February’s – ‘The Future Issue’ – Download Now

LaQuan Smith on building his namesake brand and being at the forefront of design.

What do the first 30 minutes of your day look like?

I wake up at 5:30am every morning in my apartment located in Astoria, New York. After doing so, I thank God for all the blessings that I have in my life and pray and meditate for 30 minutes, then take a hot shower, drink a glass of water with lemon and head straight to Equinox Hudson Yards for an hour’s workout with my trainer.

How has growing up in New York positively reinforced your growth as a designer and were there any challenges?

I’ve always taken a lot of inspiration from New York City when designing my collections and my upbringing here makes me who I am. Growing up in the fashion capital of the US has also been essential to my progress as a designer and business owner as I’ve had so many opportunities to foster organic relationships with key players across the industry. They have helped me take my business to new heights and grow it into what it is today.

LaQuan Smith continually empowers women. Was this the plan from the outset?

I have always been inspired by women’s fashion, starting from very early on in my life when I’d closely watch my mother’s dressing choices for various occasions. When starting my own collection, I wanted to create a luxury brand that all women can aspire and buy into that holds classic luxurious codes. I want my clothes to live in a woman’s closet forever, not just a season.

LaQuan Smith designer

You debuted your first fashion week at 21 years old. How has the brand grown and evolved since?

We’ve come a long way since our first show in 2010. When I first started the brand, I was designing, cutting samples, and working on every aspect, all from my childhood bedroom at my grandmother’s house. I now have a solid team including sales, PR, and studio space in Long Island City. We’re sold in major stores all over the world, working with renowned industry talents and brands, we’re truly on the way to building a real American fashion house. I’m so proud of where the brand has come so far and can’t wait to see where we land in the next 10 years.

Tell us about the collection for SS22?

From its nightlife and glamour, New York City’s energy was a huge part of my inspiration for the collection. It truly became a full-circle moment for me when we decided we were going to show my Spring 2022 collection at the Empire State Building because this city holds a special place in my heart and the brand. You’ll see tons of inspiration from the iconic building’s art deco decor, including jewel tones, motifs from Les arts décoratifs of the building architecture with geometric prints that mirror the storied ceilings imprinted on sumptuous leathers. I just wanted to reinforce this strong understanding- ing that glamour and energy are back.

As a global brand, do you see any buying patterns in terms of what drives sales?

I think unanimously women want to invest in clothes that will make them look and feel good. Even during the pandemic and the up-rise of luxury casualwear, my sales skyrocketed which made me realise that even with nowhere to go, women were still shopping and ready for a time when they would be able to return to the art of getting dressed.

LaQuan Smith SS22

What advice would you give to anyone wanting to launch their own brand?

Stay true to yourself and your vision.

Who have been your mentors to date and how have they supported you?

Andre Leon Talley was a great mentor of mine. We met when he attended my first ever fashion show at Society Illustrators in February 2010 after reading an article The New York Times put out on my NYFW debut. He believed in me from the beginning and offered so much support throughout the 11 years of our friendship. He had so much invaluable advice to give, he even once gave me the money I needed to travel to Paris for the first time in the early years of my business. Tom Ford is another mentor of mine. I’ve always admired his work and he also has been a great supporter of mine from the beginning. I feel so fortunate to have had the opportunity to learn from these two legendary industry figures and hope one day to have the opportunity to pass on the wisdom they’ve shared with me to the next generation of young designers.

This is The Future Issue – what does the future of luxury look like to you?

I want to see young designers stay true to who they are and what they believe in. To continue to break barriers and dismantle rigid conventions. Overall I want to see fashion evolve in favour of a future in which everyone can be whoever they want to be and embrace their inner power for change.

February’s – ‘The Future Issue’ – Download Now

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