The Love List

est. 2006

5 Questions and a Playlist: Tibi's Amy Smilovic

SEPT15, PEOPLE, STYLE, SOUTHERN STYLE ISSUEJess Graves
Tibi Founder + Creative Director Amy Smilovic. Photo courtesy Tibi New York.

Tibi Founder + Creative Director Amy Smilovic. Photo courtesy Tibi New York.

This week, Tibi Founder and Creative Director Amy Smilovic makes a pilgrimage back to her old stomping grounds (the state of Georgia, that is), visiting some of the line's most loyal retailers. That includes Heery's Clothes Closet in Athens, Georgia, who she's teaming up with to host a special evening of cocktails and shopping on Thursday, October 1 from 6:00-9:00 P.M at The Cotton Press. Tickets are available for purchase online on Heery’s website for $45 (general admission), $100 (VIP) or $15 (student).

“Tibi is almost 20 years old." Amy says. "I’m so proud of the longstanding relationships we’ve fostered – I’ve worked with Heery’s from literally day one. I remember visiting their store with just a trunk full of clothes on my first visit from Hong Kong (where I was living at the time) to the U.S. to show my line. I was so nervous – and left thrilled with an order! To return nearly 20 years later, and for Heery’s to have been with us every step of the way as we’ve grown into global brand feels like an incredible accomplishment. And as a University of Georgia alumna, it just feels like everything has come full circle.” 

Adds Heery’s owner Rusty Heery, “My history with Amy makes this event extremely special to Heery’s and to the city of Athens. We aim to make this a homecoming of sorts and are incredibly excited to present the fall collection in such a unique way.”

5.  Did you listen to anything specific when you were designing this collection? What?  

Yes, I started with The Shangri-La's "You Can Never Go Home Again"... I scroll through so much music and it's great when I find the song that is EXACTLY what I'm in the mood for for the collection. Music is one of the most critical factors for me in designing and communicating the collection, I love the females' voices, so strong, it was retro, but still modern, and our music expert I worked with took my song and mixed it with Petite Noir's "Chess", and the whole mix became very, very modern.

4. What was the first album you ever bought with your own money? What was the first album that changed your life?  

Grease was my first album.  Life changing album... REM's Reckoning, think that was first move from pop to indie, which I definitely fell in love with and identified closely.

3. How would you characterize the Tibi shopper when you first started out, and how would your characterize her now? Do you think it's the same girl who grew up a little, or a totally new customer?  

Yes, it's the same customer. She's grown up and she's changed, as the world is now a very different place than when I started. The internet was just starting, and you could hardly describe anything as truly global in nature. I first started as a contemporary brand very focused on trends. They may not have all been my personal style, but they were the trends of that moment and that's what I was focused on. Now the competitive pool of designers has grown exponentially, there's a thriving mid-market of designer knock-offs (Zara) and a huge second hand market. With all of the product out there, I found it critical that I create a label that is very personal to me and my aesthetic, and in the past whilst that may have been limiting if I was focused primarily on the U.S., now the potential is unlimited as my designs reach all corners of the world and there is a large customer base seeking authenticity and luxury... things that are a bit more meaningful, less disposable. So yes, I think we've kept many of our old customers - Heery's is in itself a testament to that - but we've significantly widened our customer base.

2. How has growing up in the South most influenced your work? Does that stay with you even when you're designing a collection like this one, which is inspired by far-flung Inuit culture?

I don't think growing up in the South influenced directly this collection per-se.  But what did influence it was the fact that I am open to many cultures and ways of life. I've lived quite a few places now, I travel extensively, I married a European, we celebrate different religions, and I feel I have a very open perspective on how different cultures influence fashion and living and working in Soho, I know that things have to have a modern, utilitarian feeling to be truly functional in my lifestyle.

1. It's college football season. What's your hype song?  

"Be Your Own (Vadim's dub mix) " by One Self!

01. The Rolling Stones - She's A Rainbow

02. Siouxsie and the Banshees - Hong Kong Garden

03. Scissor Sisters - I Don't Feel Like Dancin' 

04. The Trucks - Old Bikes

05. Robert Plant, Alison Kraus - Gone Gone Gone (Done Moved On)

06. Black Kids - I'm Not Gonna Teach Your Boyfriend How to Dance

07. Gossip - Careless Whisper (Live)

08. Fun Boy Three - Our Lips Are Sealed

09. Generational - Angry Charlie

10. My Robot Friend - Boyfriend!

11. The Susan - Home

12. Jane's Addiction - Stop

13. The Kinks - Destroyer

14. GIT - If You Just Make Love To Me

15. Santigold - The Keepers

16. Tomorrow's World - So Long My Love

17. Petite Noir - Noirse

18. Beck - Blue Moon

19. Jamie xx - All Under One Roof Raving

20. The Shangri-Las - I Can Never Go Home Anymore

21. Petite Noir - Chess

22. One Self - Be Your Own (Vadim's Club Mix)

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