Kelly Dooley: “I’d roll around in mud, in a cute dress!”

June 12, 2012

Pink-lipped and donning her signature “crazy hair,” Kelly Dooley is the woman behind Body Rock Sport. In business with her brother and mother, this Southern California native realized a gap in the athletic-wear industry and filled it with floral prints, embellishments and practical features.

Today, Kelly has dressed the biggest names in the entertainment industry (Lada Gaga, the Kardashians and Maria Menounos, to name a few) but she maintains that her non-celebrity clients and their stories move her emotionally the most. In this Exclusive, FAJO Magazine visited Dooley in her Fashion District showroom in New York to learn more about her and Body Rock Sport.

NADIA MK: Why did you decide to call your company Body Rock Sport?

KELLY DOOLEY: I really wanted my line to be about confidence. Initially, I thought about ‘Rock Your Body’ because my first collection had lots of embellishments, but I ended up playing with some variations until ‘Body Rock Sport’ came to me. ‘Sport’ was an easy way to describe that it’s active-wear.

What is the main philosophy of your brand?

Everything I create begins with a void in the market; it was hard to find zip-front sport bras, or bras for those who’ve had breast reductions or implants, or who were breast feeding. No product was chic, versatile and flattering all at the same time, and so that’s how I came up with my collections. I really think of them as functional accessories – you can wear them to the gym, club or a date.

Everything is named after something or someone who has inspired me. The line is about fierce women, who know who they are and are not apologetic. The girl in the gym who everyone hates? That’s my customer. It’s great because I’ve built a community of bad-ass women who are confident in the product.

Dooley at her showroom in Manhattan.

You work with your brother and mother. What is it like to have a family business?

My brother works out of California on behind-the-scenes, operational things, like inventory, networking and trade shows. He plays a really vital role for me. He’s a bodybuilder, so it’s a no-brainer, he’s a male version of my customer.

My Mom is a bad-ass business woman…you don’t mess with Mama!

The three of us are able to do what needs to be done. Overall, I have a team of 12 who work for me, but mostly do so on an as-needed basis.

You have said in the past that you are a “recovering tomboy.” When did your style change?

I grew up fishing with my dad. I come from a gun slingin’, hunting sort of family, but I was always dressed fabulously. I would roll around in the mud… in a cute dress. I think it came from having a brother and a real ‘Alpha father.’ I got my hands dirty at a young age, but also adored fashion. I’m still the same way. I did a mud run last year, in this bra that I’m wearing actually.

My style is a little punk-ish – Gwen Stefani, but not as extreme, I’m a little rock and roll glam, edgy, modern. My favourite look is skinny jeans with heels, one of my bras and a tank, and one of my motor jackets. I love crazy hair – that’s my signature. Pink lipstick is my signature, too. I always say, “très fab!”

What is your favourite piece that you have designed to date?

My favourite bra is the Sophie Bra from the Zip ‘Em Up collection: it’s a floral print sports bra with gold studs and Swarovksi crystals. It’s one my best sellers. It’s been on Keeping with the Kardashians and will be in the August issue of O Magazine.

The mastectomy bra is my favourite in terms of its use, and the women who wear it. It’s so important. You look at it and it’s not a constant reminder of breast cancer.

My other favourite is the Jessica Moto legging from the Show ‘Em Some Swagger collection. These are my number one selling leggings. Britney Spears has them, so obviously I’m doing something right!

Can you tell us about some of your celebrity clients?

I’ve dressed Nicole Scherzinger, Giuliana Rancic, Miley Cyrus, Lady Gaga, Kimberly Cole, Ashanti, Angela Sarafyan, Megalyn Echikunwoke from ‘24’, all of the Kardashians, Maria Menounos, and Britney in her Twister Dance video for which she wore the Eternal Love bra which is $20,000 (and has diamonds, an 18k gold skull-head tassle with diamond eyes, French silk, and Swarovski crystals and stud), along with the Jessica Moto leggings.

You have a passion for fashion and fitness. How do you stay in shape?

Triathlons: I like a little swim-bike-run action. My fiancé is a pretty well-known tri-athlete, and when we met it was a big draw because we could work-out together. I do three days a week of strength-training too.

Dooley in New York. Photo: Moises De Pena. Styling: Bianca Jade.

When you wake up in the morning and are heading to work, what are you normally thinking? Are you planning your day?

I plan my life several months in advance, but there’s always the list of things you don’t expect. My mantra is ‘create a memory, solve a problem.’ I think about that all the time: ‘Am I creating a memory, or solving a problem?’

What do you see in the near future for Body Rock Sport?

This is a question I always think about. Having a store would be great because I would have full control of the way everything is displayed and sold. We will continue to be a luxury active brand, and will expand into Europe.

I prefer to build slowly and be selective rather than go too quickly and in bulk. I am also designing a maternity line because when I get pregnant, I’m not going to want to wear what’s out there now. So many things are going on right now. One thing I know for sure is that it will be a big, big brand in due time. We’re blowing up!

A quick photoshoot with Kelly Dooley

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By Nadia MK
Photography by Alex Mouganis


  • Chloe said:

    Great interview–Kelly is inspiring, very talented and will surely be a major celeb

  • Ellen said:

    She is such an awesome inspiration. And as a customer, her clothes are exactly how she describes them. Functional, comfortable, and sexy. I’ve never felt as good at the gym as I do in her clothes. And I’ve also never felt as supported.

  • Bespoke: sexy sports bra options for fashionistas | FAJO Magazine | FAJO Magazine said:

    […] tassels, proving that no customization is too large for the designer and mastermind behind it all, Kelly Dooley. Other fans of the eye-catching collection of bras, leggings and jackets include Nicki Minaj, […]

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