Q&A: Wai Ming Designer Emily Brady Koplar

Staff Writer
Columbus Monthly

Emily Brady Koplar at Thread

Last time we checked in with designer Emily Brady Koplar, she had recently launched clothing line Wai Ming. Now three years later, Capital Style chatted with Koplar last week when she visited Thread on Grandview for a trunk show. Based in St. Louis and made in New York, Wai Ming is known for its organic and feminine styles-Koplar notes dresses as her most popular designs (they typically retail for $300 to $500). You'll currently find her spring and summer collection at Thread, and her fall pieces will arrive in store from July to October (A reason to keep shopping? Sign us up.). Koplar, 34, dished on her designs and inspiration.

How has Wai Ming evolved over the years?

A lot has happened … each season you feel like you hit these milestones. We've had some celebrities wearing the clothes. Taryn Manning from "Orange is the New Black" picked the items out on her own. Trista Sutter from "The Bachelorette" shops at a store where we sell, and the owner connected us.

How do you describe Wai Ming to those who haven't shopped the line before?

Customers will find it's very clean and modern with a feminine twist. Everything is architectural but soft. I'm very inspired by architecture, and fabric when I'm fabric hunting and sourcing. My parents grow orchids-the shapes and the colors of the flowers can inspire me. And I travel a lot.

What was your inspiration for your current collection?

My spring inspiration was from a trip to India-the Jantar Mantar. It's in Jaipur. It's a really cool sculpture park. All the sculptures are astronomical instruments. The sculptures are huge and made out of marble and coral-hued sandstone. That's where the color palette came from.

And what will we see for fall?

It's inspired by the terrazzo look … an exploded terrazzo. There are more angular details and pleat inserts. The leather pieces are a mix of structured and feminine, hard and soft.

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-Heather Weekley, @heather_weekley

Koplar calls the Selena dress "the iconic piece for the season."