My name is Gita Omri Brown. I am a Fashion Designer and Artist based in New York City. Born and raised in Israel, in a religious community, fashion was not something that was considered an important part of life. Not only were there religious restrictions to what one could wear, “trendy” clothes that were portrayed in magazines and movies were not readily available in the 90’s in Israel, and had to be bought abroad or ordered from catalogues.
Land’s End was my mother’s one stop shop for the five of us. That was our high fashion! And if you were lucky in the case of my baby sister, you got to wear those clothes forever. Spending summers in the United States opened up our closet a bit wider to selections from Old Navy, GAP, Limited Too, and of course the coveted Delia’s. Seventeen Magazine became our wish list, and with every issue and every visit we challenged the religious restrictions just a tiny bit more. ½” shorter sleeves, “Skorts” (skirts with hidden shorts underneath), just a smidge wider necklines, mini skirts if we wore leggings underneath- “we promise, we promise” was our mantra. The transformation reached its peak when one of my sisters decided to tie a hair scarf around her chest and call it a top!
I keep talking about we as if I got to share in these experiences. I was definitely there but always on the sideline, always the adviser. I grew up a fat girl in a gaggle of skinny beautiful sisters, so shopping for me was torture! I waited around for hours while my sisters got to try on the coolest clothing, darting in and out of the dressing room looking like an Olsen twin, or Mandy Moore in the Candy video, all the while not understanding why I was not as good as them and bubbling with self hatred for how I looked and how I was different. My mom would try and make me feel better when it was my turn to shop. She would take me to Avenue or Lane Bryant, which are NOTHING like they are today, to rummage and search for things that I could “make work” for myself. I became obsessed with accessories. Anything that could help me enhance my outfit without a size tag! To this day I have a ridiculous collection of earrings and statement necklaces, bangles from my college days, and more bags then I can store in my NYC apartment.
Although there is less self-loathing involved, even today should a “skinny” friend invite me to go shopping, I make a direct line to the accessory section because I know it is safe. Fortunately for me, and the sizeable group of American plus size women, there has been much development in the plus size market over the last five years- yet it is still segregated.
Why must requiring plus size clothing still be something to be ashamed of?
The culture we have been forced to deal with is “hide the undesirable girl”, whether it is through design, with shapeless tents of dark colors and nun-like coverage or through shameful placement in stores if carried at all, Not to mention, the tiny amount of advertising that does not portray the “not size 0” woman as mumsy and boring.
Body positivity is finally gaining traction. Women of all shapes and sizes are demanding that the fashion industry and the world stop telling them why they are not good enough. Why they are less worthy of feeling beautiful and sexy. Gita Omri is on that train!
With my personal experiences in mind, I am creating a brand that is all about removing the divide between the sizing groups and promoting body positivity and self-confidence. Using my own body as a guide I am able to determine the silhouettes and fit issues associated with plus size clothing and design a collection that is more universally flattering. My hope for Gita Omri is that it becomes a brand that makes all women feel empowered, beautiful and important. That we get ourselves to a place where we regard that damn size tag as a tool meant to help us buy clothing rather than equate it with our self worth.
Always remember #YOUAREBEAUTIFUL
Hope you like it,