With two Olympics, multiple World Champs, American records and pinnacle moments in road races all over the world, there's no question Kara knows running. And it's pretty clear that she doesn't just KNOW running, she lives it, breathes it, loves it.
I'm happy to share that in the four amazing years of working together -- she's just as obsessed with great apparel as we are. We've had so many conversations, I know her likes and dislikes (yes to short-shorts, loose pants, puffy coats, and anything with owls; no to bra cups, tight waistbands, and too much black).
I love Kara's design input because it's always requests for freedom and simplicity: celebrating a body in motion, out in the world. And because she knows how to persevere, outside, through all climates, from the high mountain Colorado heat to the deep freeze of her Minnesota roots, I know she puts everything to the test. (As a proud designer aside, I have to add that I LOVE hearing Kara tell me how much her mom and sisters love Oiselle too. Kendall, Kelly, and Mama Patty...I'm so happy you #flystyle with us!)
Kara was in Seattle last weekend, and I got to catch up with her about life - and get her thoughts on her 2018 collection!
SALLY: Last year was our first year doing a Kara Collection. The sleeveless hoodie is a bit of a cult classic. What is it you love about this style - which some would argue is a warm garment without the practicality of its sleeves!
KARA: I love anything sleeveless. I also love cozy. Sometimes I want to be cozy but still have my arms breathe and move. I had a sleeveless hoodie over a decade ago and it is one of the only items of clothing I have truly worn out. It was perfect to throw on after a run, on my way to the gym, with jeans, shorts, or sweats. I love my arms free but my body cozy.
SB: We now call the lightweight fleece in the Kara collection "the Kara Fleece"...what's your favorite part of this fabric?
KG: I love that it is cozy and soft, but still lightweight. It feels substantial but doesn’t feel heavy. It can go warm weather or cold. It’s really versatile.
SB: You've seen the updates to your collection, what do you think?
KG: I’m loving the outside pocket on the pants. It’s in a function place without adding any bulk. And I love that the hem on the sweatshirts is a bit more relaxed. I hate things that are tight on my waist and that little extra hem sits better on my waist.
SB: Your 2018 collection comes in two new colors: Cosmos and Black. What are you vibing on?
KG: I LOVE Cosmos, the pale blue. It's so pretty and easy to wear with anything. And the black is nice too...it has a slightly heathered look, giving it that vintage hoodie feel, and of course, it's already so soft!
SB: And the new She-Roes Drop Shoulder Tee is you running on the track at the CU track (University of Colorado, Boulder). It's a place with a lot of history for you. What are the feelings you get on that track?
KG: So much of my career has been built on that track. Endless dreams were dreamt there, so many painful miles, so many exhilarating ones. I discovered who I am and what I wanted on that track. It’s a powerful place for me.
SB: What do you think of the new Tee-Lux fabric - used in all the graphic tees?
KG: It’s amazing. The way it slides across your body is fantastic. The way it stretches just the right amount, the weight of it - it’s perfection for a tee.
SB: The new Birds Everywhere Swing Tank... when we designed that, it felt very Kara to me. What do you like about the swing tank silhouette?
KG: I love that it’s a tad longer and looser. That it has movement when you move, it really is alive when you walk. And the detail of the bird print is on point. It’s simple and yet perfect.
SB: So I've learned you don't like thumb holes. Can you elaborate?
KG: Lol. I’m sorry for all the thumb hole lovers out there! My wrists have to get air when I’m running. Even when it’s freezing out. If my wrists can’t breathe, I feel like I’m suffocating. My sleeves are always slightly pushed up. And that’s why gloves and mittens are so important to me. I need that space open on my wrists, but I hate cold fingers.
SB: At one you point, you chastised me (in good humor) for not having bigger, bolder Oiselle logos on our apparel. What does it mean to you to rock the O?
KG: I’m proud to wear Oiselle!! I understand that you don’t want it in everyone’s face, but I want people to know what I’m wearing. I just remember going to a press conference for the NYC Marathon in 2014. No doubt I was the best dressed athlete there, but my leggings, long sleeve, and vest were all logo-less. That’s when I knew we needed to have a conversation;)
SB: We had a photo shoot last week. It was so much fun seeing you in all the styles. What were some of your favorites?
KG: I love the Lux Bralette. I wear a sports bra all of the time and I’m so excited to have this new “fancier” bra. It is so comfortable and the cut is so flattering. (Make that cut into a swim top next season please). The Lux Funnel Neck is such a lovely comfortable and functional piece. I love it. And the Lux Flow Tights are great. It’s hard to get a tight that holds it all in without feeling like too much compression or restrictive. It flows with your body. Notice a pattern here? Loving the lux!
SB: What's your favorite Spandos print?
SB: What's a style we no longer make, you'd like to see come back?
KG: Stride short mini - you know I like my little shorts!
SB: Last question, what are the top 3-4 things in your bag for Big Birdcamp?
Bring on camp!