two is that it’s quality. It’s quality that’s going to last, just like strong women.”

By Georgia Straight[/fusion_builder_column][/fusion_builder_row][/fusion_builder_container]