Kimberly Ovitz may be only 27, but she's known she wanted to be a designer since forever. "I have wanted to do fashion since I was a little kid," the LA native told us. "I was always interested in expressing myself through clothing and explored a lot while growing up."
By "explored a lot" she means interning for J.Crew at age 14 and at W mag and Chanel in Paris while studying art history and business at Brown University (supplemented by an intensive fashion design program at Parsons). She followed that up with stints at LA labels Imitation of Christ, YaYa and Twelfth Street by Cynthia Vincent before launching her own eponymous label in 2009 at the tender age of 25. Fast forward to 2011, and Ovitz has moved to New York (where she's been showing her collection since 2010) and seen her business grow exponentially, counting Net-a-Porter, Saks Fifth Avenue, Bloomingdale's, Ron Herman, Scoop, Satine and Intermix among her stockists.
And yes, Kimberly's last name and family connections surely didn't hurt in getting her foot in the proverbial door (dad is legendary Hollywood honcho Mike Ovitz), but it's her talent and tenacity that accounts for her ongoing and well-deserved success.
Her spring 2012 collection was inspired by the earthquake in Japan and the work of Japanese architect Shigeru Ban, whose cardboard structures serve as temporary housing for disaster victims (referenced in the collection's multi-strapped draping and easy, minimalist feel), so it's with great curiosity that we wait to see what the designer has up her deconstructed sleeve for fall. In addition, Ovitz is launching shoes and handbags next year, as well as a lower priced jersey line called O By KO. She's also a passionate animal rights activist who works closely with the ASCPA and other animal welfare organizations, volunteering at small shelters and speaking out against puppy mills, among other things.
The Fashion Informer's Lauren David Peden spoke to the newly arrived East Coaster just before Thanksgiving to talk weekends, puppies and life in the Big Apple.
What did you do last weekend and what are your plans for this weekend?
I worked on Saturday because there is a lot to do for the fall '12 collection. This weekend I hope to relax and take my dogs to the dog park as well as volunteer at the animal shelter in my neighborhood.
Beverage of choice?
Juice from The Juice Press!
Tell me about your pet(s).
Two English bull dogs, MatzaBall and Lox.
Tell me about your work with the ASPCA.
I love the team at the ASPCA and what they do to help save animals. They are just one of the major organizations I work with apart from other projects I do on the side for animal welfare. I work with them on charity events, help them raise money, and I'm about to go on my first raid next month to save puppies from horrible puppy mills! Fortunately, the ASPCA has loads of volunteers so I tend to volunteer at smaller shelters that have less help and need more hands on deck to walk the dogs, clean the kennels, etc.
What's the biggest difference between life in LA and life in NY?
I get more inspired here just walking down the street, looking at all different people and how they express themselves everyday.
What do you miss most about living in Los Angeles? Least?
The weather mostly. I got a little bored cause I had been there for so long...so I don't miss that.
What do you like most about living in New York? Least?
I always get surprised here and I love that. The summer heat I definitely could live without.
When you were nine, what did you want to be when you grew up?
A fashion designer.
If you found $15,000 cash in a brown paper bag, how would you spend it?
I would start my own animal welfare fund and donate it to shelters in need across the country.
What's your favorite part of Thanksgiving dinner? Least favorite?
Sharing with your family what you are thankful for. The least is that I don't get to bring my dogs to dinner cause they stay in NYC.
How do you relax and recharge after a long, hard day at work?
Hot bath and decaf green tea.
Please look up from answering these questions and describe what you see.
A board of sketches of my new Fall '12 collection.
What's the most you've ever spent on a purchase, other than a house or car?
My dogs. Before I knew about all the amazing shelter dogs, I stupidly bought a pure bred. As much as I love them, I made the wrong decision. Always ADOPT!
What freaks you out?
When people are fake.
When are you happiest?
When I'm helping save animals lives.