An Artist’s Life: O M Design Studio

Cultured, creative, innovative, classic, edgy, fun, sweet and romantic; These are just a few qualities that Ou Ma magically embodies and has brilliantly channeled into her beautiful and unique creations for her very own bespoke collection, O M Design Studio.

Through the beauty of social media, I had the privilege of connecting with Ou Ma in person this past summer and we have since become good friends! But really, it is so easy to get to know such a kind and generous soul like Ou. She has been settling into the West Coast lifestyle this past year, a welcome change and respite compared to the high-intensity energy of New York City, where she worked and lived as a fashion designer for an iconic fashion label (you won’t believe who!). It was an absolute joy to sit down with her on a gorgeous sunshine-filled day and learn about her journey as an artist, fashion designer and creative entrepreneur… But why don’t I allow Ou to tell you all about that? Just keep on reading!

 

Ou Ma Design, Fashion Designer.

Ou Ma, Fashion Designer & Founder of O.M. Design Studio.

 

gracearmani: Hi, Ou! Please tell us about yourself and share with us your background and how you came to live in Vancouver.

OU MA: Hi, my name is Ou. I’m the founder and chief designer of O.M. Design Studio. I used to live in New York and I worked at Ralph Lauren Women’s Collection as Assistant Designer, and where I showcased my work in New York Fashion Week. Two years ago, I started doing custom wedding dresses for friends and clients in New York. Last October I moved to Vancouver and now I own my own bridal design/custom design studio in Gastown. I’m looking forward to meeting more people and local brides in Vancouver.

gracearmani: So Ou, you’re a fashion designer but I’m curious what were your childhood ambitions? Did you always know you wanted to design?

OU MA: Not really. I think I had so many hobbies when I was younger… I wanted to be a teacher or a journalist and I didn’t know I wanted to be a fashion designer until I was in high school. I remember when I was younger I always played with my Barbie dolls, making little garments for them, doing their hair, doing their nails and playing with them by giving them different names. I also loved drawing. I was really quiet when I was younger. I always liked to keep to myself in my own room and to do a lot of drawings with watercolors, crayons, color pencils and just be very, very creative. So I guess when I reached a point in high school, I combined drawing with making dresses for my Barbies together so I figured, ‘oh I could be a fashion designer one day!’

gracearmani: Amazing! After high school, how did you pursue that? Did you receive training?

OU MA: Yeah actually, I didn’t go for fashion design right after high school. I wanted to but my family wasn’t very supportive back then; they wanted me to do something more serious. Also in China, the examination to go into higher education is very intense so I actually went for Sociology as my first bachelor’s degree. I loved it! I think it’s a very good major and gives you more knowledge and insights into so many different aspects of society but I remember in my sophomore year I was still wanting to be a fashion designer so I tried to convince my mom. She was supportive but she said, ‘you have to finish your first bachelor’s first and after that you can do whatever you want’. So since then I [self-taught how to] sow, pattern making. I started reading a lot of biographies of famous designers around the world and see a lot of fashion shows. After my first bachelor’s, I applied to F.I.T. (Fashion Institute of Technology) in New York and I got accepted so I went there for another four years for my second bachelor’s in Fashion Design.

gracearmani: Now that’s passion right there. How long did it take you to build your portfolio?

OU MA: Do you mean a portfolio to get into [F.I.T.]? I remember F.I.T. gave us three or four different topics for our portfolios. Some were required to design something based off of a theme. Some were pretty freestyle [in terms of designing]. I remember I spent like, three months, doing sketches, inspiration research, and making a dress by myself, all hand-made! I remember for the dress I made for my portfolio, I actually [painted] something on the fabric and I asked my roommate from college to be my model and another friend of mine to be the photographer so we threw the portfolio together. *laughs* Yeah, it was a pretty rough time I would say.. I was super nervous cause F.I.T. was such a prestigious design school in the U.S. and I wasn’t sure I was able to get in so I was really nervous. I took the language test and also prepared for my portfolio. I still remember the day when I received an email from them and I was like, … I don’t even know the word to describe it. I was just like, ‘Oh, okay… I’m going to New York..’ I’m going to America to do something, to do fashion. That’s awesome!’

