LaQuan Smith has made waves in her nearly decade in fashion, from dressing celebrities like the Kardashians and Lizzo to launching capsule collections with ASOS. Even with so many accomplishments, Smith has no intention of slowing down.
Smith is known for her glamorous and luxurious aesthetic that mixes elements of streetwear and opulence to create very glamorous pieces that fit perfectly into any wardrobe. That feat will get even easier with the Smith’s Cash by Cash App collaboration, releasing October 19 and featuring must-haves like leather bomber jackets and logo-print catsuits.
Inspired by glamorous icons like Gianni Versace, Azzedine Alaïa and Yves Saint Laurent, Smith sees his brand as America’s next luxury label, following in the footsteps of Tom Ford. “Once they discover the brand and wear LaQuan, they don’t just wear a dress. They don’t just wear a random designer. There is an experience that comes with wearing LaQuan Smith,” he told Bustle.
Before, I spoke with Smith about her new collection, the importance of diversity and her goals for the next ten years.
How does your collection with Cash App make LaQuan Smith more accessible?
The collection consists of four different styles that women can incorporate from day to night, creating a capsule collection that felt approachable, with a sense of luxury and [wearability]. This is going to be a great kick off to create a range for women who want to have the same kind of luxury experience, but just at a more reasonable price.
You are known to have a diverse track, which not all brands can say. How do you integrate diversity and inclusion into your brand philosophy?
As a color designer from Queens, my entire existence is a contribution to diversity and inclusiveness. It’s only natural that this is what I represent, even when it comes to castings. It’s one of the most exciting things about our catwalks – you feel like it can roll right off the catwalk and onto the streets of New York or Paris. Whether it’s size inclusion or having trans [people] in shows. It’s about having a fierce attitude. That’s what LaQuan Smith is all about: celebrating the idea of feeling empowered and confident no matter who you are or what you represent.
As a black woman and a plus size woman, this resonates with me a lot. Thank you very much for the work you do.
I think at the end of the day, every designer has their own aesthetic, every woman has her own. [tastes]. Every woman wants to feel desirable at the end of the day. I’ve always directed with that in mind in terms of what women want to wear, what they want to accentuate versus what they don’t want to accentuate. It’s about modeling the size and manipulations with the fabrics, being able to sculpt the shape of a woman. It allows me to expand my product categories and make women feel sexy while still being able to not compromise their insecurities.
There was a fashion company article that talked about the representation of black designers at New York Fashion Week and how it has increased over the past few years, but there is still a lack of overall inclusion in the industry. Can you talk a bit about that?
We can always talk about what more the industry can do in terms of representation and inclusion, but I think since the pandemic – since Black Lives Matter – there’s definitely been an increase in terms of support for [designers of color]. I’ve seen more representation at major retailers than I would have seen five years ago. It’s something we’ve always wanted. We still have work to do, but I think there has been positive progress in creating what we call diversity and inclusion within the fashion industry – especially for black designers. , black models, black designers, black people in general.
This topic frustrates me because it shouldn’t be all about race. It really should be a question of talent. It should be crafting. I hope my success and my existence is a contribution to how fashion has changed or changed. For me, it is already a contribution to the culture and to the conversation on inclusion and diversity.
What advice do you have for aspiring creators?
Stay the course, never give up. There is always a light at the end of the tunnel. Stay inspired, stay creative and work hard. And I think success is inevitable as long as you really work towards your goals. Right now is really a crucial time to be creative. Self-expression is so important, and it’s such a free platform right now that people are ready to watch, learn, and experience new things. Go hard in painting with your creativity.
You are approaching 10 years as a brand. What are your goals for the next 10 years?
My goal right now is to create longevity, to strengthen this brand to be the next American luxury brand. Hopefully within the next 10 years you will have an independent LaQuan Smith luxury boutique somewhere in Tribeca. Expanding my product categories, whether it’s shoes, handbags, fragrances, menswear. I want to expand my manufacturing capabilities. I’m looking to make him the next Tom Ford.
What has been the most rewarding part of your career?
I started this in my grandmother’s basement. I remember I was 13 and drawing clothes in my bedroom. Everything exceeded what I always dreamed and imagined. It used to be a pinch moment for me, but now I wake up every day truly blessed and grateful for the positions I find myself in. My greatest achievement is being able to see how much I have grown. Seeing LaQuan Smith sold all over the world, all these women incorporate LaQuan Smith into their daily lives. This is the greatest and most incredible achievement I could ask for.
The interview has been edited and condensed for clarity. We may receive a portion of sales if you purchase a product through a link in this article.
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