Interview with Sam Steen, founding designer of Cami NYC

The View magazine hooked up with Samantha Steen, founding designer of Cami NYC. We talk about the camisole, the celebs wearing and mixing them, how she rolled into the fashion world, and much more.


TV: Hi Samantha, how are you? Tell us a bit about yourself.

Sam: My name is Samantha Steen and I am the Founder of Cami NYC, the exclusive retailer for core silk, leather and lace camisoles. I launched my business in 2013 after receiving substantial praise from friends and colleagues for a camisole I designed myself and had created at a local production house in NYC.

My interest in design and fashion began at the ripe age of 5 years old. I loved to draw stick figures in colorful ball gowns. My interest extended into my college education, where I studied fine arts with a specialization in painting. Painting became an outlet for my creative juices. After graduating and moving to New York City, I was able to gain a bigger experience in the fashion industry working for a CFDA award-winning designer. He was a wonderful mentor and helped me continue moving forward into other roles within the industry. When I found a specific gap in the market, I took a risk and went for the opportunity.

TV: How did you get in touch with creativity? And when was your first fashion experience?

Sam: My first real fashion experience happened when I was in college. One of my friends was throwing a charity runway show called OHM Fashion Show and she had asked me to create a small collection for the show. Without knowing how to sew, I bought a sewing machine, fabric and a pair of scissors and just started creating. Within two weeks I had a 9 piece collection. That collection was such a hit that it gave me the confidence to move to NYC and begin my career in the fashion industry. One of the pieces from that collection will actually be a style sold in Cami NYC’s Spring 2016 collection.

TV: And then you started Cami?

Sam: I always had a vision of starting a clothing line and it only took an unsuccessful shopping experience to catapult me into becoming an entrepreneur and designer. I was in search of a very specific but fairly basic concept, a camisole with lace. Something I could wear from day to night, with feminine details and luxe fabrics. I was trapped with either a high-street tank or a high-end undergarment, neither of which fit the bill – so I designed my own!

TV: Tell us about Cami NYC, who is wearing what, and how did they mixed it up so far?

Sam: Supermodel, Lindsay Ellingson recently paired the leather cropped Cami with harem pants, while Song of Style blogger, Aimee Song dressed up the Racer Cami up with an Isabel Marant skirt and heels. Actress, Hilary Duff wears the Sweetheart Camis with everything from denim cut-offs to a pencil skirt, and Cameron Diaz recently wore a Cami under a sheer knit. We work with a wide range of influencers and style icons whom each put their unique spin on the wardrobe staple.

TV: One of the things that made fashion globally accessible, is the rapid development of social/digital media. How do you see all this and how much effort do you put into understanding what it can do for your brand?

Sam: Cami NYC creates substantial brand awareness through Social Media channels including, Pinterest, Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.  Social media is a portal that allows us to tell our story and engage with our customers and influencers. Our channels are also a source of inspiration for the brand and for customers. We also receive customer feedback and inquiries through our social, so it’s vital for maintaining and improving the best customer service possible.

TV: In what ways do you think it will be even more important to be digital-savvy, for fashion entrepreneurs?

Sam: I believe that shopping via mobile apps will continue to expand in the consumer industry. Apps provide users with a seamless digital shopping experience. Cami NYC is currently shoppable via Shop Spring, Fancy, and Amazon. It’s just so easy, particularly because we’re all on our phones 24/7.

TV: Looking at the women on your website collection page, they all have seem to have a sense of innocence and intimacy, sort of cute and sexy. Is that your vision on camisoles and the emotion it triggers?

Sam: The Camisole is a very sexy and intimate piece. As a brand, we strive to make looks for the everyday woman. Our camisoles are feminine and unique with the idea that they are transferable from day to night.

TV: After a week of hard work, what do you wear if you simply want to relax?

Sam: I love going anywhere where I can wear my lululemons and Nike frees. Living in New York means there’s a lot of walking to do, so I like to be as comfortable as possible.

TV: Anything excited going on that you can talk about?

Sam: We have an exciting collaboration happening soon! Stay tuned.

TV: Thanks Sam!

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Shop your favorite on the Cami NYC website.

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