 

 

gracearmani: What an amazing achievement! Would that have been your fist time in America?

OU MA: No, I actually went to visit when I was ten years old because my parents worked in the Chinese embassy in D.C. so I spent a summer in D.C. when I was ten years old. I even remember we went to New York, to Florida for Disney World and it was really memorable but after that I never thought about going to America. I wanted to go to Europe for you know, a design degree but my mom was like, ‘Ah, I think America has more opportunities and it’s a great environment for young, ambitious designers/entrepreneurs so I think you should go for that’. So that’s why I kind of researched some design schools in America and went for F.I.T.

gracearmani: That’s so amazing that your mom was so supportive…

OU MA: Yeah, she’s actually been very, very supportive. She saw my talents, saw that I was making dresses for my Barbies, and all my drawings. She always wanted me to do something that I love with my life.

gracearmani: Do you feel that formal/technical training is necessary to “make it” as a successful fashion designer?

OU MA: Yeah, I 100% agree with that because F.I.T. is known for its very strict curriculum and F.I.T. teaches you not only the creative part but also the technical part [of design] and I think as a designer you should be able to, of course you have the talents and the gifts to design something beautiful, but also I think you need to have the technique to learn how to construct a garment and how to choose different fabrics. Also F.I.T. teaches you the knowledge of merchandising, sales and even the legal part of building your own business so I think it really equips you to be a very well-rounded designer.

 

chongsam, traditional Chinese dress, Ou Ma Design, Grace Armani

 

gracearmani: What is your most memorable experience from F.I.T.?

OU MA: I remember that it was the last semester of my sophomore year and we were doing corsets and more constructed evening wear. I worked so hard on it but I picked the wrong fabric so my garment was beautifully constructed but because I chose the wrong fabric, I wasn’t chosen to go into the exhibition so I cried. I had always been a good student so that was the first time I didn’t get chosen to exhibit my design and the professor, he was pretty harsh on me. He knew that I was a good student and he [saw] my vision but he told me something at the end.. He said that as a designer, you have to have the skills in knowing your fabric and know what goes best with your designs. I learned so much from that class. I don’t want to think about it because it was really painful but I do admit that I learned a lot from that class, that experience.

gracearmani: Yeah, I guess that’s how we all learn, from mistakes, choices. What is your design process like? Does the material come before the design or does the design come before the material?

OU MA: Hm, I think it’s a spontaneous process and really depends on what I’m working on. So, sometimes if I… Let’s say this, if I’m doing something for my own collection, I will actually go for the fabric first because I’ll go to different fabric stores, or different fabric trade shows and see what’s new, what’s trendy and what’s different. [Next] I will bring all my fabric inspiration together and go do my silhouette research and more specific detailed research, then I will create a collection based off that. But sometimes if I do a custom dress for my clients, I will actually talk to her, get to know her personality and know what she wants for her wedding or for special occasions. So I’ll go for the silhouette first but at the same time I will think about what is the best fabric that will best express herself, to best present what I’m designing for her so it’s really a spontaneous process.

 

sequin dress close up, Ou Ma Design, fashion designer, grace armani

 

gracearmani: I’m trying to understand how that would work in my mind but it sounds like it’s quite a process…

OU MA: Yeah, I guess for some designers those two processes could be separate but for me it really works best if I think of them at the same time.

gracearmani: You mentioned that you worked at Ralph Lauren Women’s Collection, would you mind sharing what your experience was like and what the biggest lessons you learned while working there?

