Young Fashion Designer Emerges Boldy

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[Business: Fashion & Style]

LaQuan Smith never imagined that one day he would display his designs on the runway at New York City's famed Fashion Week in front of some of the world's most prominent fashion designers and models.

He was just a young high school graduate trying to make a name for himself in the fashion industry when he started getting noticed. Now at the age of 21, his dreams are coming to fruition, through his hard work, determination and talent; he showcased his designs this past week at a Fashion Week event.

Smith began to display a passion for designing clothing in his teens; at age 13, he received a sewing machine as a Christmas present.

He has said that while his friends were getting PlayStations, he wanted a machine and fabric.  After graduating from high school, Smith was rejected by New York City's top design school The Fashion Institute of Technology; not once but twice. Smith took an internship at BlackBook Magazine, working under the guidance of fashion editor Elizabeth Sulcer.

Part of his work was checking her mail; he also got to attend fashion events pretending to be her, while wearing his own creations.

It was at one of these events that Smith caught the attention of publicist Kelly Mills. Soon, he was designing clothes for some of pop music's biggest stars, including Rihanna and Lady Gaga.

He says: "All the Celeb Girls I dress, models Amber Rose, Sessilee Lopez, singers Rihanna, Lady Gaga, Amerie and Alicia Keys--I want all women to be dripping in LQS."

LQS, for those who don't get it, of course would be LaQuan Smith's label.

Kelly Mill's PR agency Fashion Art Gallery funded Smith's recent show; fashion bigwig Cesare Paciotti also sponsored the show and The Society of Illustrators became involved, providing the venue.

"The Society is an old club focused on art and artisans for centuries," Smith says. "I feel as though I am part of this history-So Society of Illustrators was the most desirable place for my first show. I was happy that they were able to sponsor me."

Smith's show consisted of 20 different looks, which include neoprene dresses, ruffled denim jackets, and Balenciaga inspired tops, or "Water Goddess" as he puts it.

The show was at the Society of Illustrators' gallery on Manhattan's upper East Side. Smith told The Black Star News that the inspiration for his Water Goddess collection came from his love of the elements of the ocean; water, seashells, fish, the waves, and the sand.

Smith still works from his bedroom in his grandparent's St. Albans, New York, house. He puts in up to 19 hours a day. His goal?  A brand that women all over the world --from New York, Paris, and Tokyo-- will wear.

Video Footage of LaQuan Smith's Show:


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