Carrie Underwood traveled to Los Angeles last week to promote her Calia by Carrie Underwood activewear, ath-leisure and swim line, which launched two years ago in 697 Dick’s Sporting Goods stores nationwide. The brand, which is represented by IMG, took over an estate in Malibu to host a workout in Calia alongside Underwood and her celebrity trainer Eve Overland. The day included a vegan cooking demonstration and lunch prepared by Crossroads owner and chef Tal Ronnen, and a preview of the late summer collections with Anne Muir, women’s apparel and accessories buyer for Dick’s.
The Grammy-winning country singer, who is in Pittsburgh this week to cheer on her NHL player husband Mike Fisher as the Nashville Predators take on the Pittsburgh Penguins in the Stanley Cup finals (she may also stop by Dick’s headquarters there), took a moment to chat about being a lead designer for the line, and how her everyday “normal person” needs help to drive its development.
WWD: The pink floral decor seems very authentic to you and your brand.
Carrie Underwood: Maybe that’s why I feel so relaxed. It’s beautiful here. But it’s easy talking to everybody about something you love.
WWD: Was it a longtime dream of yours to design a line?
C.U.: I don’t know that I ever thought an opportunity like this would ever present itself to me. I try my best to live a healthy lifestyle and was always looking for clothes to help me along the way. When Dick’s Sporting Goods approached [my management team] I was like, “Yes!” I didn’t even know it was my dream until they were like, “Here it is.” Whole new doors have opened up. I have people coming to meet-and-greets telling me, “I’ve lost this much [weight]” or “I feel this way now” and it’s such a cool thing to be able to play a small part of people improving their lives. Women really do support each other. I feel we hear a lot about negativity in the world but it’s been cool to see women there for each other.
WWD: How has your role and the line evolved in two years?
C.U.: When we first started, I was like, “I have never done this before. Am I going to have valid ideas? How is this going to be when I walk in there? Then I realized this is my life. I’m your busy mom/friend/wife tying to run around town and get all my chores done and work out. It was like, “What do I want?’ because I am a normal person with just a pretty cool job, so it was fun to come in and be like, “I need some place to put my phone when I run.” I love being able to come in and bring little touches like that. With every collection it gets better.
WWD: What have you learned since becoming a designer for Calia, which you also have an equity stake in?
C.U.: “I definitely feel like I am better on the creative and practical side of things. I really am that person who comes in with pictures of details or the shirt my friend wore last Thursday, and I say, “What about if we implemented something like that into one of our tops?” That part is kind of fun to me. I’m always seeking feedback and keeping my eyes open in stores and looking to what’s trendy. And also trying everything out myself. There are always things that can be improved upon.
WWD: How do you compartmentalize all the different parts of your life, between being a wife, mother, performer and designer?
C.U.: That’s just being a woman. We all do different things but we all do a million things. Women are multitaskers by nature. It’s like we all have different jobs but there’s a lot going on. I think it’s cool to have things in my life that make that easier.
WWD: What are some of your favorite pieces from the Calia collection you’re showing today?
C.U.: I love the white core fitted jacket. I think spring pieces should be a little lighter, a little fresh. White could be dangerous if you have a toddler like I do. I take him to school then I put my jacket on.
WWD: What’s the one thing that inspires your designs the most?
C.U.: Seeing how people all over the place live and what they do and what they need. It’s cool to get to visit different places and soak it all in. I love floral and girly things and that’s definitely ingrained in Calia, to be strong and feminine and beautiful as well. I like to think you can see that in what we do.
WWD: You have 5.9 million Instagram followers. What’s your approach to social media?
C.U.: I try to just keep everything as real as possible. Nothing’s too calculated. I always feel like you can kind of tell when some celebrities are. I just try to keep it me and real, and if people like it, then that’s cool.
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