Local gender-neutral clothing line to launch new collection in September
As summer draws to a close, gender-neutral design firm OLLY AWAKE, based in Columbus, prepares to launch a new collection.
OLLY AWAKE made her fashion debut with The Arrival Collection in fall 2017 at the Fashion Meets Music Festival after founder K Terry Smith and co-founder and head of design Celeste Malvar-Stewart began working together on a conceptual first line, said Smith.
“I came to Celeste to meet what I felt was a need in the fashion world, which creates fashion intentionally designed to really fall between what is there today – between menswear and womenswear.” , said Smith. “Truly something that not only caters to a market that we both felt was growing, but also opens up new avenues of expression.”
OLLY AWAKE’s new collection, Healing and Structure, is expected to launch in late September, Smith said. Healing and Structure presents five pieces, some of which they say are elevated and reimagined pieces from their first collection.
“I think the brand has evolved from when we really first launched it,” said Malvar-Stewart. “We were almost like a few kids just trying to create something that we felt was really needed in society and we were focusing, even then, on inclusiveness and accessibility.”
Smith said that OLLY AWAKE’s approach to fashion makes the world a better place through design. This means not only making the clothes financially accessible, but also made ethically, using renewable fibers and textiles from sustainable sources, they said.
“For us, we wanted to focus on, for example, ‘How do we create four or five designs in all possible sizes in a sustainable, achievable, ethical, well-made, truly commercialized way,” Smith said. . “The whole production itself uses ethical work – it’s actually local work – so, you know, people really know where their clothes come from.”
When designing the pieces for healing and structure, Malvar-Stewart said it wasn’t about making clothes that as many people as possible could wear; it was more about experimenting with clothes and how exciting fashion could be.
Smith said they wanted to create a place where clothes aren’t something people think they have to fit in in order to fit what society expects of them.
“We have a design in this collection that we’re launching, and it’s a major piece, and we’ve had a number of people try it out,” said Malvar-Stewart. “They would all put on this room and feel something really powerful. Like, they were like, “I feel sexy, I feel classy, I feel beautiful. And I find that, just personally as a designer, really, really rewarding.
Smith and Malvar-Stewart said they were able to take the much-needed time during the pandemic to grow and develop the OLLY AWAKE brand, determine next steps and continue to work to give their customers what they want. .
“We kind of needed that time to do it because we were creating what we thought people would want and what was inclusive and what could make people feel included and safe,” said Malvar-Stewart. “But I think now with this collection we’ve really hit the nose. I think we’ve really listened to our customers and we’ve done a really good job of being really inclusive, not just with the sizing, but with the designs themselves and then making them accessible.
OLLY AWAKE’s sizing system has been completely redesigned for the launch of the Healing and Structure collection, Smith said. With new label icons designed by Katria Judkins, rather than typical size numbers, the sizing system begins with Crescent Moon – which first launched in 2019 – and includes Rising Sun, Seeing Eye, Stars at Night, Rolling Tide and Shooting Star, they said.
Looking at the new sizing line as part of the collection’s expansion was something that felt right, said Malvar-Stewart, pointing out that sizing is arbitrary.
“We’ve just been so conditioned by sizing and it’s really an arbitrary thing,” said Malvar-Stewart. “We should own our size and body types and all that. We don’t have this opportunity with most brands.
Smith said the Healing and Structure collection will launch in a virtual format at the end of September. More information on the sizing system and launch updates can be found at OLLY AWAKE’s Instagram and Facebook pages.