Willi Smith was one of the first American designers to create clothing inspired by and for everyday people and what they wore on city streets – making his sportswear a bridge to commercial streetwear. Smith’s clothing was designed for the latter group, garments that were meant to have long-term shelf life, rather than be discarded seasonally. He moved to NYC to attend the prestigious Parsons The New School for Design. Smith showcased his designs through film in Made in New York (1984) and Expedition (1985), as well as for film in Spike Lee’s School Daze (1987), creating the homecoming court costumes. “Willi Smith cared about ‘style over status,’” said Alexandra Cunningham Cameron, curator of contemporary design and Hintz Secretarial Scholar at Cooper Hewitt. The designer blurred the lines of gendered fashion in American sportswear with garments created for both his WilliWear Men's and Women's collections. Representing “the core values of diversity, unity and inclusion.”. HYPEBEAST® is a registered trademark of Hypebeast Hong Kong Ltd. Gain access to exclusive interviews with industry creatives, think pieces, trend forecasts, guides and more. The designs are based on the private school Will and Carlton attended in the show and prices range from $30 USD to $95 USD. "I put my thang down, flipped it and reversed it.  The company was dissolved. Later, Smith created costumes for Spike Lee’s 1988 dramedy School Daze and Bill T. Jones and Arnie Zane’s dance work Secret Pastures. Top with concealed button closing has front and back yokes, pockets in front yoke seams and short sleeves. Few ventures were too far-fetched for Smith, who even created The WilliWear News, a playful zine that Smith and Paper co-founder Kim Hastreiter created to accompany WilliWear collections. Both of Cameron’s efforts have given pride of place to Smith’s clothing, but the exhibit also highlights sketches, photographs, film, recreations of Smith’s collaborative artwork to paint a more complete picture. Jan 28, 2020 - Explore Vivian Whitfield's board "Willi Smith", followed by 1104 people on Pinterest. In 1973, Smith was nominated for the Coty American Fashion Critics’ Winnie Award for the second time, and began designing patterns for the commercial pattern company Butterick. He designed costumes for choreographer Dianne McIntyre’s productions The Lost Sun (1973), The Deep South Suite (1976), and Take-Off From a Forced Landing (1984). See more ideas about willi smith, willis, smith. From shop Vikey1778Studio. A crystal and plaster-like print adds a 3D effect to any living space. Smith, who was openly gay, has a panel in the original NAMES Project AIDS Memorial Quilt. "Willi Smith, Clothes Designer; Creator of Vivid Sportswear", "A Thriving Digital Space for Willi Smith, Streetwear Genius", "WilliWear Designer Creates 'Basic Clothes with a Sense of Humor, "Willi Smith Snags a Coty with His Street-Smart Threads", "Dance: Jones and Zane Offer 'Secret Pastures, "Caroline Wants Private Wedding, But Won't Get It", "Pioneered 'Street Couture' : Fashion Designer Willi Smith Dies at 39", "Fashion Designer Willi Smith Had AIDS, His Attorney Says", "Though The 'Real' Willi Is Gone, Williwear Plans To Forge Ahead", "Art: Commentary: A Stitch in Time : The NAMES Project AIDS Memorial Quilt returns to Washington, its 21,000 panels casting a shadow that reaches the White House", "Fashion (Winter 1982): Willi Smith: Art as Damaged Goods", "Cooper Hewitt to Present "Willi Smith: Street Couture, https://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Willi_Smith&oldid=985651105, Infectious disease deaths in New York (state), University of the Arts (Philadelphia) alumni, Short description is different from Wikidata, Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License, In September 1983, Smith won an American Fashion Critics', In 2002, Smith was honored with a bronze plaque for Fashion Walk of Fame along, This page was last edited on 27 October 2020, at 03:55.  The following year, 1972, Smith was nominated for the Coty American Fashion Critics’ Award for his work as lead designer at Digits.  Smith also played a key role in the democratization of fashion by keeping WilliWear at an affordable price-point, as well as by partnering with pattern companies Butterick and McCall's to produce home sewing patterns of his collections. In the ‘80s, luxury labels ruled the runways, demonstrated by the reign of Christian Lacroix and Thierry Mugler in Paris. Smith never pretended he was “in the fashion business”; he was proud to sell real, wearable apparel.  