With neither formal training as a designer nor experience working in fashion, then financial services marketing-executive Amy Smilovic started TIBI as an expat in Hong Kong nearly 20 years ago. Targeting the market for womenswear between high-end luxury and mass-market brands, Smilovic took her vision – a few rough design sketches – and had them made into sample pieces. With another American expat, Octavia Hyland, the pair established TIBI in 1997. A local factory produced their first designs, comprised of skirts and simple dresses, and modest sales gave Smilovic the confidence to move the business to the United States after Hyland’s departure. In September 2006, the first TIBI retail store opened in New York City.
Central to the line are three major themes – clean, feminine, and relaxed – that Smilovic integrated into each subsequent collection beginning in 2014 as part of a rebranding exercise. To ensure downstream alignment, sales channels were also reevaluated and Smilovic began narrowing down retailers to only include those that resonated with the brand’s ethos. Today, TIBI can be found at Bergdorf Goodman, Saks Fifth Avenue, Neiman Marcus, Bloomingdales, Harrods, and Selfridges.
Free of gaudy embellishments and fickle, fleeting fashion, the line’s transformative genius lies in its ability to help women look and feel both comfortable and secure. It’s no wonder that fans include blogger Charlotte Groeneveld, actress-turned-fashion-icon Sarah Jessica Parker, and socialite Olivia Palermo.
Spring-Summer 2016 presents a collection full of laid back separates and timeless pieces in elegant cuts that embrace both the androgynous and feminine. From culottes to off-shoulder numbers featuring dramatic florals, carefully placed sequins, and bold stripes, piece by piece, Smilovic nails it again this season. Luxurious, clean, and minimal, these high impact, investment worthy pieces will hold their own for years to come.