I recently had the privilege of being invited to the International Spa Association’s Conference and Expo (ISPA) in Las Vegas, and one of the standout exhibitors was a young Canadian woman named Noel Asmar. Noel designs the most sleek,chic, fashion forward uniforms that I have ever seen. Think Bond Girl meets Star Trek. What makes them super fabulous is that they are created for all body types from petite to Bootylicious, in sizes XS-2XL. Depending upon the style her color selections are Black, Gray, White or Chocolate. And did I mention that they are also practical as they stretch in all the right places and are machine washable.
Noels’ background is in hotel management. She began working with the Lebanese family who owns the Metropole in Monaco (a Leading Hotel of the World) and when they later expanded their business to Beirut she was a member of their opening team, responsible for sales and marketing. But in between these stints she worked at another hotel where she interacted with members of the housekeeping staff. The team was comprised of women, many of whom had little outside means of acquiring shoes or clothing. It was here that she realized the power that looking good would bring to their ability to perform. “The first thing I wanted to do was to get them into a great uniform, which made them feel more dignified, well dressed, empowered and professional which gave them respect from clients.” When she ordered custom made uniforms for them and witnessed their emotional reactions it had a life and career changing impact on her.
As she is tall and modelesque I wondered where her empathy came from for women of larger sizes. She shared with me that she has been pregnant four times and has on each occasion gained an average of 75+lbs, fluctuating about 4 sizes. (How many of us can relate to having multiple sizes in our closets?)
Noel says that her focus is always about the fit. “It’s important, you can’t just scale a uniform up or down and expect a flattering fit for a range of XXS to a size 18 or 20. So we test and fine tune using real bodies like my own, we don’t use contemporary models or mannequins”. She says that living in North American you have to be realistic, men and women come in a wide range of heights and sizes. “I can’t fathom designing a uniform program and having a business come to me and I can only accommodate size x-small to size 10. I’m designing to empower everyone, so each team feels like a unit. And if you are pregnant we will design for you so that you can still wear the same uniform as the rest of your team!”
Well, what’s not to love about this designer? She is genuine, smart, forward thinking, global minded and makes us look great. I am now wearing her designs, and it has made my life so much simpler. By the way, Noel also designs for men. http://noelasmaruniforms.com/
Linda Harding-Bond is an international spa trainer specializing in multicultural markets and author of The New Esthy Handbook, Amazon.com http://lindatheskindiva.com/