Calgarian born designer Michelle Watson founded MICHI athletic wear in New York in 2010. A desirable fusion of provocative, stylish and utilitarian sportswear, the brand combines Watson's love of high fashion and sport. Capturing the essence of a strong and confident woman, MICHI styles are immaculately constructed and expertly contoured, created to fit, flatter, and function.
1. How did you get into fashion design?
It was the beginning of the Beverly Hills 90210 era but I was instead obsessed with Gianni Versace, Chanel, Christian Lacroix and the supermodels. I even wrote to YM magazine to convince them to feature high fashion rather than the same old 90210 characters. I taught myself to sew as a child because my mother wouldn't buy me the (now hideous) pastel pink ditsy floral Guess short-overalls that I so desperately wanted and I continued making my own clothes from then on. In University I studied business with the intention to run a successful fashion business. Years later I moved to New York to study fashion design at Parsons School of Design, followed by some great fashion design gigs and now I'm finally doing my own thing!
2. Why did you decide to focus on sports and dance wear?I've always been an athlete and in the past 12 years a dancer, so every day I would need to wear boring athletic clothing. I felt like most of the sport brands were safe and masculine with a lack of originality. Even my favorite sport brands didn't have a comfortable or flattering feminine fit. I knew people were very tired of the same popular yoga and athletic brands. At that time I was working within the RLX Ralph Lauren design team so I was immersed in athletic wear and in a luxury environment with plenty of inspiration. It became clear to me that sports and dance wear was a growing niche market that I could conquer. I knew I could design outfits that would make women want to dance, fight or hit the gym - just so they could wear MICHI. I want to pioneer a change in the world of active wear.
3. What is your favourite MICHI style to workout in?
The Lioness Bra (black cut-out bra) with Illusion Pant (bikini detail pant with mesh inserts). I wear them both all the time and I get a lot of unexpected positive attention.