OU MA: There are so many things I want to share… First of all, I was actually interning there in my third year at college for a summer. I remember the first time I went to the office, I was really blown away. I had never seen anything beautiful and elegant and very intensely inspired because all of the designers are so talented. They worked there for more than twenty years and they did beautiful watercolor sketches combined with different samples and beaded swatches. I remember the first time I saw Ralph; He is such an icon, you know? He talks so softly and everybody, no matter how many people are in the room, are sitting there quietly, listening to him. No matter what he says it just sounds so true! *smiles* After I graduated from college actually, my supervisor from when I was interning called me back and was like, ‘Oh you graduated, wanna come work for us?’ and I was like, ‘Hell yeah!’ *laughs* It’s a good opportunity so I started working there and I’ve learned so much. I’ve worked so many fashion shows and I’ve learned the process from beginning to end and what really makes a very high-end product, especially all the beautiful gowns and beautiful evening dresses and the beautiful Italian fabrics – I’d never touched them before when I was in school. I was able to go to all the fittings, the design meetings and merchandising meetings with my supervisor so I was able to be apart of every aspect of the designing process. I even worked backstage at the fashion shows, learn how to throw a beautiful show together and learn how to work with time and how to work with stress cause the stress level was like right here *points to her neck*. Like every body had to be fully prepared for all the Ralph meetings and prepare all the inspiration research, sketches and fabrics to show him, you know, so it was really really intense but I think I grew really fast! I really appreciate that experience.

gracearmani: What was it like working alongside Ralph?

OU MA: It’s very inspiring! Because for him.. you know, he never trained for fashion design at school, he was self-taught. He was selling ties when he was younger and he just came up with this idea. He asked his supervisor if he can design his own lines of ties and sell them at Bloomingdales. He became very successful starting then and started building up his menswear collection, home collections, children’s collection, women’s collection… He really has this vision to provide a lifestyle for his customers and he’s so real and so true about whatever he’s providing. He’s so consistent no matter what season. He’s not following trends. He’s just true to himself and you can see that through the years, his taste just stays the same which is really amazing.

gracearmani: He is very iconic and classic in that sense.

OU MA: Yeah, very very good taste.

gracearmani: Would you say that Ralph is a mentor to you? Who are your mentors?

OU MA: Well, because I didn’t work with him on an every day basis and there are so many tiers between us, he’s a bigger mentor, of course. He’s more of an icon, an inspiration to me but another designer, her name is Daniela Kamiliotis. She is the VP of Ralph Lauren Women’s Collection and she has been working there for twenty years. She was really my mentor for my whole internship and working career at Ralph Lauren. She’s the one who would actually pull inspiration for all the collections. She goes to vintage shops and different trade shows around the world getting inspiration from everywhere. She’s an amazing artist and does gorgeous paintings in her house in Connecticut and she is just an artist from the bottom of her heart and I learned so much from her; her passion, her eyes, her taste, and how serious she was when preparing for meetings. No matter how high up she is in the company and no matter how experienced she is, she is always very tense when preparing for the meetings – she wanted to be 200% ready for Ralph. Always improving herself, and getting inspiration even from us *points to herself*, from the younger generation. She always asked us where we’d get this accessory, where do you shop? And she would go to those young and hip stores in Williamsburg or somewhere in Berlin, to find those trendy inspirations for the collection. I just admire her so much.

 

Ou Ma Design studio details, Grace Armani, blog, interview, fashion designer

 

gracearmani: She sounds like an amazing woman.

OU MA: Yeah, she is amazing! And she’s a good cook, too! Always bringing treats that she made at home or invite us to her house to have a party. She’s a very warm person and amazing mentor.

gracearmani: Now, when you look back at who you were starting out as a fashion designer and coming out of working with Ralph Lauren Women’s Collection, how did your work ethic and mentality – do you think that changed? What do you think grew when you were there?

OU MA: I think when I was starting as a fashion design student, I was focused on little projects at school.. Okay, today we’re doing draping and tomorrow we’re doing illustrations. So I as focused on each single task and just wanting to make them good and have a good portfolio when I go for job interviews. But after my experience at Ralph Lauren, I feel like I grew up as a designer who can have my own line because I have a broader view of what a successful collection is and what makes a great company and who your customers are, what are you providing to them, how can you make your products consistent throughout the seasons. Those are the questions I’ve been observing and thinking about throughout the years I was working there. I think I could not get those experiences out of school, those you have to learn from a company, especially from a very successful fashion design house in the U.S.

gracearmani: Absolutely. If you look at any successful company, they have a very core set of beliefs and values.

