At first glance, it’s hard to imagine Bailey Smith came from, as she put it, the middle-of-nowhere Indiana. But more specifically, Whiteland.
Coming from a town with little diversity, you stood out even if you weren’t wearing something all that different, Smith said.
And if there is one thing she knows, it’s dressing different.
Wearing her vintage David Bowie T-shirt and red leather boots, her thick-framed glasses balanced on the tip of her nose and completed her look. It’s not an unusual style for Smith to wear.
Now a senior in college, Smith has managed to work in almost every aspect of the fashion industry, from modeling to styling and even getting published in Valour Magazine.
Growing up in a small town and attending a private Catholic school, Smith didn’t get very many opportunities to showcase her quirky style.
But behind closed doors and on the occasional out-of-uniform day at school, she took advantage of every opportunity she could. By developing an observant eye for trends and spending her money to buy the newest issue of Vogue every month, Smith quickly began to develop a personalized look and a love of fashion.
Smith was drawn to Nashville because “music influenced the fashion,” and they “had their own thing going,” she said. Arguably something she and Nashville have in common.
“I follow what I see. I find it my obligation to make sure I do my research. I watch as many shows as I can when it’s fashion week,” said Smith. “If you want to be in it, it’s competitive and you have to know your stuff. I feel like it’s my duty to go online and figure out what’s going on and what people are doing.”
It should come as no surprise the passion drove her to bigger cities as she constantly looked for the next thing. After studying entrepreneurship in Nashville for a few years, she eventually landed her dream spot at the London College Of Fashion.
While abroad, Smith took a multitude of fashion styling courses. From photography to buying and development, she was thrown head first into the high-end fashion industry.
Out of all the projects thrown her way, fashion styling was her favorite. As part of her curriculum, she was asked to execute editorial and look book shoots for a high street fashion company of her choice.
“The public influences fashion a lot more than it used to. Because of technology and social media, street fashion is a huge thing now. Designers are paying attention to what celebrities and bloggers are wearing instead of vice versa,” said Smith.
As different as the two worlds may seem, she didn’t completely leave Nashville behind. Smith brought a lot of Nashville into her London projects.
“I wanted to incorporate things from where I was from. I’ve always liked structure and minimalism, and Nashville designers have that same look,” said Smith. “There stuff is very practical.”
After being asked to create her own online store featuring her favorite brands, Smith developed an interest in working with sustainable materials.
“I like things that are well-made. My two favorite things to focus on are minimalism and sustainability,” said Smith.
For this reason, some of her favorite brands include Acme studios, Alexander Mcqueen and Elizabeth Suzann, all of which focus on those core elements.
“I love things that are boxy and weird. It’s a different and distinguishable look,” said Smith.
Smith’s biggest inspirations include icons like David Bowie because they “blurred lines between what boys and girls wear.” She also pulls from the structuralism of Scandinavian architecture and funky patterns and colors from the ’70s.
But whether it’s a person or a place, all of Smith’s inspirations share a common element of uniqueness and an eye for something different.
“Fashion is a culture. A lot goes into it. I love that it’s just my thing,” said Smith. “I don’t have to say anything – I just have to be and people get it.”
This article was written by Paige Atwell. Photo courtesy of Bailey Smith.