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My Mohinders: Ozma of California

by Cameron Archer |

We spent an afternoon in LA with our friend, style-crush, and brains behind the coveted California clothing brand, Ozma of California — Heidi Joy Baker. When it comes to OZMA, less really is more. OZMA of California embraces honesty and imperfection; inspired by the raw textures and palette of the natural world, her pieces merging the understated with the timelessly refined. AKA classic yet simple wardrobe staples you cannot and should not live without. 

Check out our conversation with our effortlessly stylish friend and founder of Ozma of California, Heidi Baker.

Tell us about your background — where you grew up and the role design played in your life at an early age.

I grew up on the outskirts of a small city in southern Virginia. As a teen in the mid-late 90s, I didn’t relate to much of the available mall fashion at the time. My next best option was sewing and thrifting. I’d wear old dickies and men’s shirts with anything weird or unique that I could cut up, crop, or take in to make it my own. I think it was that necessary urge to be myself that really got me interested in design. 

How did Ozma of California come to be? What is behind the name? 

My friend Mariah and I started OZMA together in 2015. We wanted to make clothing that was simplified down to just the details that mattered to us (fabric, fit, quality, ethics), that traveled well, and were super versatile. Mariah is no longer involved other than being our bandana’s biggest fan, and the line has evolved a bit through the years, but I still kept that essence intact of focusing on the important stuff. The name is from the book spine of an original edition of OZMA of Oz. I don’t talk much about it because it’s not connected really in theme, we just loved the feeling of the name; strong & unique. 

What is the feeling you hope to ignite in people when they are wearing your pieces?

I just want our customers to feel good! Confident, unedited, free and enjoying  life. 

What is your most treasured piece of clothing that is not Ozma? 

My dad’s old L.L.Bean fleece pullover that he gave me a few years ago when I was visiting home.

What are you currently listening to?

Anything with some heart...Recently it’s been Bill Callahan, Kurt Vile, and Tweed.

How would you describe your sense of style in three words? 

Easygoing, uncomplicated, on-repeat.

What moves you? 

The outdoors.

Describe the aesthetic of your home.

Inviting. Bright with lots of white, warm earthy tones and wood. Full of art and objects made by friends. Our house is simple, but open in its layout inside and out so it’s really fun for hosting. 

You used to live in San Francisco! Selfishly, I wish you still did! What are your favorite places to visit when you are here? 

I get really excited to take my dog to Fort Funston whenever I visit San Francisco. It’s a magical maze of fog, dunes, and coastal vegetation that I find incredibly peaceful. I also love driving along the 1 going south and stopping at the berry stands. Is it Swansons that has the strawberry shortcake and cheesecake? Whatever it’s called it, it’s my favorite :) 

You’re an avid surfer — what is the most memorable place you have surfed? 

Arugam Bay in Sri Lanka.

Tell us about a ritual you cannot live without

Morning coffee. Nothing more to say about that I guess? Ha. 

You grew up in Southern Virginia, what do you miss about the East Coast?

I miss the turning of seasons. It’s so gorgeous there! 

How have your priorities shifted since the start of the pandemic? 

The pandemic was a powerful reminder that life is super short. It really shined a spotlight on what is important to me; being caring and present to the people I love, noticing what truly fulfills me and makes me happy, and letting go of the rest. 

Any big plans for Ozma? 

We’re launching some really fun holiday gift boxes this year that I can’t wait to give to my own girlfriends! The idea is pairing up one of our scarves with a complimentary item from friends’ brands including LESSE, Wonder Valley, and Sophie Monet. We’re making holiday gifting a breeze :)

Do you think you’ll continue to focus on clothing or do you see Ozma shifting to include lifestyle goods (blankets, towels, home goods, soft goods, etc.)

Ha. Good question. We might dabble in some artisan accessories but just for fun right now. Our studio is also our shipping center, and is already bursting at the seams, so I keep that in mind:) 

Where should we go to dinner when visiting LA? 

Grà! 

Check out Ozma of California's new arrivals here!