OU MA: Exactly.

gracearmani: Based on what you learned at Ralph Lauren and knowing what it takes to build a successful company, what is it that you envision for your own design?

OU MA: I started doing custom wedding dresses for clients in New York, I think it was late 2014. I’ve been thinking about what I really wanted to do in the industry so I found this niche where for most brides, they have a hard time finding a very special and unique dress that are made especially for them. So in the market they’re either high-end, haute couture pieces from high-end bridal houses or brides just find a sketch or a photo they find online, bring it to a local tailor and ask them to make it. So I feel like as a designer, I do a good job to research inspiration, to know the customer, what fits best for her, what suits best for her wedding and to really provide something that is really unique and just made specially for the clients and that’s what I wanted to do for my brand.

 

OU MA, close up in the studio, fashion designer, interview, grace armani

 

gracearmani: When your friends approached you to ask you to design a dress for them, what was your initial reaction?

OU MA: I thought it was amazing! I thought they made the right choice *laughs* to ask me to design for them and I just couldn’t wait to listen to their thoughts, their vision, what they envisioned for their wedding, what they had collected from the internet… I just couldn’t wait to get the process going!

gracearmani: It’s quite an honor too isn’t it, to create for your friends?

OU MA: Yeah, absolutely! And on someone’s big day, especially for them, I wanted to make something really memorable and really irreplaceable for them.

gracearmani: So at that time did you think, oh maybe this is something I can do or was it something you more as a favor for a friend?

OU MA: I started with just doing a favor for my friend because we grew up together. She was getting married and I couldn’t attend the wedding but I really wanted to do something specially for her so she approached me and I said, ‘Oh my god, yes!’ So I started doing dresses for her. Back then I was still at school and I had so many thoughts of what kinds of brands I wanted to [work with]. I was actually specialized in knitwear and had this passion for knits and sweater. Also, I’ve always wanted to do a line of children’s wear, just some cute stuff. I also have a passion for authentic Chinese dresses, bringing some culture into the collection. I’ve had so many thoughts throughout the years and I think it was really last year, after I decided to move to Vancouver and I had this great opportunity to build another career path – either working for somebody else or designing for myself – so I went for the other. I really wanted to have my own studio and start my own business.

gracearmani: That takes a lot of courage and vision and I can see why you would want to create your own line because you have so many amazing ideas!

OU MA: Thank you.

 

Ou Ma mood board, vision board, studio, Grace Armani, interview, blog

 

gracearmani: Your vision board here is just stunning. Moving to Vancouver, how did you, I mean it’s such a different city compared to New York… How do you plan to impact the design industry or community here with your works?

OU MA: I absolutely love Vancouver. Ever since I first visited here, it’s [been] such a beautiful city surrounded with nature and greenery and beautiful friendly people. After I moved here, I started to become a local Vancouverite and really enjoy the life, and especially enjoy the life pace here. I started doing some research on some fashion brands and especially the bridal business and I feel like most people here are absolutely passionate about the boho style, something really west coast-y — really bohemian. But on the other side, for ready-to-wear and contemporary brands, people are really passionate about minimal, clean and neutral colors, and something really simple and elegant. So, I wanted to find a way to combine them together and with my bridal line, it’s definitely simple and minimal cuts with some sort of bohemian or romantic details or fabrics that provide brides with different options. Also, it’s a very different vision of what bridal gowns will look like in the future. I want to bring something more light and airy to the market. I want to provide those people who want to have something very different and unique for their wedding day.

gracearmani: I love how you encapsulated Vancouver’s style – you are so right! It is very boho, west coast, laid-back isn’t it? And yet you’ve captured that style so beautifully in your work. I can’t wait to see your designs!

OU MA: Thank you! Yeah, I can’t wait to have them too.

gracearmani: I’m curious, how long is your process? From an idea of the dress, to the sketches, to the final product – how long does all that take?

