Dallas designer Charles Smith II wins major fashion contest
On June 9, the Charles Smith II was announced the winner of OnlyFans Creative Fund: Fashion Editing. The Dallas-based fashion designer has won the $50,000 grand prize awarded by the subscription streaming platform. Smith II competed against five fashion designers and stylists to win the coveted prize.
The Harlem-born, Dallas-based designer began her fashion career modeling for high fashion brands in Milan. Her experience in the fashion industry sharpened her eye for design. In 2017, he joined the inaugural class of designers at the St. Louis Fashion Fund. There, Smith II met the legendary André Leon Talley, who served as Smith II’s mentor before his passing. Grammy winner Solange Knowles, Bobby Sessions, Emmy winner Karrueche Tran, Zoe Kravitz and other celebrities have worn Smith II designs.
He is the first to win the American version of the competition series. The first iteration was based in the UK and focused on the music industry. The American version was centered on the fashion industry. The creators and designers were judged by a celebrity panel stylists Law Roach and Maeve Reilly, as well as make-up artist Sir John. Fashion designer Rebecca Minkoff mentored grand prize winner Charles Smith II, first runner-up Lee Rickie and second place winner Mario Miguelito.
Shortly before his victory, Smith spoke to Magazine D why he applied for the series and the plans for the grand prize.
The interview has been edited for clarity.
Your brand has received cover in local, provincial, national and international publications. What prompted you to take part in this competition?
In order to scale your business to the next phase, you need capital. I have tried a few competition series like Project track and make the cut, but COVID threw a spanner in there for me. These opportunities did not materialize. I’ve always believed that what’s meant for you is meant for you. My friend sent me the quote the day before the deadline. I almost didn’t because submissions are a long and exhausting process. But I remembered to continue. I felt good after applying. I thought to myself, if I understand this, especially understanding the power of television, this can be a very ingenious tool and thing for your platform.
After submitting your application online, what was the next step until you landed in Los Angeles? for the contest in person?
A week and a half later, I was told that I had reached the semi-finals. They asked me if I could go to Los Angeles. A week after that, I hopped on a Zoom call with the producers. They wanted to get an idea of my personality. During the Zoom call, I was able to talk about myself and my brand. I have a good understanding of what my entry into design was like. For me, it was a vocation.
To be able to use fashion as the vessel that allows me to take something shiny to grab people’s attention and then take it to something important. Once I realized that was what the calling was calling me to, it was easier for me to talk about it. I really understand what I’m doing with fashion and where I’m coming from. Every part of the vision since I started has come true, exactly to the T of what I’ve seen before.
Once you got to LA, tell me about the completion? Did you have any expectations?
I don’t go into anything with expectations because I think that’s how you come into your head. That’s how you start getting embarrassed and you lose. I’m not in the business of losing. At the end of the day, it’s for me to go with what I know and remember it’s in this situation; no one knows who you are, and just approach in a humble way. My city may know who I am, but when you think about television, it’s a different situation.
The lights, production and cameras will intimidate some people but that’s not why. When you step into this space, it’s time to go with what you know, show people who you are and what you’ve done, and do it to the best of your ability. It is to make them understand what you are trying to give to the world.
It’s a great price. You talked about the need for capital. What do you plan to do with the $50,000 grand prize?
Part of the prize is a conversation with Rebecca Minkoff. She showed me my concept line and how to use it in an NFT format. She opened my eyes to see this part. In terms of prize money, I purchased my fabrics for my next collection and took inventory of my merchandise/e-commerce items.
Taylor Crumpton is FrontRow’s online art editor, Magazine DThe arts and entertainment blog of . She is a proud Dallasite…