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.

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