OU MA: I would say the first stage of the design process, for inspiration research, market research, fabric sourcing and sketching, it’s like an ongoing process. It’s not like I sit in front of my desk and I say, ‘Okay, I’m going to do research today. Two hours today, two hours tomorrow.’ No. Everyday I go out with friends and I even go out hiking and I will observe the people around me. I go to different markets here, different shops and bridal shops to do my research. At the same time, I’m thinking of my own line and thinking of where I can get my inspiration, and what’s not there that I can provide with my talents and my skills. I would say from that to finalized sketches will be two to three months. From there I contact my pattern maker and my fabric suppliers, some from New York, some local, and we start doing the collection. The making of the dresses takes about four or five months for the final product.

gracearmani: Is that the same process you would take when designing a client’s dress?

OU MA: Pretty much. Usually from the initial conversation with my clients to finalizing the sketches and fabrication, takes about a month to two months. It depends on how complex and how intense the handwork will be. The dress can usually take four or five months to make. Then we will have at least two fittings until we have the final product for her. So, it’s a long process..!

 

Ou Ma studio corner, wedding gown, Grace Armani, interview

 

 

gracearmani: Okay, Ou… We know so far that you are a visionary; You’ve come all the way from China to New York and now to Vancouver to make an impact. I’m curious, how do you see Ou Ma Designs impacting Vancouver?

OU MA: That’s a tough question. First of all, I really want to have my brand image and brand identity really established in Vancouver. I want to combine my heritage, my culture, with my experience in New York and my observations and my visions for Vancouver to kind of combine for my brand. I want to reach out to more people. I don’t want to focus on just a small group because I feel like custom design should be available for everybody, no matter how much your budget is or what event you’re going to. I think if you want to have an open conversation with me, I will be able to design something very special for you and within your budget, and that’s really my vision. I wanted to bring my brand to a broader audience and to have the concept “custom design”, “bespoke design” for a broader [population] here in Vancouver.

gracearmani: You mentioned earlier that you would like to help educate women on how to pick the right dress. Do you have a plan or an idea of how you will help do that for the women in Vancouver and all over the world? Are there any tips that you can give?

OU MA: Yeah, I have so many ideas! Because I only have one showroom in Vancouver, I’m thinking of hosting a couple workshops maybe once or every two months. to have some small lessons and salons for a small group of people and teach them how to find the right dress for your body [type] and how to show the best parts of your body and hide the “worst” parts, and how to be confident and comfortable in what you’re wearing, knowing the difference of different fabrics and knowing what’s suitable for your personality and really showing off who you are instead of the dress wearing you, you are really wearing the dress and owning your style. Going forward, I want to have more advertisements on Instagram and to have short videos to create a conversation with my clients, to have maybe a video chat with my audience and to teach them some tips and help them to really discover the beauty of their body and to find who they are and to find the most memorable dress for them.

 

Ou Ma Design studio, Gastown Vancouver, Grace Armani, blog, interview, fashion designer

 

gracearmani: That’s amazing because a lot of people do want to know how to dress for their body type and I’ve been to quite a few dress fittings with my friends and I know they always have a vision of what they think will look good on them but when they get there, it’s completely different.

OU MA: Yeah I mean, I had that problem too. It’s always hard because especially with wedding dresses first of all, it’s your special day and you’re only wearing it once and you want it to be the most perfect dress ever. Some brides they just want to have all of their ideas, millions of ideas, thrown together for one dress. You know, sometimes it’s possible, sometimes it’s not because I always feel like what makes you feel most comfortable and confident makes you the most beautiful. So when I talk to my clients, I will really listen to her and if she has many visions, I’ll help her to narrow it down or, if she has absolutely no idea, I can help her and even go to her own closet and find out what suits best for her and which part she wants to show off and maybe go to a local dress shop and try on different necklines and sleeves, different skirt types and take photos, look at them maybe not right after but the day after so you will have a different idea of what really looks good on you.

gracearmani: Interesting, that’s quite a custom service…

OU MA: Yeah and also because I listen to my friends who shop for dresses like this and they have problems all the time. Even for myself, I saw this dress and another dress and wanted to combine the two and I couldn’t find it anywhere else for the combination of the two dresses so that’s why I have my custom dress studio. So say you saw a dress you really like but you want to change the neckline or you want to change the fabric or you want to have more beading or less beading, or you want to change the lace. That’s why you have me, I help you really help your vision come to life!

