The Heart of Cool- Interview with Shama Jade
Posted on May 04 2017
The Heart of Cool- Interview with Shama Jade's Co-founders Avalon Barrie & Maria Capone.
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The Visionary’s Manifesto in association With Heart of Cool Presents ShamaJade
What happens when the universe brings together fire and water in the form of two innovative, fierce, spiritual and bold fashion forward divas? Well you get ShamaJade a creative genius of such high vibrations it defies our collective understanding of fashion vs. fitness. Let us embark on another level with these symbiotic visionaries; flowing sensuous Avalon and passionate fiery Maria.
HoC: How have the cultural influences of your respective backgrounds fed into your design aspects?
Avolon: I do a lot with the design aspect of our clothing line. I didn’t grow into this from a younger age and it wasn’t something I thought I would necessarily do as I grew up in the theater and the acting world. I moved to LA to become an actress and I was working in the entertainment industry for about ten years although I did study fashion and business as college majors but for me the performance background and the constant physical appearance demands fostered a number of insecurities that I had about my own body and going on auditions reinforced those industry expectations. I felt that I was not operating at my full creative capacity and then I was introduced to Maria via a mutual friend and instantly there was this amazing bond and she was a burst of inspiration and we began to talk about the idea of creating a company together that would affect and empower women’s lives and we came up with the concept of a jumpsuit. The idea was that when a woman puts on a jumpsuit she feels confident, and wearing our creations feels as if she’s having a superhero moment.
HoC: How did you come up with the name ShamaJade?
Maria: I’m originally from Brazil and my background is in fitness, yoga and spirituality. I also studied theater at USC. Brazilians are very expressive and they love their bodies. The women are very confident and I never had the idea of possessing the perfect body but I grew up being comfortable in my own skin. So coming to America I would see all these beautiful women with insecurities and I wanted to create a platform with Avalon where we could empower women hence the idea of a jumpsuit. The jumpsuit represents a sort of second skin in a form of being naked that exudes strength and acceptance of one’s physical appearance. The word “Shama” means enlightenment in Hindu and the word “Jade” means unconditional love taken from the color I see when I look into Avalon’s eyes. So our mission was to merge those two definitions as it relates to fashion and fitness into a brand.
HoC: Would you say that your clothing line somehow touches upon the nuances of the feminist movement?
Avalon: Yes, I think it does. We didn’t intentionally think about that concept as we were growing the business but our goal has always been to empower women and we obviously are a company for women. We definitely want women to support one another and as women we are stronger together plus we get positive feedback from women all over the country who share a sense of commonality via our trunk shows featuring the jumpsuit designs.
HoC: Who are some of today’s designers that have inspired you to further your fitness fashion goals?
Avalon: Alva Ralsteen from Balmain fashion house. I just feel that he creates designs for women’s bodies that enhance their natural beauty. His style is futuristic and at the same time technically different. It inspires our brand in such a way that the line we created this year is more fashion forward than pieces we presented last year. I also love the 80’s, which represented some fun styles being incorporated into a few of our jumpsuit designs.
HoC: In what ways does your vision of empowerment through fitness wear influence cultural norms?
Maria: Our main fashion objective is women deviating from the norm. Women were not generally thought of as entrepreneurs or forging an independent life for themselves. For us the jumpsuit inspired the wearer to incorporate every aspect of their lives by transitioning from work to a social setting and the gym vs. the norm of being restricted to one outfit for a specific occasion.
HoC: Where do you envision ShamaJade going in the future in the fashion design genre?
Avalon: Our goal is to break the mold of active wear perception, making the jumpsuit the everyday go to apparel. The different styles become a personalized piece for the wearer and have women embrace the power of their bodies. We are helping to redefine the idea of fashion as a tool of inner peace and alignment with the expression of one’s true self.
HoC: What do you love most about each of your concepts as it relates to the collaboration process of ShamaJade?
Maria: I love that we are like fire and water; Avalon is extremely creative in the sense that she does these amazing things with design. It astonishes me where she goes with a concept. I love that she is detail oriented and skilled in photography and the visualization of our business. Avalon represents a calming aspect to our dynamic because I am definitely the fire when it comes to pushing the brand and it adds to our working relationship as we collaborate within the design process.
Avalon: I stated before but it’s so relevant to our journey as partners that when I met Maria I had some insecurities but there was a moment of realization as to what her personal power brought to our dynamic which definitely allowed me to see myself in a more formidable manner, to put myself out there into the unknown and be okay. Maria brought out a side of me that I was afraid to express, as if I needed that support to embrace my own power. Everyday she encourages me to come out of my shell, we can jump off that proverbial creative cliff together and on a day-to-day basis it’s just the two of us doing the marketing and meeting with clients etc. Our goal is to go beyond the corporate structure and tap into our spiritual base.
HoC: Has your life’s philosophy changed in some extraordinary way since you first conceived of redefining women’s fashion within the fitness and wellness industry?
Maria: When we started there was so much love and spirituality given to our brand. Perhaps we were naïve to believe that everyone would be receptive to our core beliefs and we had to become more resilient to the business demands placed on us by other entities we found ourselves negotiating with. Essentially we had to adjust to the reality that not everyone was moving along the path of spiritual enlightenment in regards to their business models. We didn’t betray ourselves by minimizing our personal belief systems but we did become more business savvy in dealing with those less idealistic entities.
HoC: What advice would you give to other visionaries in regards to creating a pathway that speaks to who they are on a spiritually conscious level?
Avolon: I believe as women in our constantly evolving entrepreneurial world you should never let anyone deter you from believing in yourself. Find the deeper meaning of why you desire to create your own path and once you have established that foundation follow your dreams.
Maria: Do not give up, for in the path of light there is always darkness. Always focus your energies towards the light.