Chapter IV: Charlotte Fashion Week - PT I

October 4, 2023

Part I: Preparation

Time is compressed and stretched by gravity. Recently, I’ve nerded out over PBS’ ‘Einstein’s Theory of Relativity’ and the theory that we all get heavier at high tide due to mineral content interacting with the moon's pull. Humbug!  My time experience comes from emotional overreactions to things that happen to me. When I committed OMARI to a runway show at Charlotte Fashion Week in June, the end of September was a long time away. Stress and adversity compressed four months into milliseconds. 

July came, and a bold, black and white custom-printed OMARI pattern jersey knit fabric arrived in the design studio. The issue? The waterproof material never showed up.  

“Hello, Sunflower Printing?  It says it was shipped, but I didn’t receive it. Did you ship it? In a separate box?” I like to show up in person. Sometimes, it doesn’t change anything, but occasionally, you can get your arms around things, and if you don’t, the worst case is you get off the phone and computer, which is probably good for you.  

“Let me go back and look for it; we don’t show it being here…” I see my postman. I'm looking for a little box like this big, hands about a foot apart. “Yes, I have it right here. Let me scan it as delivered.” 

I raced back to the studio and crafted the white ski helmet with OMARI logo print accents to accessorize the Moto Ski Jacket.  The contrast of soft, creamy white leather with puffy quilted elbow and shoulder details and the hard, crisp, shiny helmet with a black graphic pattern was right on. Another day had blown by instantly. 

October 7, 2023 

When time goes crazy, take refuge in your favorite bar because alcohol can neutralize physics.  (I’m writing now at the Thirsty Beaver Saloon. They play Rock or Country on the jukebox and Hee-Haw on the monitors.  Mick Jagger was spotted here last time the Stones were in Charlotte.)  Suddenly it was September, and in my creative fugue, the days and weeks became a blur.  5 a.m. to noon I ripped out stitches and accomplished nothing. Pants, skirts, and sweaters were finished over 18 hour days that passed in the blink of an eye. Closer and closer to the black hole. Faster and faster. Ears ringing, vision blurring, and eyes tearing up. I tell myself to stop squinting and put on the readers, or you’ll never thread the sewing machine. 

September 1 

Email from the factory: “Planning to send you the samples on September 30th.”  This sentence took a year off my life. It’s 4am and I’m calling the factory owner in China… 

“Audrey, can you hear me…The fashion show is ON September 30th. I emailed Cathy four times that I needed the samples before then….Yes, terrible communication….Yes, I copied her…Please call her and discuss….This is a disaster!” 

I’ve learned that sometimes, people will respond to over-the-top theatrics with lifesaving results. And sometimes not. Friday morning in the USA is already Friday night in China. I gutted it out for three days, waiting for a reply.  

“We will send you these samples on September 25th.” 

“Can they really arrive by the 29th if you send them on the 25th?” No response. 

Serious crunch-time. (That’s an actual term in physics. Google it if you don’t believe me…) After two model castings, we had 25 models selected and started fittings. “Let’s try this White Fitted Puffer… our model, Finley, shrugged on the jacket, “Oh my gosh! This feels soooo soft.”   

That is OMARI: Ultimate comfort paired with high performance. Supremely functional attire designed to elevate the spirit. Put it on and rise.   

“Can you believe it is waterproof and breathable, featherweight down blend insulation too”  

 The Natural Merino Beanie, Oatmeal Cropped Cashmere Sweater, and Black Stretch Leggings for this look. Next up, Aurorah.  Hmmm.  She would do well in the Oversized Sleeveless V-neck Sweater with honeysuckle waterproof suede inset.  

“Wow, that feels so expensive. I love the little cable knit.”  The elephant on my chest got up and trotted off into the jungle.  

The next day I buzzed through the alterations.  

“Hi Rita! We have lots of questions…What? You selected OMARI to be on the WCCB News Rising Show to promote Fashion Week? When?  Yes, we can get four models to be there.”  

Famous last words…That massive elephant was back on my chest. 

6:30 at the TV studio rolling giant suitcases up to the door. It opens. “Hi Joe, thanks so much. I’m the first one here?”  An hour later, models started showing up.

They send in the makeup and hair twins, literally, twin sisters. Here are the outfits. Ladies, please make sure the hair and makeup is on point. I will get the guys into something here. Rita wants to rehearse the walk in the hallway.  

Time in a washing machine. Rinse, Spin, and repeat… “ Thanks so much for being with us. Let’s get a photo together in front of the News Rising logo.” 

October 10, 2023 

10:30 p.m. back at the studio, is that a UPS box? YES!!  The vests, the Cape, the Morgan Parka, and two sizes of the Mau Meow Suit one-piece! Carefully unpacking, I put the pieces on the mannequins, thinking, “This leather has amazing memory; all the wrinkles will fall right out by morning.” Quick video of all the pieces texted out to the team at midnight. We were saved. The tracking shows the DHL box with men’s pants is due tomorrow and the last UPS box by Friday.  Miraculous. I’m one fortunate S-O-B.

OMARI - Handcrafted Leather for the High Born Spirits