Photos by: Kaili Scheer
Different places bring new experiences and inspirations. From the exciting buzz of the city, to the calming sea breeze of a peaceful Island vacation.
Living on the Island of Maui and amongst the fresh vegetation and water views, Kaili, Founder and Designer of Olympia Activewear often finds herself escaping into the concrete jungle.
Here, Kaili shares how she finds inspiration and balance from the Island to the city and getting the best of both worlds.
On finding inspiration – city vs island
The majority of my process comes from trying to understand what women want to wear. This changes a lot from island life to city life... When I'm home in Maui, I’m reminded of the need for simplicity and ease. My wardrobe is dominated by staples like cotton dresses, soft tees, button downs, vintage denim. Believe it or not where I live it’s pretty chilly and I get to wear boots and sweaters a lot. Weekends are more of a ‘throw on and go’ mentality, and I live in simple dresses, one-piece swimsuits, loungewear - anything that is good for relaxing at the beach or getting dirty in the yard with my boys. When traveling in a city, I'm always aware of practicality. There's a way bigger consideration for comfort and how a garment functions with you and for you. As we are moving into more RTW designs, these principles are at the forefront of our process.
How does your daily active or health routine change when travelling between island and city?
I try to keep my diet pretty clean while home in Maui (my husband is a chef, so of course there are plenty of indulgences). We are starting to grow our own food and always try to eat as locally sourced as possible. When we travel, however, it's all about diving into the culinary experiences each place has to offer. It’s so exciting to see the innovation happening in the food world whenever we go to big cities - it's something that we both have a huge appreciation for. In terms of being active - this answer has changed a lot for me in the last two years, as I had a baby last March. Before motherhood, I used to wake up and workout 4 - 5 days per week. My ability (and desire) to do that has really decreased. A lot of my daily activity now involves balancing work and motherhood and my focus has been on shifting aspects of my business to fit this new lifestyle.
How do you see the beauty in both worlds when traveling from island to city?
I'm very fortunate to have grown up in such a beautiful place. I like to think I haven't become desensitized to any of the incredible landscapes around me, but every once in a while, I'll see something that reminds me to pay a little more attention. That being said, I can also appreciate a lot about being in a city. There's something really thrilling about being in the ‘buzz’ of a fast moving city - architecture, style, people, food, culture. Also, I’m a huge plant person; trees, flowers, vegetables, anything growing I love! When traveling I pay attention to what grows in places and how it differs or is similar to home. I always seek out arboretums and botanical gardens. It makes everything feel connected.
Is there a significant difference between finding design influence in the city vs island living?
At home, I'm very influenced by my way of life. Design, for me, has always meant that I would be my own number one customer. Right now, for example, a lot of the decisions I've been making have been influenced by my new role as a mother. I think a lot more about what it means to feel "feminine" and "powerful" at the same time. How to design pieces that will allow me to "juggle it all"... Naturally this led me a bit away from active apparel and I’m gravitating to more feminine pieces like blouses, soft flowy dresses, slouchy trousers, and outerwear. In the city, it can be hard not to get caught up in all of the different directions fashion can take. There are so many different styles represented at once. I try to keep a lens that's true to our brand and think about what makes sense for our customer.