Queens Bred, Fashion Designer LaQuan Smith Opens Up About His Journey And 2020

He’s a New Yorker, he’s from Queens, and he’s American fashion designer LaQuan Smith. His creations are specific for a certain type of woman. Women from Jennifer Lopez, to Beyoncé, Lady Gaga, and Rihanna are known to drink from his aesthetic design fountain. Smith gives inauguration credit into fashion to his grandmother, who taught him the intricacies of sewing and pattern making. And today, his design style as unapologetic, glamorous, sexy, classy and luxurious.

In a chat with Smith, he opens up about design school, his ah-ha moment when he knew he wanted to be a designer, what his process is like in creating new collections, and what the world can expect to see from him in 2021. Photographed by New York City fashion and beauty photographer Andrew Day, who has worked with some of the industry’s most leading fashion talent.

It was the women in his family that propelled the thirty-two-year-old to become a designer. “After seeing the beautiful women in my family dress up for occasions, it lit the spark in me to want to create beautiful clothes,” he notes. Smith is not fashion school educated but rather self-taught, filled with passion for his craft, and has a ruthless eye for what his clientele wants to wear. “I used to think that going to design school would have elevated my craft, but now I don’t think it’s necessary for me to go to fashion design school. Learning on my own and carving my own path forced me to execute on my own and figure it out myself,” says Smith.

What’s unique about Smith’s journey is that by the age of twenty-one, he premiered at New York Fashion Week when most design students of his same ilk and age are still in school. “I was so fortunate to have my first debut fashion show during NYFW in 2010, with the help of my mentor at the time Andre Leon Talley. I actually held my runway show at the Peninsula and Serena Williams closed the show in 2012. With help from my network I was able to showcase strong for my first outings.”

His creative process timeline is average for most design houses. “It takes me a full 6 months to create a collection- starts with my inspiration process, goes to my draping, prototyping and sample making, down to fitting and casting, and finally our runway shows or a lookbook.” And, Smith chooses to have his offices in Queens as opposed to the hustle and bustle of Manhattan. “Long Island City, Queens is important for me to be in as its close to my birth spot in Queens but it’s a haven opposed to the bustling nature of Manhattan. During fashion week I’m able to walk out the office in complete isolation sometimes.”

What makes Smith’s style specific is

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Early American explorers bred dogs for their ‘woolly’ hair

Early North American explorers bred dogs so they would have ‘woolly hair’ that could be sheared like a sheep – and then spun it into clothing and blankets, a study found. 

Iain McKenchnie and colleagues from the Hakai Institute in British Columbia, Canada, examined the records of more than 170,000 canine bones dug up at 210 sites in the Pacific northwest.

The first humans arrived in North America from Eurasia about 11,000 years ago and they found very few animals suitable for domestication, McKenchnie said.

This prompted them to turn to the dogs they took with them and over generations bred them for different purposes, including small woolly dogs for clothing.

According to the team other dogs were pressed into service as draught animals, pulling sleds and others were used more conventionally for hunting.

Researchers found two 'common' types of dogs in the archaeological record - a smaller 'wool' dog up to 19.5 inches high and a village dog for hunting up to 23 inches high

Researchers found two ‘common’ types of dogs in the archaeological record – a smaller ‘wool’ dog up to 19.5 inches high and a village dog for hunting up to 23 inches high

Bones studied as part of this research came from the Pacific northwest including Oregon and Alaska and most were from domestic dogs rather than wolves or foxes. 

The most common type of remains belonged to a woolly spitz-like dog that was knee high to a human and showed evidence of being sheared like sheep.

This backs up a historical diary entry from the early 19th century made at a trading post in British Colombia that described the people of the Cowichan tribe travelling in canoes filled with ‘dogs more resembling [lambs] shown of their wool’.

The dog remains discovered by the Hakai and University of Oregon researchers were distinctly split into two types – big and small.

Iain McKenchnie and colleagues from the Hakai Institute examined the records of more than 170,000 canine bones dug up at 210 sites in the Pacific northwest. Stock image

Iain McKenchnie and colleagues from the Hakai Institute examined the records of more than 170,000 canine bones dug up at 210 sites in the Pacific northwest. Stock image

The bigger dogs were relatively tall and rangy, likely used in hunting, companionship and for pulling sleds and carts in the frozen regions – as seen in Alaska today.

These larger dogs were relatively few in number compared to the second type, a smaller dog that would have been covered in wool-like fur.

This suggests evidence of ‘roles for dogs including hunting, companionship, and wool production in a region lacking terrestrial agriculture and domestic livestock,’ the researchers wrote in their paper. 

Carly Ameen from the University of Exeter, a canine expert not involved in this study, told The Times dogs replaced the roles of animals the settlers left behind in Eurasia.

‘Dogs were used to fill a lot of these technical roles. You end up with sled dogs in the Arctic to pull things around,’ Ameen said.

‘And you also get these really interesting occurrences of some dogs that were used for their wool, much like people in Eurasia were using sheep.’ 

The authors say that breeding small dogs for wool-and-hair textiles enabled the production of economically valuable material for trade.

This was then further enhanced by using the

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