Designer Profile: Heidi Baker, Owner of OZMA - Los Angeles

 
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Hi Heidi! Tell us a little bit about yourself.
My name is Heidi. 'm the designer and owner of OZMA. I'm a Capricorn, live in a yurt in Topanga Canyon, and have the sweetest dog in the world, Blue.

What was your first job?
My first job was a summer camp counselor in Vermont. I was really into sailing as a kid and obsessed with being near water, so I took kids out on boats and worked on my sailing knot friendship bracelet making skills all day. It was pretty sweet. 

What led you to begin OZMA?
After many years of designing in corporate or other unsavory environments I decided I'd had enough. I loved having a creative job, but wanted to continue doing it in a way that felt authentic. Being my own boss allows me to make choices that foster a uniquely friendly and supportive experience within quite a crazy industry. 

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We love the simplicity and classic elements your create in your pieces. Can you go a bit into your design process?
Honestly, I just design into what I want to wear.  I naturally have a taste for a simple palette, classic silhouettes, and easy pieces. My inspiration comes anywhere from my favorite vintage dresses that are falling apart with overuse, to dusty army surplus finds, to photos of my female icons -  then sometimes I just sit at my sewing machine and tinker around until I create a shape that I love. Less is always more for me and I appreciate fine attention to detail, so I incorporate that into my designs as well. I think it's important when using subtly interesting fabrics like silk noil. 

How do you source your materials?
I have a few suppliers that I know and trust. I love natural fibers, I love texture, and I love the thrill of finding a fabric that speak to me and inspires me.

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How does responsible and ethical manufacturing play into your business?
Responsibility in business should be standard practice, but it's not which I find to be pretty sad. I work closely with a family owned business that does my manufacturing. It's important to me.

What are some brands/designers that you are excited about that we should know of?
I'm in LOVE with Avocet Jewelry. Michelle was introduced to me through a friend and I was instantly smitten with not only er super cool and down to earth attitude but the way she does fine jewelry with tiny skulls, super-unique designs that look like they could be an heirloom. I have this really killer fox head necklace of hers with rubys for eyes. It's so badass.

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Why do you think it’s important to shop small and support local makers?
The value in supporting community and craft. I have so many friends who are makers and I see how much love and attention and hard work goes into everything they do. Sorry to sound like a hippy, but surrounding ourselves with people and products that have great energy is important. You can't get that feeling from a home filled with Ikea and Forever 21. 

What is your favorite thing about your workspace?
The women I get to work with every day. I have a team of talented, kind, friendly, understanding women in my studio who are so supportive and ready to learn and grow with OZMA. It feels awesome coming in every day to hang with them.

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Was there any particular person who helped shape your career in formative way?
Yes. Actually many. I've been blessed with talented, caring, and supportive female bosses during my entire career .

What makes you passionate about the work that you do?
I love feeling untethered to anything but my own intuitive decisions and creativity with OZMA. 

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What creative women do you find inspiring?
Ruth Asawa, Clare Rojas, Rebecca Solnit

What are some of your favorite places in LA?
Malibu First Point and Leo Carillo State Beach to surf, Red Rock in Topanga to hike, The Old Place up Malibu Canyon for a cozy dinner and Manuela for after-work cocktail.

 Photos by  Alexa Miller

Photos by Alexa Miller

Find Heidi at:
Website
Instagram