Designer Spotlight: Megan Smith Looks To Womanhood To Inform Her Creative Process
Megan Smith has been forging her own path in fashion for over a decade. Though many know her from her innovative designs under the imprint Megan Renee that was showcased in the Amazon Prime series “Next In Fashion” her grit outside of television is what has sustained her. With a distinctive vision for womenswear, she captured the hearts of viewers and grew her community even more. Smith’s work is full of vibrance and classic shapes that are flattering to a woman’s shape.
The Kansas City native fell in love with designing as a child, during this phase of her life she was making outfits for her Barbie dolls. Her love for fashion also stems from clothing which served as a means of escape for her when she was tasked with growing up swiftly due to her mother being diagnosed with a mental illness. “I loved that I could create these clothes that made me feel like I was somebody else or in a different situation. I like to think that I’m building this brand for her,” she shared in an interview with In The Know.
Years later, as an adult, she was designing her own pieces as a means of expressing herself and as a way to fill up her spare time. Smith juggled this on the side while she designed for different private labels and companies like Macy’s and Nordstrom. At her day jobs for large department stores, she explains that she felt creatively stifled.
“I was seeing how fast fashion and how some of these styles [and how what] companies were selling to some of these retailers were really disposable,” she tells ESSENCE.com. “There was nothing really special about them.” This was somewhat of a lightbulb moment for the designer–from then on she realized she wanted to create a brand that was sustainable, but also wearable.
By 2016 she decided to take a leap of faith and move to Los Angeles, the following year she debuted her brand during LA Fashion Week. Her presentation was met with widespread support, and this pushed her to officially launch her online store. Sales on the site began booming following her launch. Smith kept working on her craft, applying for grants for funding, and in 2020, she landed on Amazon’s “Making The Cut.” This was a launchpad for the designer, though she didn’t win the series, she was a standout throughout the season. After bowing out from the show, Megan took a break and then pursued designing for her line full-time.
Her keen eye for detail is evident in each of her creations, with clean lines and subtle yet impactful accents she’s able to consistently balance simplicity and sophistication. By toying the line between maximalism and minimalism she constantly unveils pieces that resonate with her consumers. Many of her creations are made with vibrant eye-catching patterns. ’90s design cues also find their way into pieces in specific drops too—she has a fascination with how fashion during this era was filled with bright prints and interesting shapes like power shoulders.
Megan, whose designs have been worn by the likes of Issa Rae and Jackie Aina is also a vocal advocate for ethical fashion and her designs reflect this commitment. Her eponymous line not only showcases her artistic prowess but also reflects her dedication to promoting responsible consumerism. This is shown in her use of creating pieces with solely eco-friendly materials and ethical production practices.
Her brand’s ethos also centers on unapologetic femininity. Over time, Smith has redefined her niche but has found a good footing in letting womanhood continue to inspire her. She balances feminine and masculine with her strong suiting and flattering silhouettes to fit the curves of every kind of woman. She’s not afraid of the brand evolving as she does. As she’s preparing for New York Fashion Week she’s again letting the inspiration of strong women drive her to keep thriving. She will be showing designs at Harlem’s Fashion Row Show and Style Awards–and this will give her a moment to once again showcase what she envisions as modern womenswear.
Megan’s hope for the future of her brand is to create longevity. “I think overall my dream is to have my brand in multiple department stores and to really take my place in the industry and have a strong point of view,” she adds.