Model Ashley Smith's NYC Pad Is Almost As Cool As She Is

Photo: Courtesy of The Coveteur.
After three and a half years of tending to some of the most expansive closets in the land (we mean, go back far enough and there are enough Valentino rockstuds, Balenciaga city bags and Céline, well, everything, to outfit even the most ardent never-wears-the-same-thing-twice editor), sometimes the most refreshing thing of all is to rummage through a closet that has the odd idiosyncratic vintage piece — an old rock tee treasured since high school and gold and turquoise jewelry as likely found in a junk shop as an estate sale. (Don't get us wrong — all this isn’t to say that we don’t still freak over some seriously how-the-hell-did-you-find-this rare Chanel or a good Trapeze bag. Hence, you know, us working where we do.)
With that in mind, you can imagine how visiting model and first-time designer (for RVCA, NBD) Ashley Smith at her East Village walk-up on a sunny spring afternoon was kind of like going over to your way cooler friend’s apartment and exploring all of her collectibles, knick-knacks and piles of expertly sourced vintage, Opening Ceremony and, well, RVCA (duh). We mean, the girl is living proof that Texans are just about the sweetest, most gracious people, like, ever, as she pulled out one after another of her favorite skirt-cardigan combos, which we quickly learned was a signature (her vintage Alaia knit with Opening Ceremony skirt getup was particularly adorable).
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Since being discovered (appropriately) at SXSW five years ago, Smith has been shot by everyone from Ellen von Unwerth to Sølve Sundsbø and Mert Alas and Marcus Piggott. Naming Lauren Hutton as her modeling hero (gap-toothed beauties, unite!), Smith has that same kind of untouchable coolness as her mentor. Suffice it to say, after watching her strike pose after pose (she can go from teenage ingénue to leggy sex kitten in one frame, you guys) for our photog Jake, we quickly got that she kind of has the whole portrait thing down pat, leaving us to our own devices when it came to sorting through her enviable collection of goodies. To keep it simple, let’s just say that those old (and kind of, well, hackneyed) model-off-duty rules do not apply to Smith. If it wasn’t obvious with her scarf-printed, high-waisted hot pants and holographic lug sole brogues, one glance at her collection of fluorescent wigs made it more than apparent. It makes sense, then, that her collection for RVCA, her first of six (she’s no flash in the pan), isn’t your standard street wear uniform of black jeans and white T-shirts. “It’s purely based on my essentials,” she told us. And, essentials in Ashley Smith World mean varsity cardis, pleated minis (paired with requisite knee socks), cropped sweaters and leather biker vests. When the collection becomes available to the masses (that printed sleeveless maxi dress will be ours), prepare yourselves for a little Ashley Smith-style boldness. After all, this is a girl who went by the nickname Skittles in high school. Because of her multicolored hair, of course. It’s a little thing called individuality. See what we mean by the whole breath of fresh air thing?
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Photo: Courtesy of The Coveteur.
Sweater & Jeans: RVCA. Socks: American Apparel.
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Photo: Courtesy of The Coveteur.
“When I was growing up in Texas, I was a ‘punk.’ My style was mostly band T-shirts and skinny jeans and lots of personalized style. One of my favorite things I liked to wear in high school were these jeans I got all my friends to sign and write all over. They were torn and safety-pinned together and I wore pink and black striped tights under them. At one time, I was called ‘Skittle’ in school because my hair was rainbow-colored.”

R to L. Tops: Opening Ceremony, Vintage.
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"One thing you would be surprised to know about me is that my apartment is never actually this clean! I'm horrible about cleaning up after myself, which is probably not that surprising. Growing up, I was an avid Pokémon card player and collector. Probably not that surprising either! This question is always hard for me. I am an open book!”

Sweater & Jeans: RVCA.
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“In March of 2009, I was at South by Southwest (SXSW) in Austin, Texas at Waterloo Park. I was walking to watch Circle Jerks play and on the way, Tanni and Alan Foreman of Foreman Management stopped me to ask me if I'd ever be interested in modeling. At the time I was working at the grocery store HEB and customers would stop and say I was pretty, but I never thought modeling was a real thing! I wasn't even an avid fashion follower. I mean, I didn't even know who Kate Moss was. I didn't follow fashion rules—I made up my own!

Anyway, they took my picture and gave me their card and I met them a month later to take some more photos before they sent them to agencies in NYC. Some agencies were interested, but I knew I needed [to get] my actual foot in the door to sell myself, so they flew me there for two weeks and in that time I fell in love with the city and decided to stay."

L to R. Shorts: Isabel Marant, RVCA.
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“I have been modeling for five years and I have traveled all over America, Europe, South America — and even got to go to Russia! I’ve had the opportunity to be on many magazine covers and shoot many editorials for magazines like Italian Vogue and Harper’s Bazaar and be a part of great campaigns, like Alexander Wang, and even walk runways for incredible brands — all beyond my wildest expectations!”
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Photo: Courtesy of The Coveteur.
Sweater & Jeans: RVCA; Socks: American Apparel.
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Photo: Courtesy of The Coveteur.
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“My go-to beauty routine is pretty simple. I normally splurge on moisturizer and go for Chanel's Hydra Beauty Crème. (Buy it duty free, it’s better!).

