Trying to find one’s passion can be a futile exercise in life, but the best path is when the passion finds the person. Nathalie Loma’s mother had to provide for her family when her husband suddenly died two months after Nathalie was born. Having to support herself and her newborn daughter, she taught herself to sew and began to work as a seamstress. She then decided to specialize in custom designs to create evening gowns out of colorful African fabric made of rich cotton. “I remember my mother looking at the fabric and asking what the fabric wanted to be, as if it would speak to her. She would sew all day and sometimes all night to finish a dress. Clients would come to our home for fittings, and I was my mother’s helper; she handed the garments to me to finish, so I added the buttons and completed the hems and trim.” From infancy, Nathalie grew up watching her mother make beautiful clothes for others to provide for her family; as she watched and assisted, she fell in love with fashion.
At 12 years old, Nathalie created her first pattern for a simple A-line dress and completed it on her mother’s sewing machine. When it was time for her to go to college, she made her own dresses to wear to school. Soon after, she says, students commented on “loving my dresses and asking me to make a dress for them.” As she agreed to design custom dresses for friends at school, word got around, and Nathalie became sought-after for her dress designs.
She pursued her degree, but she felt called to create fashion. As with most gifted geniuses, passion takes precedence over a chosen study. Nathalie began to choose fabrics with the same passion as her mother did — feeling as though the material was speaking to her, telling her what style to create for each special occasion. She was drawn to all types of specialty fabrics — sequins, beaded, embroidery, silks, brocades, cotton, linen, satin, lace, organza, chiffon and more, and she began styling cocktail and formal dresses as well as wedding dresses for brides and their bridal parties. Her business grew with each fabric and style, unique not only in the design, but also fitted for each woman’s particular figure. Nathalie Loma then ventured out in making a unique costume for the national 2021 USA Petite Pageant, Mrs. Division, worn by Mrs. Illinois. The costume was made of purple stretch sequins, rhinestones and violet flowers to represent Illinois. The costume won the award, even though Mrs. Illinois did not win.
Nathalie Loma is the solo creator, an entrepreneur and one-person business, creating unique styles for each of the materials she finds, choosing international specialty fabrics not commonly seen, sewing each dress by hand and customizing the fit to each woman’s figure as only a true creator can do. Although she completed her degree, her genius for creating unique dress designs for each person won her time. She moved from a store in the far western suburbs of Chicago to a shop conveniently located steps from the Nordstrom store entrance on Michigan Avenue. Here her store is filled with one-of-a-kind formal gowns in all styles and types, from wedding dresses and veils to luxurious formals, each one more unusual and breathtaking than the last.
Nathalie Loma has come a long way from that little girl in Cameroon watching her mother sew. Her mother’s talent for creating party dresses made of colorful African cottons in Cameroon had a long-lasting effect on her daughter. Nathalie now enjoys her mother assisting her as she creates memorable gowns that could easily be displayed in a museum of elegant and luxurious living. Loma’s brand is here to stay because creative genius cannot be stopped. For now, Chicago is home, but perhaps the next step will lead to the fashion world of Milan. Her runway gowns will be sought after by the rich and famous, as they give each woman a chance to become that princess for the evening in America. An important life lesson is to study whatever interests you, but never deny or delay creating a passion outside of that study. You never know where it will lead.
Email career and life coach: [email protected] Ms. Novak responds to all emails. For more information, visit www.lindseynovak.com and for past columns, see www.creators.com/features/At-Work-Lindsey-Novak. COPYRIGHT 2021 CREATORS.COM