Any office professional can attest to the discomfort of even the most expensive brand of work wear. Pencil skirts can be tight and restricting while three-piece suits can be just as inhibiting. Los Angeles-based clothing designer Claire Ortiz is looking to reimagine these classic pieces, using her various experience working in sports apparel to create a new line that is stylish, comfortable and downright luxurious.
Ortiz’s company called Ortiz Industry, is the amalgamation of the designer’s time spent designing apparel and leading branding teams at Esprit, Wilson and Nike, where she helped start Michael Jordan’s multimillion-dollar brand. After working for so long in huge corporations designing sportswear, Ortiz wanted to use her knowledge and experience gained to bring a new level of comfort and technological sophistication to another line of clothing: workwear.
“We aren’t just a fashion company. We’re looking at society, at real life, real people, real things, and providing clothing that’s different from anything out there,” Ortiz said to the OC Register.
For Ortiz and co-founder Heather Park, the need for technical clothing in the office was obvious and paramount as workers can be severely restricted in productivity by ill-fitting, uncomfortable clothing.
“Every piece has to add value,” said Park. “We want people to stop worrying about appearance, sweating, fidgeting, and just focus on the task at hand. We study the way the world is changing in ways of commuting and movement and take all of that into consideration.”
Luxury Brand Looks to Redefine Workwear
Pieces of Ortiz’s line range from $110 to $400 a piece, and are well-worth the price tag in terms of style and comfort. Designers of the brand decided to take careful consideration of every day concerns for workers and have committed to incorporating them into their pieces of clothing. Ortiz’s version of the pencil skirt, for example, is called the Monday knit skirt and is integrated compression layer built in, eliminating the need for any type of shapewear garment.
“We always challenge ourselves and our designers to create products where you’re thinking more three-dimensionally,” explains Ortiz. “The body is a three-dimensional, round thing, not a flat piece.”
Ortiz hopes to change not just how her consumers look at clothing, but how people around the world look at fitness and physical activity. She hopes to be able to inspire people to work physical activity into their every day lives, just as we incorporate work. Ortiz’s purpose-built apparel can help commuters burn calories by biking or walking a few miles to work every day without having to worry about wrinkled clothes or freshening up with a shower due to clothing that doesn’t breathe.
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