If you’re looking for essentials that cater to diverse women wanting to build their wardrobe, your search may be over. Smash+Scott is a fashion brand that embodies effortless style. Olivia Smashum and Sandra Scott wanted to create a women’s fashion line of luxurious essentials that are uncomplicated and modern in design, sensual in feel, and comfortable and flattering in fit.
This is the second act for these two friends, who built their style collections on what they learned along their 20-year career as executives in the entertainment industry.
“We saw a need for affordable luxury wardrobe essentials for real women like ourselves that wasn’t being met in the fashion industry. With two years of research to find the finest fabrics, the best fit, and the best local craftsmen, we created the smash+scott collection—the ideal medium to express our passion for giving voice to the authentic stories of our lives,” the designers and entrepreneurs share.
“We designed a collection of pieces that are ageless—pieces that our daughters would try to steal from our closets. We wanted to create a modern style with an edge.”
Every piece in their collections is produced in a limited run, artisan-style, and a lot of thought goes behind each design and the fabric it’s made out of. But we were not only in awe of the designs themselves, we were also interested in the midlife women behind the brand. Following is our Q&A with them, along with stunning photos of some of their designs.
Viva Fifty.- What part of smash+scott brings you the most joy?
Smash+Scott.- The creative process is always a challenging but exciting time for us. Inspiration can come from so many places: a memory of sights and sounds from travels, an art exhibit, a trip to the garment center. Just giving yourself the freedom to take it all in is awesome. How often do we get the luxury of a fresh start? That’s the beauty of fashion design
VF.- How do you want women to feel when they wear your clothes?
S+S.- Powerful, strong, confident, a fashion renegade, not afraid to stand out and make a statement, sexy, beautiful. Free to be you.
VF.- I love the patterns of your dresses. How do you decide on a particular cut or material?
S+S.- I guess it’s no secret that we go bold when it comes to patterns. Our look is modern, so we want it to be classic but with an edge. Patterns are a great way to pull that off. The feel is important, too. We want it to be soft and luxurious to the touch. Our cuts are designed to fit and flatter. We think it’s important to create pieces that reflect an understanding and an appreciation of a woman’s body.
VF.- What would you tell other entrepreneurs?
S+S.- It’s not for the faint of heart. At the same time I would say it’s the most satisfying thing I’ve ever done professionally. It’s such a payoff when you see someone’s reaction to something you’ve created. This has been an amazing journey. If you have faith in your ideas, you’ll be surprised at the people that are willing to mentor you along the way.
There are always conflicts, but learning to communicate is key. Running a lean team is certainly different from our corporate life. When the printer’s not working, there’s no office services department to come to your rescue. It’s much more challenging having to wear so many hats, but a clear plan and focus gets you through the tough times. You learn to adapt.
VF.- What was it like launching a business with your best friend?
S+S.- Harder than we ever imagined. We worked together for 20 years, so it was a natural extension to join together to launch a business that allowed for the creativity we were yearning for. As we bring our different perspectives to the business, conflicts would arise. Learning to communicate and defining our roles in ways that played to each of our strengths was key to making it work. And learning how to let go was essential.
VF.- What are the values of being a part of the SoHarlem collective?
S+S.- We’re so fortunate to be a part of SoHarlem’s cultural enterprise program. The mentorship tools, strategic advice and access to talented creative entrepreneurs have been integral to our ability to deliver on our commitment to made in NY and ethically sourced production. It’s such a competitive advantage for us having our patternmaker, sample and production room and our product development consultant all located under one roof.
If you haven’t browsed their collection yet, we encourage you to take a good long look at their online store at Smash+Scott. If you’re wanting to launch your own business in midlife, we hope their story inspires you to take the plunge. It may not be easy, but it’s worth it!