Kamila Dmowska

2.Kamila

Often times, it seems the simplest wardrobe needs yield the largest dressing challenge. This became apparent to Kamila Dmowska, who saw a scarcity in what fashion had to offer to those of us who just need a simple dress for that event we’re attending at the end of the month, or maybe just want to throw something on for a lunch meeting and feel put-together. Seeking to fill this gap with superior offerings in straightforward, everyday dresses, Kamila launched her own line, thus bringing those moments spent standing in a closet full of clothes, yet finding nothing to wear, to a merciful end.

American-made, manufactured in New York’s Garment District, but based on the steeply inclined streets of San Francisco, Kamila’s line is born of the firm belief that a classic, sophisticated dress for all occasions shouldn’t be hard to find. Her very versatile dresses are the epitome of desk-to-dinner and work-to-weekend outfitting. Kamila describes her dresses simply as, “for the woman who leads a quality life.”

As if this simple concept wasn’t enough, Kamila also sought to maintain exceptional standards of quality without unnecessarily over-charging her loyal following of discerning clientele.

How does she do it? For starters, her brand is available solely online, doing away with the overhead costs tied to retail spaces. Kamila has also managed to grasp the not-so-complex concept that seems to elude so many other designers: there are areas in which to save, and areas in which it is appropriate and worthwhile to spend. Material is one of the areas in which spending is justified. Fabrics include hand-made silks and original patterns, and are sourced from Italy and New York.

We spoke with Kamila recently about her incomparable collection and her business model.

Name the primary source of inspiration for your creations.

Women and their lifestyle. I am one of them and want to wear quality clothes that influence my day and make me feel empowered… From the very beginning I put women in the center thinking how the dress/garment will impact her life: including work, relationships and even her mood.

What was it like getting your brand off the ground?

Financial challenges are very common in fashion related companies/startups or designers. It’s hard to raise money for a clothing business with some traction. I bootstrapped funding because I believe in my business and also saw an excitement in my customer’s eyes. So that kept me alive.

Does the clientele you’ve established consist of the types of women you’d originally envisioned embracing your line?

I think from the very beginning we attracted the customer we had in mind before starting the company. Making high-end fashion accessible to young professional women was the critical point.

Tell me more about your US production and New York’s Garment District.

We decided to make and manufacture all dresses in the New York Garment District due to the access to best resources: talent, expertise in a high-end market and understanding the needs we have. Our manufacturer has been working with high-end designers for decades and we learn a lot from them. Also, many manufacturers in California don’t have machines that can support delicate silk, and can’t guarantee the quality we want to achieve.

Most of your designs are impeccably timeless, but some feature subtle, fresh looking prints. What made you choose to infuse the collection with such whimsical contrast?

It was intentional to have a bit of an eclectic line of dresses but all dresses resemble one another. We want to make sure we offer the dresses women need. Thirty percent of our line intentionally stands for prints that can be worn to weddings and soirees, etc. Our patterns are subtle, as you mentioned, and can be worn again in three years for an unexpected getaway.

Though primarily dresses, a blouse has popped up in your collection. Is this a sign of future expansions?

I love dresses because they can be easily accessorized. They are like a blank canvas and take less space in your closet or when traveling. However, we want to extend to the entire wardrobe in the future and, while there are plans, it needs to be done carefully and at the right time.

Text by Jennifer Richardson
Photograph by Nicolas Gutierrez

THE OBSESSION ISSUE

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