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To do lists of successful women


The to do list. We’ve all made one, we’ve all failed to complete one. Let Norma Kamali show you how she does hers.


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Like the sales of her fabled sleeping bag coat, 74-year-old fashion designer Norma Kamali shows no signs of slowing down. She made athleisure - more than - acceptable, and in the wake of 9/11, opened a wellness cafe to bolster the melancholic mood. Her activist credentials span AIDS to gender equality, and now her five-decade career has brought her to skincare, by way of Skinline by NormaLife, which launched this summer. From formulation and branding, to completing her “it keeps me sane” yoga class, this is her to do list. Norma, over to you. 

Image I Michael Waring

I used to write everything down, but more recently, I have moved over to my iPhone. The notes app is near-constantly open, whether on my Fashion, Wellness, Personal or Ideas list.

I began writing to do lists as a little girl, and it’s a habit that’s stuck. It creates the structure for my life, and, of course, my businesses. In my to do list, I also include deadlines and milestones so I can hold myself accountable for my time. I even create to do lists for my staff so they’re aware of any new priorities and ideas to explore. Lists allow me to see the bigger picture, and ascertain whether I have the time and energy to take on something new. For example, I’m often asked to design for performers for concerts and shows, which is both flattering and tempting, especially if I’m a fan. Sometimes however, it’s just not a possibility. That said, I will always make time to do something I love. It’s so important to not let go of passion projects.


I’ve been doing this for a few decades now, and to this day, I still love what I do. I wanted to live an independent, creative life, and if that meant I wouldn't be the richest or most famous designer in the world, then so be it. My motivation is my passion for creativity.

How do I juggle everything? I’ve learned that the more you do, the more you can do. I have my finger in a few pies because since I started my fashion label, I found that ideas, processes and procedures could be easily be translated into the successful running of something in a different discipline. Basically, innovation in my life has a tentacular reach.

Am I organised? I’d say so, yes. I feel most calm when my home is orderly, when my closets are tidy and when I am meeting deadlines and on schedule. When something unexpected throws me off course, the first thing I do is create a to do list of solutions so I can unpick and rectify the problem as soon as possible. As I tell my staff, never say no. There is always a solution, and a to do list will help you realise it.

Shop NORMALIFE here.

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