 

Peonies, Ou Ma Design, studio, Gastown, Vancouver, Grace Armani

 

gracearmani: Is that where your mood board comes in to help with the designs?

OU MA: Yes, so my mood board right now is a combination of what I’ve done for my clients and also some of my inspirations and some inspiring women and design details, [as well as] color inspirations for my line. So for each of my clients, before they come in, I will create something like this for them. I will do some research about them and sometimes they start with a Pinterest board. They will send me some pictures that they love and I will combine their choices with my choices and then provide them with four or five sketches to approach them and then we go from there. I will also have some fabrics on the side to show them different lace options and different fabric qualities to put the fabrics against their body and against their skin to find the perfect one for them.

gracearmani: What is it that you love the most about being a fashion designer?

OU MA: I love that I can transform something, from a concept, from a sketch into a real product. I feel really accomplished when I see my clients and people are wearing my designs and is really just… magical seeing something from a sketch into a real dress.

 

Ou Ma Design sketch, wedding dress, interview, Grace Armani

 

Ou Ma vision board, fashion designer, Grace Armani, blog, interviewgracearmani: What do you find most challenging as a fashion designer?

OU MA: Okay, can I answer you in two different ways? As a fashion designer working for a company, I feel it’s really challenging working with a team and working with a schedule because we always have a tight schedule with a tight deadline so it’s always stressful and overwhelming so I think you have to have a very good organizing skills and team working skills to not get “killed” by the environment. *smiles* I think as a designer for your own brand, I think the most challenging part is to really plan out everything and to have everything well organized because especially for me, I have my products designed and made both in Vancouver and New York so it’s really challenging for me to think of everything before I hand out the task to my pattern makers and sowers because making a dress is not easy. It involves a lot of details and especially with all the trims and colors that have to match and different threads and the thread tensions and even what kind of seams you want for the inside – so a lot of details that I have to include in my tag bags I have to send to the factory. Sometimes I would always forget about some things and that’s something I need to improve in the future and also to build up a very good team to support me and to work as a group to help the company grow.

gracearmani: What is a mindset tip you would give someone who is wanting to really wanting to make a mark in the fashion industry?

OU MA: I think, think well and be active. Like, I’m actually a thinker so I always think a lot. I think of all the pros and cons of doing your own business. I see a lot of challenges and a lot of negative aspects of it but on the other side, I always got encouraged from my mom who is actually a good go-getter so she always encourages me to just do it. So when you start something you can see the next problem coming and you will have the solution to resolve that problem instead of not doing anything and think about it for the whole time and have no results. So I would encourage anybody if you have an idea, do a lot of research, know your competitors, know your customers and just do it. Just go for it!

gracearmani: That’s awesome advice. That’s a challenge for me as well. I think for most people they’re curious, when they think of an artist they may wonder, what goes on in their life and how their day works so would you mind sharing and giving us an idea of what a typical work day would look like for you?

OU MA: Daily exercise is necessary for me. I always like light jogging or I go play ping-pong with my husband, so something active to start off my day. Then I will start inspiration research and to check the daily tasks that I made the day before. I will then make phone calls to the New York factories because of the time difference I have to get up early to catch up with them. Then I will do more hands-on work. I want to always keep myself up with the industry so I am always sowing or doing little detail embellishments or even couture sowing at home just to polish my skills. I will go to my pattern room to check out the product making process. Also, being a wife I have to prepare the home so I want to have a very good work-life balance. I go back home and prepare for dinner and enjoy it with my husband. At night we usually do separate things for ourselves and that’s pretty much my day. It’s normal! *laughs*

 

Ou Ma Design in the studio, Gastown Vancouver, interview, Grace Armani

 

gracearmani: It’s good to have a balance.

