Fashion

Second Life Podcast: Amy Smilovic

Tibi is the ultimate New York City cool-girl brand. Known for its effortlessly sophisticated silhouettes and contemporary, clean designs, Tibi has become recognized as a brand that goes beyond the clothing. That is because of its mindful founder and creative director, Amy Smilovic. In 1997, Smilovic launched Tibi as she was living in Hong Kong, and it was only a matter of time before Tibi proved itself as a key player within the fashion industry, garnering the attention of major retailers like Nordstrom, Saks, and Neiman Marcus. Then, in 2010, Smilovic took a major risk: She decided to completely redesign and reimagine the brand to align with her current aesthetic and feelings. Too often, fashion brands can get so caught up in outside influence from buyers and clients that they lose their original vision and ethos, which Smilovic refused to let happen to Tibi. Thus, her risk transformed into a reward. 

With a newfound focus on what Smilovic refers to as “creative pragmatism” in mindset and style, she successfully pulled off a 180-degree brand pivot. In fact, throughout the pandemic, Smilovic launched an IG Live Style Class, where she spoke to this way of designing and Tibi’s DNA, ultimately fostering a dedicated following. After 24 years, Tibi is bigger than ever, is at the forefront of the industry, and is housed at esteemed retailers like Intermix and Net-a-Porter in addition to its own e-commerce platform. While Smilovic has impressively built an authentic fashion brand, the Georgia native actually began her career in advertising and marketing at notable companies such as Ogilvy and American Express.

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