Senior Fashion Design student Dwayne Smith recently dropped a collection for his brand in collaboration with the e-commerce retailer SHEIN. His brand, Duane Smith, focuses on elevated, futuristic womenswear to make women feel strong, confident, and sexy. The collection dropped in December as part of the SHEIN X incubator program. The program provides independent designers and artists with tools, marketing, manufacturing, operational and financial support through a 12 piece collection incorporating deadstock fabrics. Dwayne’s collection is inspired by the film The Matrix and tells the story of a dystopian future, in which humanity is unknowingly trapped inside a simulated reality. Boundary-pushing silhouettes, uncommon seamlines, and bold color-blocking push a futuristic fashion agenda, while also being easy-to-wear and style. This is just the first of many opportunities to Dwayne, who hopes to create a black-owned luxury brand where he can continue to create sophisticated, self-expressive, chic, and futuristic apparel.
SHEIN X INCUBATOR PROGRAM
The SHEIN X Incubator program first launched in February 2021 as a way to “discover and empower indie designers by showcasing their talent to millions of SHEIN fans worldwide.” SHEIN connects these independent designers with production, however the designer retains ownership of their designs and receives a percentage of the profits. In its first year, “SHEIN X has partnered with 1,442 designers and artists from over 20 countries.” (SHEIN) Preparations for Duane Smith’s fall/winter collection began in May 2022. Dwayne worked closely alongside the SHEIN team for direction and mentorship. Under their guidance, he was able to oversee the entire process from sketching to samples and final production.