LaQuan Smith, Closets
LaQuan Smith

When we first shot LaQuan, there was a duality to his style that was based on the sun and the moon. During the day, he was "chill, the good boy... doing his thing," in jeans and Converse, with maybe a hit of his beloved sequins or a tee with his sculptural camel blazer in the vein of classic Balenciaga. At night, "the woman designs for" would emerge. "Powerful, motivated and confident," LaQuan was in catsuits, Louboutins, very "bubbly and flashy." Since traveling to Paris and Africa last summer, however, "the heel moments and days are over." A more seasoned LaQuan arrived for the second part of his shoot in an eye-catching and less conspicuous blend of '90s grunge flannel and torn jeans with accents of '80s neon green leopard that for me were genius surprises.

At the ripe old age of twenty-one, this designer is arriving, and thankful for what once ago was devastating - his rejection from FIT. Now the "school of life" has him far ahead of his peers as a designer, while he gets to follow his heart. LaQuan eats and sleeps where he sews at home, with his impressively supportive mother and grandparents, who are some of the most unconditionally loving people I've ever met (I wanted to be adopted). Though he has had to fend off the usual "when are you going to get a job" discussions, it seems that his familial support has contributed to his inner "Sasha Fierce." Armored in his silver knuckle rings, there is nothing stopping the talent of LaQuan: "The more I create, the better I become."

If you love LaQuan, you may also like Jeffrey Williams, Tiziano Mazzilli and Kelly Mills.

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