Not many can transition from the world of a microbiologist
to success as a fashion designer, but CAMILLA OLSON did this very thing at age
57.  She brings a scientific view
to design and has used her forward thinking to develop a new way of creating
fabulous textiles.  “Clothing must tell a
story,” she says. “and address a woman’s needs and desires.”   

Camilla was willing to answer some specific questions for
the over50feeling40 audience about her reinvention.  But, I also want to mention an interview she
did with INSPIRARE because of this quote:

Inspirare Question: Who is your target?  Progressive modern women who need to take their
clothing from day to night including baby boomers. They are a lost and
forgotten generation that easily gets dismissed by some stores… (YES,

Pam:  What was the main reason behind leaving the
health care industry to pursue fashion?

Camilla: I felt like I
reached the top of my game in that industry after 25 years. Going back to
school was not something I was longing to do, but it happened. To encourage my
daughter’s interests, I took her to the open house at the Academy of Art
University to look into the fashion program. Surprisingly, she was not as
interested as I was. At first I was excited to find a place where I could
develop my sewing skills. Quickly I realized what I had committed myself to and
was seduced by the idea of developing a label to dress my contemporaries.

Pam:  Do your think your age was a plus, a minus, or
a non-factor while you were in the Academy of Art?

 Camilla: Let’s be honest, I was a fish out of water. I felt like all
these kids had so much more talent. It was a club I didn’t belong to but I
wanted membership. It was an amazing time of discovery for me, I had some
brilliant teachers who really helped me focus my vision and refine my designs,
a time of trial an error. I never stop learning now.

Pam: What surprises
have you discovered about women 50+ and their fashion choices?

Camilla: First that
there are not enough choices for women over 50 that are wearable and modern. I
was disappointed at the response a few department stores had to my passion for
dressing my generation. They were more interested in dressing women aged 35
years than dressing the baby-boomer. My line fits a wide range of women of all
sizes, quite a few of my pieces have options for sleeves or no sleeves and you
can pick your hem length. Let’s face it by 50 we know our assets.

Pam: Please explain
as simply as possible how the iron transfer printing process(laying sheets of
metal on to fine silk) works to create unique looks.

Camilla: During school
one of my mentors was the former textile designer to Alexander McQueen, Simon
Ungless. I worked closely with Simon where I developed the iron transfer
imprinting process, which yields a soft and unique effect every time. It has a
stunning elegant effect when applied to silk and I love the idea of using
various shapes of metal to imprint upon the fabric. I have figured out a way to
do this that is non-toxic and used kitchen-table ingredients.

Pam: What advice do
you have for women who desire to leave their old lives behind and pursue their
passions after middle age?

Camilla: Do it, there
is no time like the present. Creativity is something that lives in all of us.
It will get you out of your routine and give you a new adventure every day.

Camilla is truly an inspiration and tomorrow I will model a scarf she sent my way!

Have a wonderful Monday!

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