Designer Camilla Olson Visits Smith
On September 7, 2012, preceding the launch of her brand in Washington, D.C.,
Camilla Olson visited
Smith for a luncheon hosted by the Center for Social Value
Creation at the University of Maryland’s Robert H. Smith School of Business.
The theme for the event was “women as social entrepreneurs,” and attendees
included students studying business, marketing, and design who are interested in
creating a value-driven career. Several distinguished guests from the University
community also joined the luncheon, including Ms. Wallace Loh, University of
Maryland President Wallace Loh’s wife.
Camilla Olson is in the businesses of dressing women to look “smart; as
intelligent as they are.” Olson launched her brand in 2011 with a focus on
creating sophisticated, modern designer clothing that is also livable and
washable. The brand’s distinct styles include caging, “voyeuristic layering,”
and one-of-a-kind silk prints, created using oxidized iron and a few household
products. The technique used to dye the fabrics is a key element in the brand’s
positioning as eco-friendly, wearable art.
In addition to using environmentally sustainable production techniques, the
Camilla Olson brand dedicates a portion of sales to community development,
women’s health programs, and scholarships. Olson shared with luncheon guests her
objective to have a purposeful mission that also makes good business sense,
explaining the thoughtful sourcing, production, marketing, and hiring strategies
practiced by her company.
Following lunch, Olsen encouraged students to stretch their limits, build
skills at the beginning of a career, and don’t commit to a single path too
early. “I just followed my nose in terms of what was interesting,” said Olson,
an alumna of the University of Maryland with a BS in microbiology, who also
holds an MBA in marketing from Farleigh Dickinson University.
Prior to earning her MFA in Fashion and Textile Design from the Academy of
Art University, Olson was an entrepreneur working in the life sciences industry
for 30 years, and secured two U.S. patents for her inventions. True to her
entrepreneurial, creative spirit and dedication to the overall wellbeing of
women, Olson has reinvented herself as a socially responsible fashion designer
focusing on empowering women to craft their own unique value-driven career.
Following the luncheon at Smith, the Office of Marketing and Communication’s
own Yang Zhao, a first-year
MBA candidate, had an opportunity to volunteer at Olson’s trunk sale in
Washington, D.C. – you can read about her experience
on her blog.
Megan Burkhart, Smith Media Group, MBA Candidate 2013
About the Robert H. Smith School of Business
The Robert H. Smith School of Business is an internationally recognized leader
in management education and research. One of 12 colleges and schools at the
University of Maryland, College Park, the Smith School offers undergraduate,
full-time and part-time MBA, executive MBA, MS in business, PhD and executive
education programs, as well as outreach services to the corporate community. The
school offers its degree, custom and certification programs in learning
locations in North America and Asia.