Sally Omeme is a knitwear artist who specializes in hand-knits. Sally creates her one-of-a-kind pieces by using repurposed garments, and interesting textiles.
Q. If you could give your past self some advice, What would you tell yourself?
I would tell myself it’s your life, and it’s up to you to make it what you want. Also, just breathe.
Q. When you first started your career, how did you know you were ready and what made you start?
I was living in Vancouver. I had just finished up the Creative Arts and Business program at JCI Institute. I had volunteered at Eco Fashion Week and was inspired by the 68-pound challenge where a designer takes 68 pounds of discarded textile waste and creates a collection. I was already knitting pieces by using repurposed textiles, and I approached the crew at Eco Fashion Week to see if they would be interested in letting me showcase my work at EFW, and they gave me the go-ahead to showcase a collection of knitwear using only repurposed fabrics. Was I ready? No, but also when given an opportunity you must always take it. This was the first time I had been labelled a designer and I didn’t even have a fashion design background.
Q. What or who has been your greatest influence in business?
This is a very good question. I have to say the Canadian bands Alex Foster and the Long Shadows/ Your Favorite Enemies have been a great influence on me. I was introduced to them by one of the band members in 2006. I liked how they introduced me to their music, and invited me into their community by making me a part of the family. As a small-town girl who had aspirations I needed to be inspired. When you are surrounded by people who inspire you, your world changes. I had friends, but most of them couldn’t see my vision of how I wanted my life to be. They thought my dreams and aspirations of working in film and fashion were impossible, but suddenly I had a tribe of people, “Rockstars” who were filling me with inspiration and words of life. They were changing my narrative.
Q. What is your favourite thing about what you do in your career and why?
I love being able to envision something and see it come to life.
Q. Do you have a mantra or phrase you live by? What is it?
When studying writing, I read that the writer must discover the stakes that the character faces. In my own life when facing a challenge I love the quote by Henry Ford, “ Obstacles are what you see when you take your eye off the goal.” When facing such challenges, I often ask myself, “Sals, what are you going to do? What are your stakes?” I find this often focuses me to figure out my challenge, my obstacles. It reminds me of my inner strength to overcome. Am I always able to overcome these challenges on my own? Sometimes not. But it helps me to dig deep.
Q. What is your number one priority when it comes to your career and daily work?
People. In retail, they teach you the importance of understanding the needs and wants of the customer. In life learning to understand the needs and wants of others is crucial. Investing in others is important. People are more important than things.
Q. What keeps you motivated on a daily basis?
I love what I do. For the most part, I love when I am creating something, sometimes I run into challenges, and need to start over. During those times I think of Tim Gunn saying, “ Make it work.” Other times I put it down and take a break from that piece. If I am on a deadline trying to finish pieces for a fashion show, I just do my best and keep pushing through. I find good music, and surrounding myself with bright colours helps by keeping me energized.