Being stuck at home hasn’t slowed down LaQuan Smith — nor has it slowed down the demand for his eye-catching designs.
“Throughout quarantine, I’ve actually noticed my sales are increasing, which has made me realize that even with nowhere to go, women are still shopping,” Smith tells Bustle. “This shows that women are optimistic for a near future where they are able to dress up again, which has been quite inspiring while working on my collections during this time of uncertainty. After a long year of staying home and opting for sweatsuits, I think women are more than ready to return to the glamour of getting dressed.”
The 32-year-old designer — whose daring garments have been worn by everyone from Lizzo to Cardi B — says that for the Fall 2021 season, he drew inspiration from modern suiting and structured silhouettes, following a year where casual and relaxed dressing has been the dominant trend.
“I wanted to reintroduce dressing for a woman who is really empowered and strong,” Smith says. “Someone who’s not afraid to be themselves and not have to apologize for what they represent. I was looking to reinforce this really strong, intense understanding that sex is alive. No matter your age or size, every woman wants to feel sexy and desired.”
From expertly placed cutouts to sheer silhouettes, sexiness is certainly a foundational element in every collection he presents. But there’s also a distinct level of ownership and sophistication that goes into each design.
“I enjoy the process of dressing women, period,” Smith says. “It’s an experience that makes you feel like a superstar even if you are not.”
For New York Fashion Week, BMW tapped Smith to star in a project that showcases the intersection of the fashion and automotive industries. Some of Smith’s sketches will be collaged together with sketches of the BMW X5 and X7, which will then be shared on social platforms. “The parallels between the automotive and fashion industries are evident and we feel this partnership is a unique way to showcase them,” Smith says. “Similar to our designs, BMW vehicles are crafted with a specific level of luxury design, which each require time, perseverance, and authenticity to create.”
Smith’s show will round out the NYFW schedule and take place Thursday, Feb. 18 at 2 p.m. ET. While the NYFW runways remain mostly virtual due to the pandemic, he’s optimistic about how the industry will prevail.
“We are filled with hope and inspiration and look forward to seeing how our peers within this community rise to the occasion while adapting to the ever-changing landscape,” he says. “What’s most important to me is to make a lot of noise and make everything over the top, but in the most luxurious way because I’m representing who I am and where I come from.”