As we all know, the virus outbreak has lead to many conventions forcing cancellation for the safety of their attendees. I love being able to conduct mini interviews with guests and indie designers about their works during these events...SO I WILL CONTINUE TO DO THAT! Just...digitally!! (for these posts, I'm calling them digi-views. Digital Interviews.....you know....you get it...LOL)
I still want to be able to spread the word about people's creations and help to promote them, so I am starting this "MINI Digital KAWAII IINTERVIEWS" project! I hope you can learn some interesting things about the designers and creators that I will post about!
The first digi-view is with Ota-Q Apparel! This super colourful brand is located in Texas (the ye-haw kei state of the world)
Callie - Designer and Owner of Ota-Q Apparel
I met Callie around this time of year in 2019 at Tekko. (Happy Meeting-aversary!) It was my first time attending Tekko and, actually, I was modeling for Ota-Q Apparel in the fashion show! After meeting Callie, I knew our energies were a great match and I'd say it was a great start to a friendship that I hope will grow even more!
(Photo editing by Callie, I was a kawaii clown!)
Callie started their brand in 2017, with a soft launch in April, and the official launch on June 16th! The message they would like to convey with Ota-Q is that "Anyone can be kawaii!" After finding it difficult to purchase clothing for their body type, they wanted to make the situation a little better for everyone by proving clothing for all types of people.
I asked Callie out of all the pieces they've designed, which are they most proud of/which is the most favourite. They replied with:
"UGH THAT IS SO HARD. I swear whenever I see a customer photo I have to hold my back from saying “that’s my favorite!” cause I love all my stuff so much. I don’t really follow what’s trendy with my stuff, but make things that I like and want to wear?? Right now, I think my favorite designs are the more OOT, “costumey” pieces like my Planet Ota-Q dress. I’ve definitely been leaning more towards “lewks” when I dress up. I wear my magical girl collection and pleated skirts the most when it comes to casual fashion."
(Planet Ota-Q Dress and Magical Girl Collection pieces in above photos)
I also asked Callie about some future projects they're working on! They responded two words: ANIMAL CROSSING! With the recent release of Animal Crossing: New Horizons, it seems like a VERY appropriate theme for people to look forward too!!
"It’s been a huge part of my life and I couldn’t hold in my excitement for New Horizons. I mixed that 80’s fancy aesthetic with the super cute characters from the game and am sooo happy with the results!"
(Look at these adorable pieces Callie made! They are posted on instagram, so be sure to go take a look for more!)
Lastly, I asked Callie what is something they're most proud of:
"Honestly, how far I’ve gotten in this career and how I’ve been able to help others because of it. I’ve had to persevere through both mental and physical chronic illnesses and other things like this virus that felt catastrophic or career-ending. A lot of people don’t realize how often I’ve been stuck in bed or hospitalized, then back on the con floor the next weekend. Behind every fashion show and photo shoot there’s a panic attack or body-wrecking sick day that lead up to it. This job takes a lot out of me, but I wouldn’t change it for the world. Part of the reason I made my face so connected to my brand is because I want to motivate and inspire others. I want people to KNOW and TRUST me and I want to make things better for all of us! I’ve been using Ota-Q and Kei Club as a springboard to promote other artists, bring light to social issues, and overall try to improve be the j-fashion community. 2020 has been extremely rough for me and I won’t be able to do nearly as much as I planned. We’ve done a couple things like Spirit Week to keep everyone sane during these hard times, but that’s only the tip of the iceberg! I have some larger projects up my sleeve that could not only help our niche community, but change the way outsiders view us as well. I am absolutely humbled to have a platform where I’m able to spread my passion and help out community and want to do so, so much more in the future!"
Thanks for answering Callie! And thank you all for reading. Be sure to check out the Ota-Q social networks and website, and check out our other blog posts on KAWAII INTERVIEWS, events I've attended, and more!