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What do you get when you mix East and West with a sprinkle of sports and a whole lot of fashion?

Well, you get Samantha Crutchlow's new brand – OK^LA.

Launched at the end of July, OK^LA aims to be a fun, fresh and youthful brand that aims to bridge the gap between fashion and sportswear.

Sam, 32, founded the Leicester-based brand after setting up a supply company called Intercasual.

She said: "Intercasual is a supply company directed at high street retailers, but I wanted to set up a youthful, sports-look brand that sells directly to the customer.

"OK^LA is very different from Intercasual and does have a sporty edge to it, but it is more fashionable and can be dressed up or dressed down.

"The clothes for OK^LA are all finished beautifully and cut and sew knit fabrics as my business partner, Steve Butterworth, has 40 years of experience in knitted fabrics.

"The fabrics, which are made in China like the clothes, are one of our key strengths as we've got such a range. They include quilted fabrics, mesh and metallic.

"The clothes are high quality products for a good price – they range from £25 to £55."

Sam's career as a designer began when she completed an art foundation course at Leicester's De Montfort University, before heading to Manchester Metropolitan University where she studied fashion design technology.

Following her education, she got a job at fashion label George as a designer and then moved to a supply company in Leicester.

She then travelled the world for six months and subsequently got a job at Sainsbury's as a ladies casualwear designer.

Sam said: "I worked there for three years and I got a taste for the travel side – I travelled all over Asia, specifically China, India and Hong Kong, and decided to move to Hong Kong, where I lived for three years.

"I got a job working for a manufacturer who worked with lots of US, UK and European brands such as Mango, Sainsbury's, George, Walmart, JC Penny, American Eagle and Coles.

"I was the product development manager and looked after the junior department, which broke me away from designing for the everyday woman

"When I came back, I didn't really want it to end, so I set up my business with my business partner."

The quirky name, OK^LA, comes from the phrase that is commonly spoken around Hong Kong by the local people. Sam said it translates as "Ok".

She added: "It was a word that I thought sounded nice, rolls off the tongue and fuses the East and the West together.

"I've also included the symbol so that it isn't called 'Okla' but 'Ok La'.

Since Sam launched the brand online last month, she has sold her designs at Backyard Market in Spitalfields, London, has been accepted to showcase her talents at Leicester Fashion Week and is set to have her clothes featured in the October issue of Elle magazine.

She said: "I'm also holding a launch event for OK^LA at Après Lounge, in High Street, Leicester, on September 7.

"My friend, Scott Mckechnie, is DJing and there is going to be 10 per cent off that evening and a free glass of Prosecco. Everyone is welcome."Read more at:formal dresses 2016