Instagram is probably one of my top five favourite things about the 21st century, so far. One of the reasons is that I have met so many lovely people via the app in the last couple of years; one of those being Shamiza Ali, girl boss and designer of a local apparel brand, Edna SMaK. Yep, Edna SMaK. Just the name made me want to further explore, and she designs lofely clothes that work for every body. She is a super sweet girl with a motivating entrepreneurial spirit, and I am so excited to share a little collaboration we worked on together for a pair of leggings. But first, a little bit about her!
WCCG: Give us the goods.
Shamiza: I’m a 29 year old born in Vancouver and raised on the mean streets of Surrey. Well, just regular Surrey. Maple syrup runs through my veins and I sweat smoked salmon. Kidding, lol, But I do love being a Canadian. Edna is actually a side hustle; my full-time job is selling elevators. Edna is something I started on the side with my spare time and I haven’t looked back since. Some randoms: I have 4 pet chickens. I attended UBC after doing a couple years at college. I have quite a few little certification things. I have an MOA Certificate, Diploma of General Studies and a Bachelor of Art – Psych Major. I come from a family of tailors, so designing clothes wasn’t a far stretch for me. I’ve been designing and doing fashion-type things since I was a kid and made my first shirt when I was in the 6th grade. In grade 10 textiles class, I did so poorly that the teacher asked if I wanted to drop the class. So, in your face, teach!
(I’m also beginning another business venture along side Edna and that is Karb’d. Karb’d is Artisan Style Keto Bread. I follow a ketogenic diet and it’s very, very low carb and I was starting to crave bread. So I made some and was encouraged to maybe start marketing this. And on top of everything else, I am starting a few charity lines within Edna. I will be making and selling t-shirts for Diabetes, Dementia, and Cystic Fibrosis research. Each will have its own title and blurb as to why I’ve chosen these charities. They all have a little story and hold a very dear spot in my heart. More on both soon!)
WCCG: Girl, you’ve got skills, in your face teach, indeed! And I’m exhausted for you, but you seem to have energy for days! Okay, let’s start with the question I asked you when we first sat down for hot chocolates at Blenz… Where did the name Edna SMaK come from??
Shamiza: Edna SMaK has two parts to it. The Edna portion comes from the movie The Incredibles. I fell in love with Edna Mode in the movie and when I was trying to think of a company, I kept coming back to this. What she did in the movie was design for superheroes and in my eyes, everyday people working hard, kicking butt, trying to make a better life for themselves and the people around them are superheroes.
The SMaK was actually a joke. It stands for Shamiza and Katrina. Kat is my best friend and she really pushed me to start doing this. I was really hesitant about it all and she was my that voice in my head that told me I could do this. I wanted to honour her because without her initially push and support, there would be no Edna.
WCCG: On your site, you talk about creating your clothes to be affordable, trendsetting, and able to fit any body type no matter what size is on the tag. Coming from a place of what can occasionally very intense body insecurity, I love this positive message. Why
was this important for you with your brand when you first getting ready to launch.
Shamiza: This was huge and the main message I wanted to be associated with Edna. I’ve always been a bigger girl….always! I was a chunky baby and a husky kid and never seemed to drop it. As a teenager, going shopping with friends was a nightmare. I could never really try anything on with them because most times I didn’t fit into anything or it didn’t fit right and I felt so embarrassed and uncomfortable and really kind of resented myself. As an adult, the feeling really didn’t change. I just started shopping alone, so I wouldn’t feel that way and go into stores where I knew I would have success. But it was costing me a small fortune to go shopping for basic things! It’s appalling what plus size clothing costs. I don’t know what some designers think… we aren’t richer the bigger our tag size….we still work normal jobs…and I know it is not that much more work.
But I wanted to create something, where everyone could go, buy affordable clothing, trending pieces at a reasonable amount. Being a bigger girl, finding anything reasonable priced, in style and not fire retardant or cut in a rectangle is difficult. I wanted to end that. I want my site to include everyone and give everyone an equal chance to purchase something they love and not have to walk away because it isn’t made in their size.
