Untitled Document Marika Cooper is one fashion designer who’s always on-the-go. We first met last February at the mother of all cosmetology conferences, the Beauty Revolution, in Anaheim. Cooper was there to show her line of silk dresses and ensembles at the afternoon fashion show. Models came down the catwalk in silk floral tanks and matching skirts, wraparound shirts and dresses that flowed with each step. Her use of dark colors made the silk more exciting and attractive. Plus, she had a full-figured model strutting her stuff. I knew I had to meet her.

A few weeks later, we lunched in Hollywood and talked about clothes. The first thing you notice about Cooper is her engaging smile. The woman has a vibrant aura which was complimented by a stylish look: fitted black and white tunic, jeans, silver bracelets, and her hair pulled back while carrying a cute bag in one hand and her laptop in the other.

She recently returned from Canada where she absorbed the scenic beauty of nature and found herself rejuvenated.

"We drove to a port and took a ferry to Victoria which is this beautiful island off of British Columbia. We stayed in an old Victorian house they turned into a hotel, it was gorgeous," she recalls fondly. "This trip gave me a lot of inspiration. It was so beautiful – visually there were so many things to look at. So many colors, textures, shapes that you can get ideas from."

Before her trip, the 23-year-old designer worked on a sexy collection that can be described in a multitude of ways. Knowing that not all women are shaped the same, her Jasmin Blue line is accessible to everyone – from the slender to the voluptuous. Ideally, silk would be the last thing a woman would consider wearing because of its delicacy. Cooper believes that the opposite is true and silk should be worn a lot.

"For this collection, I wanted to use silk because I wanted a fabric that could move and was comfortable. It’s so beautiful. I love the way it feels. You feel comfortable when you’re walking in it."

She believes that every woman has a sexy side to her and it should be celebrated. Her line makes it possible to feel like a dime at every moment. However talented this South Bay resident is though, she’s acutely aware of the fierce competition. She has to keep an eye out on celebrity designers like Gwen Stefani and Eve, remembering that reportedly nine out of 10 new businesses fail. She believes this happens because designers either spend too much money on frivolous things or wind up give away their clothes to celebrities. In her one year of being in business, Cooper has learned through trial and error finding excellent seamstresses and manufacturers that won’t rip her off.

Her upcoming plans include having more items at boutiques that carry her collection and doing trunk shows (parties at a store where people can directly buy merchandise). Her chic and fun styles make women feel good about themselves and look fabulous on the runway of life.

Marika Cooper’s website is currently under construction but if you e-mail her at marikajasmin@yahoo.com, she will send you images of her latest work.