Words by: Chandler Hines
Photos by: Jon Kohn
For many girls, becoming a fashion designer is the ultimate dream. It’s one of those careers that only comes true in the movies or reality TV. Well, sometimes dreams do come true and it has happened to one of the South's own! Smith Sinrod Diano grew up in Pensacola, FL and graduated from The University of Alabama in 2009 before launching her clothing line, by SMITH. She is one of 7 children (4 of those girls) and some of you probably know of her sister, Holland Williams, from her fabulous photog skills here in Montgomery. The by SMITH collection can be found at Montgomery’s local boutique, Painted Pink on Mulberry, which has been carrying her line since she started it. Supporting a local business like Painted Pink or hue Studio means much more when you get to know some of the designers personally. It’s really neat to know that you are wearing something that a local 'Bama grad dreamed up in her New York studio and put out there for us to have!
I happen to be one of those girls that is still dreaming of fashion and design so I jumped at the chance to interview Smith on how she got started in the biz and what inspires her. Moving from Florida to Tuscaloosa and then to New York is quite the leap and I wanted some insight on how she got started and is able to maintain a fabulous brand.
When did you know you wanted to start a line and design clothes?
I grew up having a sense that I would end up in a creative field. I decided to make a plan to launch the line during my Senior year of college. Once I knew I was going to move forward with the line, I started strategizing my development and angle. My original concept was built around the use of Thai Silk in a contemporary label. The first step was a sourcing trip to Thailand and the rest is history!
What inspires your collections? Do you have a personal muse?
I am constantly inspired by New York's Art Deco Architecture that fills the city. I also pull inspiration from my late Great Grandmother's style- she was "miss put together" and had incredible taste.
What kind of girl do you envision wearing the by SMITH collection?
The by SMITH girl is the young professional woman in her mid-twenties to late forties, career focused singles, recently married, and fashionable Moms.
Where can these women buy your clothes?
In Montgomery, Painted Pink carries the line and has since the very beginning.
What is it like moving from Alabama to New York? You must have been intimidated at first!
When I first moved to New York, I felt very intimated by the aggressive people that fill this city, but now it's home. Now that I am producing in New York and work right around the corner from the factory, I have built a nice work community. The Garment District is small and I see people I know on the streets everyday and that feels comforting. I love coming home to see family, get my grits fix, and take a breath.
What is your go-to outfit and personal style on any given day?
My personal style is reflected in my collection. I like to mix and match printed pieces in a dressy way if the occasion calls for it and prefer to dress down on a daily basis. During the summer I am usually guilty of wearing a pair of Soho Shorts with a cotton tee and flats.
What is next for by Smith? Any big goals or future plans?
We have a lot in store coming up, a lot of which I can't discuss yet. However this summer, we have plans to go on an Airstream Adventure, which is a mobile trunk show concept I came up with. It's been in the works for a while and finally coming to life! We are hosting 5 events in 5 different cities and are collaborating with local artists & talent in each city. We are creating a block party meets trunk show event in each city. It should be fun! We will have blog featuring each party and our adventures along the way. So tune in- more to come!
Well, that sounds exciting! I'm sure there are a lot of girls that look up to you. What advice would you give them to pursue their dreams?
Follow your dreams!! Take criticism with a grain of salt- everyone has opinions of how things should be done, sometimes you just have to do your own thing, listen to your gut and pave your own path.
Come join by SMITH Wednesday, July 23rd from 6:00-8:30pm at the Tipping point for drinks, fashion and fun.
WORDS Caroline Rosen
Last night, as you already know if you have facebook or instagram or the ability to receive text messages, Oprah came to Montgomery to eat at TRUE on in Old Cloverdale. Apparently, a bunch of curious Montgomerians lined up outside the restaurant as more and more people became aware of her presence until eventually, security had to shoo everyone away. It was wonderful to host Oprah in Montgomery, but one question remains: what did Oprah eat?
As a MADE exclusive, we have the full menu, including Oprah's favorites.
The first course was a selection of seasonal salads, all of which were 90% local, with vegetables from Maddox Farms, EAT South and the Curb Market, and seafood from the Gulf via Destin Connection. Oprah's favorite was the Salted Watermelon and Shaved Cucumber Salad. Other choices were a marinated squash and crab salad and Wesley True's "Taste of Summer," chilled shrimp mousse with red pepper ice cream in a squid ink and dashi broth.
The second course was a selection of other locally sourced dishes. The standout: "River Region NY Strip and Braised Beef," a dish sourced entirely from Montgomery. The family behind River Region Beef has been raising cattle in Montgomery County for two generations, and it's incredible. "River Region is Montgomery County beef, done right. A lot of local beef is just having some cattle on your land, then deciding to eat them. It's terrible. River Region is so much better than normal beef, it's amazing something that tastes so good comes from right here Montgomery," said Chef Wesley True.
For dessert, Peach Shortcake and White Chocolate Mousee.
If you want to eat like Oprah, come into TRUE -- everything on the Oprah menu (below) is available tonight except the River Region Beef. Unfortunately, Wesley served the last of that great local beef to our out of town guests.