SCAD × Tibi

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The art school proved the perfect partner for a fall collection campaign inspired by learning


THE PANDEMIC HAS posed a number of challenges to the fashion industry, from disrupted supply chains and a shortage of supplies to new demand for e-commerce.

But for Amy Smilovic, a St. Simons Island native and the founder of Soho-based womenswear label Tibi, last year’s unprecedented challenges also brought unprecedented clarity. “The pandemic didn’t change the way I thought about creativity,” she says, “but it allowed me to get rid of the extra noise that’s always existed around it.”

The Tibi design team has always operated in a pure, creative way, eschewing trend reports for exploration of what’s happening in nature, art, the world. But as COVID-19 shut down brick-and-mortar stores, Smilovic’s team was afforded a sharper concentration on the creativity and creation of its fall collection — the editorial campaign for which was shot in Savannah in collaboration with Savannah College of Art and Design — rather than having to balance the art of design with specific requests from retailers and other commercial demands.

“As humans we’re constantly evolving, learning and channeling that curiosity into what we do.” — Amy Smilovic

Smilovic says Tibi’s collections always begin with mood: “I was thinking a lot about the idea that we’re never fully formed human beings,” she says. “At my age now, I can look back and see the stupid things I did, smart things I did. As humans we’re constantly evolving, learning and channeling that curiosity into what we do.”

It was the theme of learning that first inspired Smilovic to approach SCAD as a creative partner for its fall campaign shoot. “Where better to shoot this collection than an actual learning environment and, specifically, an art school?” says Smilovic, who previously served as a panelist at SCADstyle, the school’s annual gathering of designers, editors, architects and other influential arts guests. “Our Tibi team members went to art schools around the world, and we all have such fond — and terrifying — memories.”

Over several days, the Tibi team worked with students from a number of programs, including fashion design, photography, film and television and social media strategy to produce the campaign. “Because SCAD touches on all the critical areas of the creative industry, the shoot came together the way it would at an actual company,” Smilovic says. 

Student participants like Mitali Ganeriwal, a cinematography and film and video production graduate, jumped at the experience. “This was a truly unique opportunity for me to learn and work alongside some of the best in the business,” she says. 

Now that the campaign and collection are live (find the oversized blazers, plaid dresses and more at high-end retailers like Neiman Marcus and Net-a-Porter), there’s only one thing left to do with Smilovic’s fashion-
forward yet pragmatic pieces: wear them — in Savannah, New York or anywhere else. 

“We have busy lives — we take the kids to school, grocery shop, work — and we want to be able to wear our clothes to do all of that,” she says.