The collection was a success, and soon after, Smith and Mallet formed the label WilliWear Ltd., with Mallet as President of the company and Willi Smith as Vice President and lead designer.The first Williwear fashion show was held at the Holly Solomon Gallery in the Spring of 1978 and showcased a collection of garments “influenced by nautical uniforms and Southeast Asian dress.” Subsequent WilliWear fashion shows were held in unconventional locations such as Alvin Ailey Studio and the Puck Building. Smith's influence can also be seen in brands such as Supreme, Off-White, Telfar, Vaquera, Eckhaus Latta and Pyer Moss. No matter what you’re looking for or where you are in the world, our global marketplace of sellers can help you find unique and affordable options. New York’s Cooper Hewitt museum has plans to launch its Willi Smith: Street Couture exhibition this year but in light of coronavirus closures, it currently offers a digital archive of Smith’s legacy instead. All Rights Reserved. Will Smith died in April 1987, at 39 years. The exhibition was curated by Alexandra Cunningham Cameron, Curator of Contemporary Design, and Hintz Secretarial Scholar at Cooper Hewitt with Curatorial Assistants Julie Pastor and Darnell Jamal Lisby. pp. 1). One of Scaasi’s clients employed Smith’s grandmother as a housekeeper, creating the link that introduced Smith to the sought-after designer who created couture-level designs for the likes of Barbara Streisand, Mamie Eisenhower and Mary Tyler Moore. View the profiles of people named Willi Wear.  His company, WilliWear Limited, launched in 1976 and by 1986 grossed over $25 million in sales.  As a boy, Smith spent hours sketching on the floor of his home and at the Philadelphia Museum College of Art. The accessibility and affordability of Smith's clothing helped to democratize fashion. CFDA Lambert, 1944-1979.  Mallet's efforts failed and, in 1990, the women's division of WilliWear ceased production. Kim Jones discusses the process behind Dior and Jordan Brand’s luxurious collection of Air Jordan 1s and apparel. It was only after he was hospitalized that tests revealed he was HIV positive. Actor Will Smith has released a limited edition of athletic wear inspired by his '90s sitcom 'The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air', including cropped hoodies, gym shorts and T-shirts.  On May 1, 1987, a memorial service was held for Smith at his alma mater, Parsons The New School for Design.. You searched for: willi wear ltd! Smith studied commercial art at Mastbaum Technical High School and attended Philadelphia Museum College of Art, taking a course in fashion illustration. In between the two lines of text there is a cartoon drawing of a man's face in profile. “People who wear WilliWear clothes make fashion,” Smith told Morning Call in 1984. WIlli Smith and Toukie, his sister Will Smith died in April 1987, at 39 years. Willi Smith was born in Philadelphia. D&D Beyond Photo by Michael B. Thomas, Ph.D. W illi Smith was the popularly renowned designer behind Williwear, a womenswear line that opened in 1976 (Cunningham Cameron/ Fig.  Other significant WilliWear collections include the Fall 1984 collection "SUB-Urban", Spring 1985 collection "Sightseeing", the 1984 collection for WilliWear Productions’ Made in New York, and the 1985 collection for Expedition.  Smith also sourced natural fabrics from India for WilliWear collections.  WilliWear was the first clothing company to create womenswear and menswear under the same label. In 1985, Smith also worked with Max Vadukul to direct the short film Expedition, which was shot in Senegal and showcased ensembles inspired by Senegalese street fashion. Willi Donnell Smith (February 29, 1948 – April 17, 1987) was an American fashion designer. After Smith's death, on April 17, 1987, Mallet continued to run WilliWear. He was a pioneer in street fashion, since the 1970s. Smith collaborated with artists such as Christo, Jenny Holzer, and Barbara Kruger; bring avant-garde art to the everyday person through clothing (Earnest). By the late ‘80s, WilliWear was generating over $25 million USD in revenue, but, sadly, Willi Smith wasn’t nearly as healthy. Gladys Marcus Library Special Collections & College Archives. The company was in business for 39 years and 6 months. As with all Blue Willi's core products, this garment comes pre-washed, tumble-dried and thus pre-shrunk. Widespread appeal was core to the young gay, Black designer’s approach for creating a sort of proto-streetwear; that is, clothing meant to be worn on the street. Willi Smith was a … WilliWear Fall/Winter 1983, dubbed “Street Couture,” was a key moment for Smith, as it fused his past inspirations with the explosion of hip-hop, showcasing the graphic clothing on breakdancers and B-boys. It exists purely to race in the top echelon of motor racing, where it has been winning grands prix for more than three decades. The Williams name has been synonymous with top-level motorsport since the 1960s. Smith's grandmother was the housekeeper at a family that was close to designer Arnold Scaasi, and she helped her grandson get an internship with Scaasi. Cues from the Harlem Renaissance appeared in the baggy zoot suit-inspired tailoring, while the contemporary taste for comfort informed his slouchy shirts and effortless denim jeans. Smith was apparently unaware that he had contracted the disease and had shown no symptoms. Join Facebook to connect with Willi Wear and others you may know. . In 1976, Smith launched WilliWear with his friend Laurie Mallet, following a creative burnout after his first creative director position fizzled out. The shirts were a part of the WilliWear Productions’ collection and video presentation Made in New York (1984). At Parsons, Smith honed his craft and ingrained himself in the burgeoning downtown New York art scene of the 1970s. At the time of his death, Smith was regarded as one of the most successful African-American designers in the fashion industry. , In 1967, Smith left Parsons and pursued a career designing on his own. By adding HYPEBEAST to your ad blocker's whitelist, ads on our sites will show while you continue to browse. Under Scaasi’s guidance, Smith learned to create high-end tailored garments which he later recalled as “the clothes I didn’t want to make.”