By Katie Schliep
Name: Blake Smith
Major: Fashion Design
Hometown: Hull, Ga.
District: What was your collection’s inspiration?
Blake Smith: It actually derived from warrior angels, taken from the Book of Revelations. I wanted to do a modern-art take on the whole thing, so really minimal and focus the whole thing on details. I wanted it to be kind of ethereal, with dark undertones.
District: How was it working with Maggie Norris, your mentor?
Smith: This was my first time getting into evening wear. I’ve always done sportswear and very high-end ready to wear … it was scary! So having her there to kind of show me the way was perfect. I couldn’t have asked for more.
District: Who is your favorite designer?
Smith: My favorite designer is Riccardo Tisci, Givenchy. He and I have a very strong, very similar aesthetic. It’s a little dark, a little romantic, simplistic, modern, and I hope to work with him one day.
District: What are your future plans after graduation?
Smith: I actually have a job with Kohl’s in New York City. So as soon as graduation is over, I’m on a plane up there. But I’m actually hoping to go door-to-door after that. It’s a 10-week experience, but they’re looking to add me on as a full-time. It will be nice because I think it will help find my aesthetic when designing for the masses.
District: Who has been the most influential person in developing your collection?
Smith: My mother. She has backed me the entire way. When things get hard, she’s always there to get me through … I call her up about five times a day, it’s not even funny!
District: How do you categorize your personal design aesthetic? You touched on it earlier, but you could describe it more?
Smith: I kind of coined the phrase “gothic-minimalist,” so it’s gothic in its styling and mood, but I really love minimalism … I love clean, simple, but very focused on details because it doesn’t have to be boring.
District: When did you decide to pursue a career in fashion?
Smith: Actually, it’s funny, I always wanted to be a child psychologist, and then moved into maybe teaching art, and then I got an internship where I did actually get to teach art and I was like, ‘I don’t like kids,’ so my professor suggested fashion… since I always dressed really nicely. It was just always funny because I never thought this was a real job, but I fell in love with it.
District: What was the most challenging aspect when designing your collection?
Smith: Creating it. I chose these very slippery silks and sheers that have a mind of their own and it was crazy. I experienced a lot of fit issues, as well. With evening wear, you have to really zone in on fit because if it’s off, the whole collection’s off.Contact Katie Schliep .