OU MA: Yeah, and that’s what I wanted in New York because I think time back then just went by so fast and I never really had the time to relax and really enjoy hanging out with my friends and with family. It was always work, work, work! When I was in school I was always studying and went for competitions and internships and didn’t even have time for my relationship. I felt really choked back then. I’d been there for seven years and I wanted to do something different. I wanted to have a work-life balance. I wanted to spend more time with family, with friends and with lovers, to really enjoy nature and do something different than just work. Yeah, I’m really happy with my life now.

gracearmani: That’s good, I’m really happy for you!

OU MA: Thank you!

gracearmani: At the time though, would you say it was hard to leave New York or was it an easy decision?

OU MA: No, it was really hard. It was the most difficult time for me, ever since now. It’s hard to quit Ralph Lauren because it’s Ralph Lauren! It’s a dream job. I would say… I feel so lucky to have had a job like that as a fresh graduate from college so I really appreciate that. The people working around me were so nice and we worked like a family all of the time so it was so hard to quit the job and also back then, moving here was another big thing and getting married is another challenging topic in life so with so many changes at the same time I felt so overwhelmed. My family and my boyfriend (back then) were so supportive. They didn’t push me to do anything. They just wanted me to listen to my heart and just to know what I really wanted back then. And back then… I don’t know about the future but back then I knew I wanted a break from New York so I think it was time to change the lifestyle and go with something different, to go to the West Coast to enjoy a new life. Challenges are always good. I’m happy. It was kind of like a breakthrough. I’m here now!

Ou Ma, gowns, wedding dresses, fashion designer, Grace Armani, interview, blog

 

gracearmani: Now that you have more time on the West Coast, what do you enjoy doing?

OU MA: I just love enjoying all the nature. I think that’s the thing I love the most about Vancouver. I like to go hiking and go to different trails and maybe just walk around the neighbourhood. We live in Coquitlam so it’s surrounded by animals and mountains and trees and is a beautiful neighbourhood. So I like to take my time slowly and really enjoy the environment.

gracearmani: Would you mind explaining the story of this beautiful blue dress you’ve been sitting in front of?

OU MA: Yeah, this is a dress I made in New York. It wasn’t made specially for weddings but a lot of wedding magazines were coming to me [at that time]  and wedding photographers were loving this dress. It actually comes from one of my collections called ‘Untouchable’. You can see the yarn that actually represents my state of mind when I was in my “down” time. I was using this pattern to really capture a state of mind, of everybody in their daily life. It was a piece made completely by me; I designed the pattern and the print on this fabric. If you are familiar with my design, I’m very good at playing with pleats and asymmetrical designs and a lot of curve lines around the body to make it really sculptural, feminine and romantic. I combined the yarn pieces with clear vinyl behind it to give it an edgy look. For somebody who wants something really different for their life[style], they will love this piece as well. Also blue is my favorite color. I love the gradient of color and how irregular it flows around the dress. It kind of mimics everybody’s daily life, that you never know where your life will go and in the next minute what it will look like so it kind of has the same rhythm as a person’s daily life, or as in my daily laugh. *laughs*

gracearmani: Ou, thank you for your time! I had a really, really great time with you learning about you. It was a beautiful story you shared with us and very inspiring. I love discovering how artist’s work and how they think so thank you so much for sharing that with us.

OU MA: Thank you so much for coming and again, I want more people to know about my studio. It’s located in the heart of Gastown, in Vancouver. If you’re interested, we do custom designs for not only bridal but also for special occasions, mother-of-the-bride, and gentlemen. My website is www.om-designstudio.com. You can take a look and contact us if you’re interested and we can have a conversation.

gracearmani: Thank you and I hope that you have great success with your studio and I look forward to seeing more of your creations!

OU MA:Thank you so much!

 

*NOTE: O.M. Design Studio will be previewing the Spring Summer 2018 collection on October 21, 2017. All are welcome. Please RSVP to attend.*

__________________________

Ou Ma Design Studio

#709-207 West Hastings Street

Vancouver, BC V6B2N4

1-778-989-6625

1-604-692-0755

By appointment only:

Monday to Friday, 11-7pm

Saturday & Sunday, 11-6pm

http://om-designstudio.com/

 

Ou Ma Design Studio, Pinterest graphic, Grace Armani, blog, interview

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