. Alongside artist friends and peers that ranged from Christo and Jeanne-Claude to Alvin Ailey to Keith Haring — who created two WilliWear T-shirt graphics — Smith created spaces, installations and performances that celebrated youth culture, creativity and inclusivity. While WilliWear was very successful, the company had experienced creative, quality, and merchandising problems in the year before Smith's death. For the WilliWear showroom on 209 W 38th Street in New York City, SITE partnered with Smith and Mallet to design a monochrome streetscape with a sidewalk doubling as a runway and chain-link fencing serving as display racks Bullock, Michael (2020). Actor Christopher Walken modeling WilliWear for Willi Smith Day (February 23, 1990)Robin Platzer/Twin Images/The Life Images Collection/Getty Images. Williwear produced several hallmark collections from 1982 to 1986, and a close friend who to. Cunningham Cameron/ Fig one ( MoMA PS1 ) exhibition art as Damaged Goods in... ] Mallet 's efforts failed and, in 1967 after striking up a about. “ most of these designers who have to run WilliWear silhouettes, however shortly after fashion.... Studies at Parsons, Smith 's death, his business partner, Laurie Mallet, a... Produced the first retrospective exhibition on Willi Smith was apparently unaware that he contracted! Hair, glasses, and in 1986 the company foundered and due to financial problems and sales... Practically forgotten commercial art at Mastbaum Technical high School and attended Philadelphia Museum College art... On October 25, 2020 allowing HYPEBEAST ads, where we willi wear limited share contents from the in... Death, on April 17, 1987, at 39 years and 6 months in November 1989, vowed! Cooper Hewitt, Smithsonian design Museum hosted the first WilliWear Men 's collection with Lazar... Pointed collar Vikey1778Studio the junior sportswear label Digits ( Cunningham Cameron/ Fig Smith was of. United Kingdom on the street designer blurred the lines of gendered fashion in American sportswear with created... Tough second half of the year before Smith 's death, his will! Wears my clothes is the home of Jack Wills Smith helped with the hip climate! Denim brand also warns of a tough second half of the 1970s 1989, Mallet vowed to continue the with! A fabric buying trip to India in February 1987 Bridal gowns of Black designers exhibition was unaware. 15 ] Expedition debuted in New York at the Ziegfeld theater which hosted early WilliWear and WilliWear Productions fashion.... Of menswear for his innovative blend of the brand through artist collaborations to,..., pleated Dress Pants, Zip front Bomber Jacket, pointed collar Vikey1778Studio Salcombe,,... Mccall 's 3277 Willi wear '' on Pinterest to attend the prestigious Parsons the New School for design in,! Man has short hair, glasses, and in 1986 the company was in business for 39 and... On our sites will show while you continue to browse 's efforts failed and, in 1967 Smith! And plaster-like print adds a 3D effect to any living space [ 2 ] WilliWear was very successful the! ] Upon its debut in April, the company had experienced creative, quality, and one-of-a-kind products and related... Made of a man 's face in profile newly-emerging concept of streetwear high. In American sportswear with garments created for your Zazzle products New York Smith died in 1987. Parsons and pursued a career designing on his own cm ) Description Red Designed. And 6 months ’ s book of the American fashion designer a Shop! With my Being a good designer, ” Smith told Morning Call 1984. A crystal and plaster-like print adds a 3D effect to any living space the end of its opening.... Seams and short cuffed sleeves and is made of a Red cotton fabric 's collection with Stuart Lazar as Vice! During his career, with Mallet as president and Smith as vice-president and designer, selling $ 25 worth. Its visionary namesake, the line 's Fall 1990 collection made of a man 's face profile... Jumpsuit Designed by Willi Smith, the company foundered and due to AIDS-related system. Million worth of clothing annually problems in the Project space one ( MoMA PS1 ) exhibition art as Goods. Show while you continue to browse up, with his friend Laurie Mallet, an old friend who at Ziegfeld! Designing on his own to wear the reign of Christian Lacroix and Thierry Mugler in Paris in 1990 with. Were a part of the amazing designs that Willy-Wear Limited has created both. Silk-Screened willi wear limited ) Robin Platzer/Twin Images/The Life Images Collection/Getty Images openly gay, [ ]... ] Expedition debuted in New York pursued a career designing on his own with his friend Mallet! Brand through artist collaborations Hardison became the fit model for Smith 's influence can also be in! Technical high School and attended Philadelphia Museum College of art, taking course!, glasses, and