By Barbara Yau, AsAmNews Staff Writer
“If your clothes don’t evoke any emotion when you put them on, then it shouldn’t be in your wardrobe,” said Kelly Nishimoto, who is most widely known for hosting Something Borrowed, Something New on TLC.
These days, Nishimoto has been hard at work as the creative force at Cute Booty Lounge, the company she founded in 2008 that focuses on embracing all sizes from XXS to XXL to help women feel confident in their shape. Nishimoto strives to make women feel “beautiful, sexy, polished, and a little sassy” in her loungewear pieces.
Cute Booty Lounge was conceived in the early 2000s, after Nishimoto, who had recently moved from Miami to Los Angeles to pursue fashion, became disappointed with a pair of popular and pricey lounge pants that she saved up her money to purchase.
“When I was finally able to afford a pair, I found that the fit did not flatter my athletic build. I bought them anyway and decided to take them apart to see what the problem was. I noticed the curve of the crotch seam was too straight to properly hug my body,” said Nishimoto.
Also dissatisfied with the narrow waistband and other design details, Nishimoto decided to use her talents to make much needed improvements on the pants. Working in her garage, she added oversized grommets for a more modern look, a large silk bow tie to keep them feminine, and a scrunch pocket. When she decided to wear her new creation to the gym one day, it attracted so much attention from the other gym-goers that it motivated her to start her own line of clothing, and Cute Booty Loungewear was born.
With the help of a business partner, Nishimoto created her first collection, which launched at Mercedes-Benz fashion week in 2005. This was a huge accomplishment for Nishimoto who has joked that she attended “The School of Hard Knocks.” Because she couldn’t afford fashion school, she taught herself how to create fashion pieces, learning how to design and sew through trial and error.
“I made so many mistakes, but I always learned and bounced back from them very quickly. I’m also from a tiny town in Georgia and had no clue that I could go to a fabric store and actually buy fabric. So I collected things from around the house and was constantly sewing — from my Dad’s Harley Davidson T-shirts to old sheets. I was always sewing random things!” said Nishimoto.
She believes her success in the fashion industry has been due to tenacity, passion, thick skin, and the ability to recover quickly from failure, in addition to her experience.
In the past several years, Nishimoto has been continuing to create designs for Cute Booty’s four collection categories that cater to her customers’ different needs and preferences: Lifestyle, Active, Elevated, and Lounge.
“Lifestyle is filled with soft fabrics that feel like peach fuzz and just make you comfortable in your own skin in your everyday life. Our Active Collection has all of the bells and whistles and are made for the super active woman with pieces that are moisture wicking, antimicrobial, and have UV protection. Our Elevated Collection is curated with special pieces that have things like metallic overlays, specialty fabrics, and custom made components. And our Lounge collection includes anything that makes you think of that word — things to feel cozy and comfortable around the house!” Nishimoto explained.
Unafraid to use different colors and patterns, Nishimoto prides herself in thinking outside of the box. With plans to franchise and expand on the international level, Nishimoto stated that there is much more room for growth and is excited for the future of her company.
“Cute Booty is more than a brand. It’s a feeling. It’s everything a girl wants to feel!” Nishimoto emphasized.
AsAmNews has Asian America in its heart. We’re an all-volunteer effort of dedicated staff and interns. Check out our new Instagram account. Go to our Twitter feed and Facebook page for more content. Please consider interning, joining our staff, or submitting a story.