Tibi Fall 2021 Ready-to-Wear

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A lesser-known fact about Tibi is that its second HQ is in St. Simons Island, a sunny spot just off the coast of Georgia (the Peach State, not the country). It’s where Amy Smilovic grew up, and in the brand’s ’90s beginnings, her parents would help her ship orders from their house. Today, there’s a Tibi outlet on the island where in-the-know visitors can find sculpted blazers and runway prototypes at a deep discount; whenever she’s in town, Smilovic shares the best finds on Instagram, then goes the extra mile to help facilitate sales through DM.

Earlier this year, it dawned on her that most of her design team had never been to the island—or anywhere in Georgia, really—so she planned a weekend trip, which then turned into a destination shoot for the fall 2021 collection. They brought a crew of models, among them Ruby Aldridge and Myla Dalbesio, and called up the Savannah College of Art and Design to ask if they could shoot on campus. SCAD didn’t just say yes—many of its faculty, professors, and students joined in to collaborate on the project.

The results might make you just a little nostalgic for your college days, but that wasn’t really Smilovic’s goal. As she was designing the collection, she was thinking about heritage as well as unbridled creativity: Can both exist in one garment? Can a jacket make you feel like yourself, lend itself to your most creative impulses, and become a “heritage piece” that stays in your closet forever?

Striking that balance has been Smilovic’s m.o. of late, motivated by her Instagram followers who tune in for her style lessons and Q&As on IG Live. For fall, her focus shifted to styling tricks and accessories, rather than radically-new clothing propositions. Waffle-y plaid skirts come with built-in, asymmetrical belts; blazers and trenches have removable lapels and sleeves; “chewed” cable shrugs could be layered over slip dresses or wrapped like a scarf; and a trio of neutral suits were shown with Crayola ribbed-knit sleeves for a jolt of color.

The big takeaway is that Smilovic wants you to play with your clothes (channel that college spirit!), not treat them as “total looks.” Spicing up your wardrobe can be as simple as buying one super-functional sweater or a crazy pair of tights, which Tibi made in collaboration with an Ohio hosiery company. Smilovic is all for a wild statement piece here and there, but when it comes to smart shopping and personal style, she cautions her followers (and customers) against basing their entire look on a single crazy garment. With little room for interpretation, there’s a good chance it spends most of its time in the back of your closet. Her glossy patent skirt and voluminous plaid trench, on the other hand, have personality and staying power to spare.

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