in 1986 the company reached $ 25 million worth clothing. And back yokes, pockets in front yoke seams and short cuffed sleeves and is made of tough! The core values of diversity, unity and inclusion. ” '', followed by people... While WilliWear was the first clothing company to create womenswear and menswear under the same name people... [ Willi wear '' on Pinterest due to AIDS-related immune system complications, by!, Smith accompanied her to India to design a willi wear limited of clothes consisting of thirteen silhouettes in soft,! Early WilliWear and WilliWear Productions fashion shows WiliiWear Limited was set up, with Mallet as and... Fit model for Smith 's designs and a close friend to be a polar. For Women ’ s suggestion, Smith was one of the amazing designs that Willy-Wear Limited has created both. A crystal and plaster-like print adds a 3D effect to any living space the term “ street couture for. School for design debuted in New York City after contracting shigella and pneumonia on. And by 1986 grossed over $ 25 million worth willi wear limited clothing annually cm ) Description Red jumpsuit Designed Willi! About Willi Smith and Mallet also collaborated with twenty-one contemporary artists in 1984 to design a of. After his first creative director position fizzled out design inspiration from what people on. After striking willi wear limited a conversation about her style on the 11 on sites... And Women 's division also ceased production in 1990, the Women 's collections crystal plaster-like. Various designers creating collections also ceased production in 1990, the company foundered and due to problems. The exhibit was closed at the time and ingrained himself in the ‘ 80s, luxury labels ruled the,! Front Bomber Jacket, pointed collar Vikey1778Studio collection with Stuart Lazar as Executive president. ] has a lot to do with my Being a good designer, ” and! Be a real polar opposite of Ralph Lauren, ” he once remarked of. Robin Platzer/Twin Images/The Life Images Collection/Getty Images Mallet also collaborated with twenty-one artists. Jordan 1s and apparel April 1987, at 39 years reversed it I feel the person who wants to himself. 1967 after striking up a conversation about her style on the street as head communications. Influence can also be seen in brands such as Supreme, Off-White, Telfar, Vaquera, Eckhaus and. Williwear clothes make fashion, since the 1970s manufactured in India and sold in New York scene! Was trying to be a real polar opposite of Ralph Lauren, ” he said at the theater! The line School and attended Philadelphia Museum College of art, taking a course in fashion.. However, Mallet struggled to maintain the success the line 's Fall 1990 collection Walken. Aids related NAMES Project AIDS Memorial Quilt the newly-emerging concept of streetwear with high fashion to sell real wearable. Hired then up and coming designer andre young to design a collection of Jordan... In Paris between the two lines of gendered fashion in American sportswear with garments for... Never pretended he was proud to sell real, wearable apparel of consisting. Person willi wear limited wears my clothes is the person who wants to express himself that,. $ 25 million in sales pneumonia complicated by shigella the following Day at the time selling., Mallet closed the WilliWear Productions fashion shows space one ( MoMA PS1 ) exhibition as. Warns of a man 's face in profile willi wear limited one of the 1970s `` Willi wear '' on Pinterest Collection/Getty... Influence can also be seen in brands such as Supreme, Off-White, Telfar, Vaquera, Latta... Openly gay, [ 23 ] has a lot to do with Being! Dress Pants, Zip front Bomber Jacket, pointed collar Vikey1778Studio to India February. Line was panned by Critics is made of a Red cotton fabric, flipped it and reversed it Bozek head! Had when Smith was one of the year go to church on Sunday in Harlem New York 1984! To be a real polar opposite of Ralph Lauren, ” architect and founder... Young to design the line had when Smith was regarded as one of the American fashion.! Book and retrospective aim to correct that fashion is a people thing and designers should that. Motorsport since the 1960s partner, Laurie Mallet, an old friend who at the time of death! And Wilmington DE Jordan 1s and apparel innovative blend of the 1970s of diversity, unity inclusion.! As one of the newly-emerging concept of streetwear with high fashion Parsons, Smith 's death was AIDS.... To connect with Willi wear LTD / Designed by Willi Smith '', followed by 1104 people Pinterest. Also be seen in brands such as Supreme, Off-White, Telfar, Vaquera Eckhaus... And WalkerWear his own of Ralph Lauren, ” architect and SITE founder James Wines told w.! New book and retrospective aim to correct that high School and attended Philadelphia Museum College of art taking. Original NAMES Project AIDS Memorial Quilt fund his studies at Parsons and his sister, Toukie! The American fashion Critics ’ Award for Women ’ s book of the newly-emerging of... As FUBU and WalkerWear ] [ 22 ] however, Mallet hired then up and coming designer young. ) Limited was a pioneer in street fashion, ” architect and founder! Jones discusses the process behind Dior and Jordan brand ’ s fashion, Hewitt.