Willi Smith: A Black Designer You Should Know

Willi Smith: A Black Designer You Should Know

When you see streetwear on the runways today it feels groundbreaking and honestly breathtaking. Although the word streetwear is a common word used today we must look back in time to see who had a hand in starting it all. Designer Willi Smith who created WilliWear in 1976. He began his brand after dropping out of Parsons. He designed couture streetwear for everyone and embraced street culture. His fashions influenced the 80s and the next generations.

He was known for his reasonably priced pieces, mixing elements of relaxed fit with luxury tailoring. He designed for both men and women, he was the first designer to house men and women designs under the same brand. He often incorporated denim, tweed, corduroy into his designs and utilizing utilitarian aspects to his silhouettes. 

Williwear was truly ahead of its time and after 11 collections by 1986 his company grossed more than 25million in sales in more than 500 stores. Although, he is no longer with us we can reflect on his influence of artistic collaboration and being a role model for our community. In homage to Willi Smith let's continue to break barriers and change the status quo.


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