WCCG: As with many lovely people I’ve met in the last couple of years, we met on Instagram and have a mutual friend in Nina from Ninaworldwideblog. (We love Nina!) How do you find Instagram and social media have helped Edna SMaK grow as a company?
Shamiza: Yayyy Nina!! For growing Edna and getting the word out, it has been amazing. A little cruel with the follows and unfollows, but it’s been great. It’s my only form of advertising for my company and if done right I know I can draw a lot of business. I think I’m just inept at the whole thing. Once I was on Insta I grew my following from 80ish people in December to close 190 by March and that’s just me being on there minimally.
WCCG: What inspires you with your designs?
Shamiza: Everything. It could be a pattern or design I saw or inspo from a designer. It comes from everywhere. My biggest ones are the weather and things I want to wear. I love stylizing, but you can’t always find all the perfect pieces, so I just make them.
WCCG: Which you literally did for me! What is your favourite part of the design process?
Shamiza: The whole thing. Ha. I love it, beginning to end. I love designing and seeing where I end up. I’ll usually start with an idea or something I saw and by the end of it, it’s something completely different. The pattern making let’s me take my inner nerd out and do the geometry and math side of things. And sewing is the watching it all come together. I bought what was once just a random thought I had while I should’ve been working to life. (Actually, I lied, I don’t like the whole thing – I hate cutting fabric. Despise it. I’m so afraid I’m going to make a mistake. I usually need to go for walk and calm myself down before I do it.)
WCCG: Let’s talk about our baby… the leggings! I LOVE mine – thank you so much for bringing my vision to life. I love the Vancouver skyline – we live in such a gorgeous place – and now I can have it with me no matter where I am, in true West Coast City Girl style! And there’s a gusset (coming from a dance and yoga background, this is an important thing!) Where did this skyline image come from – I noticed you have it in some of your other pieces.
Shamiza: I am ecstatic that you love them! That makes my heart so happy! I feel like I’ve done something right and am headed in the right direction. The skyline….was actually something I saw on a Nike gift card. It was a skyline of a city and it was a line drawing. And I started thinking to myself, it would be cool if I did one up. We have a beautiful city with some very iconic spots So, I went to my graphics guy, and 10 minutes later, we had that image and I was in love.
(Click on an image to enlarge.)
WCCG: If you could tell your pre-design diva self ONE thing, what would that be?
Shamiza: It gets better. What you are going through is preparing you for what is about to come. It will make you a stronger and better individual. Trust what is happening.
WCCG: What is your favourite quote?
Shamiza: There’s always a wild side to an innocent face. And anything Dumbledore ever said to Harry, especially the light one.
Isn’t she a spark?? Her energy is contagious and she has definitely lit a fire under my dormant entrepreneurial butt! But back to leggings… Shamiza and I worked together to create a crop legging in a good fabric that would be the ideal yoga/workout legging, versatile enough to get a girl from yoga to brunch, or just out and about to multi-task (as we West Coast City Girls do! Why I love them, and why they were made as they are:
- Cropped because I wanted to let my butterfly tattoo breathe, but mostly because I prefer a cropped legging
- Breathable, high-quality black nylon/spandex blend; perfect for yoga or being on the go
- 3″ wide, mid-rise waistband with back pocket for credit cards or keys
- Triangular gusset for comfort and ease of movement – if you grew up dancing like I did, you know this is a key feature!
- Silk-screen printed Vancouver skyline, because I am a very proud, born and bred Vancouverite
- $65 CAD plus GST. Because quality and comfort should be affordable!
Shop these leggings at EdnaSMaK.com – they go live TODAY! To celebrate our collaboration, Shamiza has given me a special discount code for my readers and followers. For 10% off your cropped skyline leggings purchase at EdnaSMaK.com, enter code WCCG10!
Shamiza Ali, Edna SMaK / Social: @EdnaSMaK / www.ednasmak.com
“Happiness can be found in the darkest of times, if one only remembers to turn on the light.” ~ Dumbledore (as written by the fabulous J. K. Rowling)