Megan Smith (@__meganrenee___) is a Los Angeles-based fashion designer whose bold and vibrant clothing from her contemporary womenswear brand, Megan Renee, is heavily inspired by her background and immediate environment. On this episode of In The Know: Style Changemakers, Smith shares how her passion for sustainability and self-expression, along with her belief in the transformative power of fashion, inform her design process.
“Whenever I think of fashion, I think it’s wearable art,” Smith tells In The Know. “I think everybody has their own unique style, and I think that’s a way people express themselves visually to the world.”
Smith’s perspective regarding self-expression is evident in how she incorporates her core values and identity into her designs. “Sustainability is a huge deal for me and my brand,” explains Smith, who designs all of her prints using digital printing—which requires less water and ink than traditional printing—with sustainable fabrics.
In addition to the environmental ethos behind her clothing, Smith’s work also centers on her life in Los Angeles. “I really get inspired by just the scenery and also the women that I encounter every day,” Smith mentions, describing their “easy glamor” as the cornerstone for how she wants women to feel in her clothes. “Very bold and powerful, but feminine at the same time.”
Smith’s current inspirations and beliefs that permeate her work can be traced back to her childhood. Her interest in fashion began with her mother. “She had me when she was 16, so we sort of grew up together,” Smith recalls, noting, “She was always made up every day and very fashionable and glamorous.”
Furthermore, Smith also learned from her childhood that clothing could function as a means of escape. Having to grow up quickly after her mother was diagnosed with a mental illness, Smith found comfort in fashion. “I loved that I could create these clothes that made me feel like I was somebody else or in a different situation,” Smith says before sharing, “I like to think that I’m building this brand for her.”
When it comes to aesthetic influences, the 90s is an era Smith holds near and dear to her designs. “I just love how everything was over the top and very bold and powerful. I love strong shoulders and interesting shapes and bold colors and bright prints,” she enthuses.
Despite fashion’s reputation for exclusivity, Smith believes clothing and style are inherently communal. “I think everybody has their own unique style, and I think that’s a way to communicate without actually speaking,” she says. Community is also at the forefront of Smith’s creative process. “When I create my best pieces is when I’m deeply attached to something or someone.”
With respect to aspiring designers, Smith’s advice is simple. “Life is short, so we don’t have time to sit and wait for the right opportunity,” she explains before encouraging anyone with a passion to “just do it.”
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