Monday 14 November 2011

Fashion Designer Willi Smith 1948-1987

Not to be confused with Jada's man Will Smith, this guy is another under rated designer often omitted from the fashion history books.
Award winning Willi Smith was a successful African American designer who after training at the prestigious Parsons School of Design set up his own company   WilliWear. He created an easy to wear style of clothing, influenced by sportswear and it's use of fabrics such as stretch jerseys and sweat shirting, which was an innovation back in the 1970s! This designer was ahead his time. Gone too soon to see the rise of casual couture and black urban street fashion being appropriated onto the catwalks of Paris and Milan, but hopefully not forgotten.

This has got to be the cutest label ever!

Willi Smith with his model sister Toukie
Fashion Television has this exclusive video, of the designer and his work, which looks like it was filmed shortly after his death. 
Unfortunately it's not easy to find images of his work online, althought it seems his company is still active in one form or another. Have a google and try find out more or check out this link: Tribute to Fashion Icon Willi Smith


  1. Thank you for sharing this fantasic bit of history with us all, it's nice to see the works of other black talented individuals, particular in fashion where the struggle continues to get recognised as a black/ ethnic minority.
    Loving.his label! it's so cool!!

  2. Thank you! Willi Smith was the first black fashion designer I discovered, probably in Ebony magazine. He definately played a part in me becoming a designer and maker.