LaQuan--Young Designer Likes Pushing The Envelope

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I am a young designer with a ton to learn and as I grow and develop you should expect tons of new and interesting things from me. I enjoy pushing the envelope and exploring this new world I have been given the opportunity to be a part of.

[Byrd's Eye View]

I finally seized my long awaited oppourtunity to interview the Amazingly talented LaQuan Smith who is swiftly making a name for himself, putting on shows from Fashion week NY to Greece to the Cayman Islands and more. LaQuan's unique designs have been seen on many celebrities and supermodels such as Selita Eubanks, Rhianna, Lady Gaga, Alicia Keys, Sandra Bernhard, Nicky Minaj, Cassie, Ciara just to name a few. The Young, innovative, and awesomely creative Smith has encountered many obstacles in his life and career but has continued to strive and stay inspired to display his best through it all. LaQuan shared his thoughts about the industry and also had some motivating advice for the up and coming designers and much more.

BSN: Many young designers might be intimidated to launch their own line knowing that it's very challenging to get the publicity to generate interest to get financing to produce the designs. How did you deal with this challenge?
LQS: I was intimidated by the challenge at first but, I have a great support team that has my brand and my best interests at heart. After much strategizing and slowly implementation we have been able to leverage the LaQuan Smith brand into several publications, blogs, and celebrities. We have garnished a ton of press but, have yet found a suitable financier to expand the LaQuan Smith brand into the national and international markets. 

BSN: You have received excellent response and the industry now seems to be opening up to you. It all seems to have happened quickly. Talk about the hard work you actually endured through the years and what lessons based on your experience can you offer other up-and-coming young designers?
LQS: I am grateful for the positive response my clothes have been receiving from my colleagues in the fashion industry. I have had many struggles to getting to where I am today but, I am proud to say I have overcome most of these obstacles. I had a bout with cancer which caused me to refocus my career path and gave me a drive to succeed. I was denied from both Parsons and Fashion Institute of Technology; instead I looked for an alternative route which led me to Blackbook Magazine and my first
few industry connections. I have three pieces of advice for up-and-coming designers: Always create the best possible product, quality is key. Go out and keep going out to meet people in the industry, networking is mandatory, that's how I got a publicist and made the right connections. Create a great support team, people you can trust and always have your best interests at heart.

BSN: In your own words, what type of energy or spirit does your label or outfits capture or convey?
LQS:  My motto for the LaQuan Smith Woman is that she is the personification of modernity, sensuality, and liberation in femininity. The clothes suit this woman by being sexy, seductive, and modern with a certain sophistication, strength and elegance.

BSN: Tell us where you draw your inspiration from?
LQS:  My inspiration comes from multiple sources; friends, family, art, culture, street style, vast cultures from Paris to New York and then to Johannesburg. I feel inspired by LIFE; the opportunity to live after my bout with cancer, my desire to succeed, my determination to create fashion and design. The gift of Life is the ultimate inspiration.

BSN: Talk about the importance of knowing both about the beauty of a design as well as the business end of the Fashion Industry?
LQS: I think it is important to have knowledge of both and equal amounts of each. To understand design including proportions, fabrication, wearability, and taste are all crucial to the business side of the fashion world. On the flip slide, smart marketing and advertising, great shows and events, networking and public relations need to be at their very best because then a designer and his/her creations would stay undiscovered.

BSN: Every year during Fashion Week, we hear about the shortage of Black models in shows and Black designers as well. How will this change so that one day we won't even have to write such stories?
LQS: I am unsure how the change will come but, I think it starts with the industry coming together and recognizing what the consumer wants. There's a diverse group of consumers out in America and we should be listening to them, and showcasing women that they can relate to. As for models, I have come to understand that not just Black models are affected but Latino and Asian models as well. I will continue to do my part by continuing to support Black models and multi-racial models from Sessilee Lopez, Liya Kebede, Jourdan Dunn, Arlenis Sosa, and Chanel Iman. I am very cognizant of this and always include women of color in my shows, lookbooks, and events. As for designers, I believe there are a ton of capable and driven Black designers but, they need to make themselves seen and heard and most importantly they need to be looked for by fashion publications and bloggers.

BSN: Define the essence of the woman that your designs appeals to the most?
LQS: My motto for the LaQuan Smith Woman is that she is the personification of modernity, sensuality, and liberation in femininity. The clothes suit this woman by being sexy, seductive, and modern with a certain sophistication, strength and elegance.

BSN: What can we expect down the line from LaQuan--any surprises?
LQS: Yes. Surprises will come every season. I am a young designer with a ton to learn and as I grow and develop you should expect tons of new and interesting things from me. I enjoy pushing the envelope and exploring this new world I have been given the opportunity to be a part of.


Fashion & Entertainment Editor Shavaughn Byrd can be reached at Shavaughn@blackstarnews.com  Please also see www.shavaughn.com  


"Speaking Truth To Empower."

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