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Art & Life with Elvis Smith

Today we’d like to introduce you to Elvis Smith.

Elvis, please kick things off for us by telling us about yourself and your journey so far.
I lived most my childhood back and forth from Los Angles California, to Jacksonville Florida. Which made it a little difficult at times. I graduated from a small all boys private school. Only 300 students. I then went to study at California State University Northridge. Going from a small school where everyone knows everyone, to a giant campus with tens of thousands of students? Yea, that was quite a jump. I began my studies as a biology student. I had an innate interest in the human body, its form and its functionality. I joined a fashion club just for fun. and eventually it was all I could think about. I changed my major. Produced lots of fashion events and finally earned my degree in Fashion Design and Merchandising in 2015. Since then I have worked as a visual merchandiser and freelance designer and continue to learn to improve my craft and challenge myself.

Can you give our readers some background on your art?
I am a fashion designer. But I always say: I’m a designer first, and then the fashion comes after… Designer of Fashion. I suppose would be a better way to put it. But that sounds pretentious. This is an important distinction to me because the word fashion carries with it this notion of being trendy and runway. There’s an imagine that comes into your mind when you hear the word “fashion”. And that image is not me. It’s not a lot of people.

My creativity has always been rooted in my inability to fit in. I make clothes that serve a purpose of feeling unique. You’ll never see me make a little black dress. Nothing against them. But there are millions of those. When people where my clothes they should feel like they have something special.

I make ready to wear, and art to wear clothing. A lot of my pieces I make only once because I still want very much to expand my portfolio. So, clients either have to request for me I make another for them or obtain one I have already made. I usually happy to accommodate either way.

I love to make dresses. They are the best medium to articulate a woman’s body. The first dress I made for a client actually, went terribly. She wanted a custom wrap dress. Which is not hard to do? But a wrap dress is very off-brand for me. Even at the time. It was not a project I was excited about and it showed. People hate to talk about their failures. But I learned from that to do things that I can identify with.

My inspiration ranges widely from architecture to current world events. Part of my design process is photography. I am able to collaborate with other artists, photographers, models, stylists. When I source fabrics for new collections I never by them by-the-yard. I try to by scrap fabrics to lower impact on the environment. the fashion industry is a leading polluter of the environment. And I try very much to keep that in mind.

My dream is to own my own company. I would love to design for a company and learn the steps to sustain my own successful Business. There is a lot of fear in working with fresh designers. People interviewing me have said I am “too fashion forward”. She [an interviewer] even went so far as to gesture at my outfit and the way I was dressed. But the almighty Kim Kardashian says “If someone says no, then you’re talking to the wrong person.” So, I’m excited to work with the company that excited for my strengths as well.

Do you think conditions are generally improving for artists? What more can cities and communities do to improve conditions for artists?
The biggest challenge facing artists today is that we live in a society where people hate more and more to think for themselves. They want what everyone else has. They follow the trends of their favorite influencers and brands. I think the best way to combat this is to do something that is genuine to you first and foremost. Put your work out there. And then find a way to make it appeal to more people.

What’s the best way for someone to check out your work and provide support?
My work is most regularly available on Instagram at @elvissmith_. People should support by commenting and sending direct messages. Every message of encouragement helps so much to every artist at my stage. People are more than welcome to inquire about purchasing my designs.
An online store is in the works.

Contact Info:

Image Credit:
@elvissmith, @steeznedia, @ffiishh, @elias_ephron, @krisgoman, @welcomeblxck, @shesoobald.

Getting in touch: VoyageLA is built on recommendations from the community; it’s how we uncover hidden gems, so if you know someone who deserves recognition please let us know here

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