Meet Claudia RomanaFeb 9th, 2009 | By Editor | Category: Features, In The Hole!, The designers
One glance at designer Claudia Romana’s website and you know you’re seeing something special. This is golf clothing that will make you feel both athletic and stylish — at the same time. So it’s no surprise that Claudia is a passionate golfer herself who began designing women’s golf apparel out of her love for the game — and the realization that women need golf clothing that helps them feel confident on the course.
It’s also no surprise that savvy LPGA pros have chosen Claudia’s apparel, including 16th-ranked Candie Kung and Swedish golfer Anna Knutsson.
We met Claudia at the 2009 PGA merchandise show and followed up with her afterward to learn more about her approach to golf apparel design. Here’s what she had to say!
WGA: Your website describes you as “an experienced fashion designer.” Where did you get your start? What were you designing before you founded
CR: I used to work for a variety of companies. My last job, and incidentally the longest one was with J.Crew.
WGA: What is it about Katherine Hepburn that captures your imagination?
CR: I absolutely LOVED the movie Pat and Mike. It was so funny and she showed such spunk and modern spirit. She also showed vulnerability.
When I saw her other movies I just liked her sense of style which for the times was quite eclectic and scandalous. (Trousers on a WOMAN! Imagine that!) She also had a great sense of humor and was not afraid to speak out.
WGA: You’ve said that golf is more than a sport, it’s “a frame of mind.” In your experience, does wearing the right clothes help you get into a certain frame of mind on the course?
CR: I think if a woman feels comfortable and beautiful it reflects on her confidence in every way of life.
In golf it is very important to feel confident in order to play well. I try to design outfits that make a woman feel pretty and stylish, while she has all she needs to play golf. I like form AND function.
When I got more serious about my game I could not find golf clothing that suited my taste. So I made outfits for myself. Women stopped me on the course and wanted to order pieces off my back . . . that is how I got started.
WGA: What trends do you see emerging today in women’s golf apparel?
CR: There is a trend towards easy care and performance. However, not at the cost of style. Women are more demanding in that respect. Men may be happy with a plain shirt that makes them sweat less, but women want more than that.
WGA: Has your thinking about your designs changed since your last collection?
CR: Every season I learn. Every season I evolve. There are basics that I cannot do without but I often look back at past collections and think: “Wow, I did THAT????” I have come a long way.
WGA: How would you describe your current collection?
CR: For spring, it is all about color! In this environment people need something happy to get them out of their funk!
For summer: classic plaids with accent colors in soft textures. And for fall: Soft color palette with retro modern Prints.
WGA: Tell us about your golf game. How long have you been playing?
CR: I was turned on to the game at 21 by an old boyfriend. His family took me on a trip to Portugal. I loved it right away and was told that I was a ‘natural’.
But in Europe, it is a very elite sport. I was a student and there were no public courses.
I waited until I came to the US a few years later to hack around whenever I got a chance. But being a struggling artist in NYC — it is all but impossible to play a horizontal sport in a vertical city. So basically I picked up the game for real at 36 on a vacation in Hawaii and have played ever since. My best handicap was about a 9.
But last year I was so busy I went to my club maybe 15 times and barely played. I am not sure I want to know where my handicap is now . . . 18 maybe? Last I checked it was 12. But hey, we will see in the spring what the ball does . . .
WGA: And do you have a favorite course?
CR: I have played some of the most amazing courses but far from all of the greats.
So for now I have to say hands down: Pacific Dunes in Oregon.
WG: You care very much about the game of golf and women’s access to it. What do you see in the future of women’s golf?
CR: I believe there have been some great changes, but much still much needs to be done. There are some good high school opportunities for girls now and college has been a way in.
But then, a lot of women are juggling work and motherhood. They just do not have time to do 18 holes. It is an expensive, time consuming activity. Maybe there have to be more leagues offered for 9 holes at opportune times.
It is also hard for the girls on tour. Men can take off and leave the kids at home with the wife. They still make a lot more money as well. The options are slimmer for women. It is lonely on the road and there are a lot of sacrifices.
WGA: What do you see in the future for women’s golf apparel?
CR: The future is bright . . . ;-)
There is so much more variety in apparel, accessories, golf clubs. etc. Women are being taken more seriously as a consumer base.
WGA: Thanks so much, Claudia!
You can find Claudia’s apparel in pro and golf shops or through her website. And stop back soon — we’ll be featuring photos of her summer and fall collections as soon as she finishes her next fashion shoots.