Meet Design Forward Semi-Finalist Omi Woods


With just more than a week left before Design Forward 2017, we want to continue sharing these personal stories about our semi-finalists. So the second Design Forward feature this week is with Ashley McFarlane, the designer behind Omi Woods.

1. What is your design inspiration?

I’m inspired by indigenous textiles, ancient draping, high-fashion, street style and the works of other African-inspired fashion designers, and what my friends and clients are comfortable in.

2. What is your favourite piece from your collection? Why?

I would have to say the Anya Maxi Dress. It’s made with a jersey material, so it’s super comfy, but still elegant. It’s like wearing a sweatshirt and sweatpants to a formal event. Can’t wait to start making this design with recycled polyesters. 

3. What is your morning routine?

I wake up and reflect on the day for a bit in bed. Check my email and see if there are any fires to put out. I make a smoothie, have some tea, eat my oats and head to work to my workspace at the Joe Fresh Centre for Fashion Innovation. 

4. What makes your collection sustainable?

We are transitioning to using more sustainable materials, but I would say one thing that has always been sustainable is the way we treat the people who work for us, and the way we approach our work. We’ve developed slowly because I’m really interested in making sure those I work with are happy. I don’t think we can make a good product that will last, or have a business that will go on into the ages, if people don’t love what they’re doing. Being more environmentally sustainable naturally evolves from that, because we want to feel that what we’re doing doesn’t harm anything. As the indigenous folks of this land say, we want to consider all of our relations. 

Design Forward

For Tickets and information on Design Forward 2017 click here