Designer Dynamo

Ever since she was a little girl growing up on the Gulf Coast, Smith Sinrod, 29, has drawn inspiration from the closets of the women around her. “I’ve found that Southern women love colorful clothing and can’t get enough of prints — my two favorite things to incorporate in my collections, ” she says.

Her upscale clothing line, called “by SMITH, ” which is available at Holiday, CK Collection and Coquette, caters to women in their 20s to 50s. “The by SMITH woman ranges from the young professional to the mom who wants to dress up her jeans with a fun silk blouse.”

Soon after graduating from the University of Alabama, Sinrod set out to produce her first set of samples. Then she got in her car and traveled throughout the Southeast, selling to boutiques. Soon after, she was chosen as one of two designers for Gen Art’s Fresh Faces in Fashion runway show during Miami Fashion Week (the other entrepreneur was Whitney Port of MTV’s “The City” and “The Hills” fame).

Since that big break, Sinrod’s business has grown both domestically and internationally, but she still maintains a personal touch with events, such as the extremely successful Airstream trailer trunk shows that her team produced in cities throughout the Southeast, including Mobile. “At each event, local vendors such as food trucks, jewelry designers and boutiques partnered with us, which made the shows more community inclusive, ” she says. Here, the booming fashion designer shares some of the highlights of her journey and what’s up next.

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Tell us more about by SMITH.
My line is extremely transitional, allowing any item to be worn from desk to dinner or mixed and matched with items customers already own. I try to keep each collection fairly classic and then add my spin with vibrant prints and geometric shapes. There is enough versatility for women to express their own personal style. 

Who is your biggest inspiration?
My late great-grandmother made an impact on my personal and designing style. A true Southern woman with elegant taste, she was always very polished.

Describe your style in three words. Casual,  conservative and colorful

What is the biggest “fashion crime” you have ever committed?
Let’s just say, I was called “the hat girl” in lower school; this involved a unique hat every day of the week. My favorite was purple with plastic gems all over it … oh dear! I guess it was self expression. 

If by SMITH had a theme song, what would it be?
For 2014, the company theme song was “Rock ’n’ Me” by the Steve Miller Band. My account executive Celie Mayhall (a Mobile native) and I heard this song after weeks on the road visiting stores and realized we had been to each city mentioned in the song that past month. That was the summer we traveled around on our Airstream adventure, so it was appropriate for ladies on the go! 


What do you predict are the upcoming trends? 
This spring, midi skirts, bright yellow pieces and floral prints are very in. Our Park midi skirt (above left) is offered in striped and floral. We also have several items in bright yellow, including our York dress and Beacon dress. Then, our adorable Jane romper (above right) comes in a floral print. All of these items can be found at Holiday. 

What are 10 must-have staples in your closet?
1) My Barrow tees, long-sleeved basics in merino wool with a silk pocket in white, black and tan
2) J Brand skinny jeans
3) Soho shorts, which can be dressed up in the summer with heels and worn with tights in the fall
4) My Bleecker Coat – a hooded cashmere wool coat
5) A solid vest
6) Solid scoop-neck cotton T-shirts
7) My silk Allen blouses, which have three-quarter-length sleeves and come in solid and printed patterns
8) A black cocktail dress
9) Black leggings
10) A great, fitted blazer 

What advice would you give women who struggle with finding their personal style? 
Keep it simple! I try to stick to one statement piece per outfit. Also, it’s important to feel comfortable in what you are wearing. If you are lost in the style department, test out different silhouettes and cuts until you find the right fit for yourself. If you prefer neutrals, try a bolder color in a solid every now and then to change it up! 

Items in the by SMITH line retail from $130 – $500. To shop online, go to

text by Mallory Boykin

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