"[I use] a little brown shimmer eye shadow, then mascara and a little shimmer powder on the cheekbones — all courtesy of Lancôme's travel case in Absolu Au Naturel. I finish off with my new favorite Chanel lip gloss in 171 (Lèvres Scintillantes, whatever that means)."
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Necklace: Lady Grey. Earrings: Gypsy Warrior.
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Sweater & Jeans: RVCA.
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“I don't know if I have any modeling [icons]. My ideas mainly come from instinct and being in the moment while I'm shooting. When I'm on set, music is the biggest inspiration for me. When I first started modeling, I didn't know what the hell I was doing! I just knew how to dance and groove to the music, so I would make playlist after playlist and that's what would help me stay loose and energized on set. My day-to-day life is inspired by music because nothing helps a crappy mood better than my headphones, and the volume up to 11 on my favorite new song!”
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Photo: Courtesy of The Coveteur.
Shirt: Vintage. Shorts: RVCA. Shoes: Steve Madde.; Ring: Reformation.
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“My dream designer to work with would be Viktor & Rolf. I love the theatric energy of their designs and shows.”

Wallet: Louis Vuitton. Bag: Alexander Wang.
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Shirt: Vintage. Shorts: RVCA. Shoes: Steve Madden. Ring: Reformation.
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Shirt: Vintage. Shorts: RVCA. Shoes: Steve Madden. Ring: Reformation.
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“If I could trade closets with anyone, it would probably be Dita Von Teese. I can only imagine her lingerie collection! Or maybe Madonna. OMG yes! I bet she has the most insane closet.”
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Shirt: Vintage. Shorts: RVCA. Shoes: Steve Madden. Ring: Reformation.
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“One of my favorite photographers to work with is definitely Ellen von Unwerth because her style and energy really match with mine. My most memorable moments have been walking for Chanel and Balenciaga. The spontaneous and fast-paced energy backstage and on the runway has a similar feeling as performance art and acting, which have been two interests and practices of mine since I was little.

Also, I did a fragrance campaign with Diesel 'Loverdose,' during which I traveled all over Europe doing public speaking and celebrity appearance-type events and interviews. That was a surreal experience!”
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"The best advice I have ever received is that, as a model, it is your job to experience everything and educate yourself; to be a sort of role model, if you will.

'A photographer wants to see that there is something going on behind those eyes!’ Advice given to me by Lauren Hutton, a gap-toothed modeling pioneer and, of course, an amazing woman and role model!"
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"My signature scent is For Her by Narciso Rodriguez. Sometimes I switch it up with Gucci Guilty. "
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Shoes: Miu Miu.
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Sweater: Vintage. Shorts: Reformation. Shoes: Acne Studios. Sunglasses: Thierry Lasry. Purse: Chanel. Necklace: Isabel Marant. Bracelets: Vintage. Socks: American Apparel.
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Photo: Courtesy of The Coveteur.
Sweater: Vintage. Shorts: Reformation. Shoes: Acne Studios. Sunglasses: Thierry Lasry. Purse: Chanel. Necklace: Isabel Marant. Bracelets: Vintage. Socks: American Apparel.
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“My favorite food is sushi and Japanese cuisine in general. If I could invite anyone to a dream dinner it would probably be Howlin' Pelle Almqvist from the band The Hives. I have had a crush on him since I was in the 7th grade.”
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Photo: Courtesy of The Coveteur.
Sweater: Vintage. Shorts: Reformation. Shoes: Acne Studios. Sunglasses: Thierry Lasry. Purse: Chanel. Necklace: Isabel Marant. Bracelets: Vintage. Socks: American Apparel.
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“If I weren’t modeling I would probably be doing something with drawing. Growing up, that's the only thing that I knew I was good at. Before I left to start modeling, I was saving up money to attend The Art Institute of Austin for Graphic Design.”

L to R. Gloves: H&M, Vintage, Vintage.
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Photo: Courtesy of The Coveteur.
Sweater: Vintage. Shorts: Reformation. Shoes: Acne Studios. Sunglasses: Thierry Lasry. Purse: Chanel. Necklace: Isabel Marant. Bracelets: Vintage. Socks: American Apparel.
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“Currently I am listening to a lot of trap music and bands under the label Mad Decent. I am obsessed with this new artist they just starting representing named Elliphant. Listen to ‘Revolution’ and ‘All or Nothing.’”

Bag: H&M. Jacket: Diesel Black Gold.
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Sweater: Vintage. Shorts: Reformation. Shoes: Acne Studios. Sunglasses: Thierry Lasry. Purse: Chanel. Necklace: Isabel Marant. Bracelets: Vintage. Socks: American Apparel.
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Sweater: Vintage. Shorts: Reformation. Shoes: Acne Studios. Sunglasses: Thierry Lasry. Purse: Chanel. Necklace: Isabel Marant. Bracelets: Vintage. Socks: American Apparel.
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Top to Bottom. Sunglasses: Gypsy Warrior, Crap Eyewear.
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“My favorite lip color is red! Like Little Red Riding Hood red. Red that says, ‘Yes, I am good, but so on the verge of being bad.’ I like nail polish that is more of a neutral because I like iridescence. I normally go get gel [manicures] up the street at this salon called Pastel (on the corner of Second Avenue and 12th Street). There is this one color that looks almost nude, but when the sun hits it, it gets a little green glittery iridescence.”

Sunglasses: Valley Eyesore.
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“Flats are definitely more my thing than heels. My favorite shoes are these old man penny loafers I wear in a wine color by Acne. If not those, then probably sneakers by Vans.”

Shoes: Alexander Wang.
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Photo: Courtesy of The Coveteur.
Sweater: Vintage. Shorts: Reformation. Shoes: Acne Studios. Sunglasses: Thierry Lasry. Purse: Chanel. Necklace: Isabel Marant. Bracelets: Vintage. Socks: American Apparel.
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Photo: Courtesy of The Coveteur.
Sweater: Vintage. Shorts: Reformation. Shoes: Acne Studios. Sunglasses: Thierry Lasry. Purse: Chanel. Necklace: Isabel Marant. Bracelets: Vintage. Socks: American Apparel.
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"The emoji that is looking to the right with a crooked half smile is the one I use the most. It’s kind of naughty, that’s why I like it. I think he's saying, ‘Well I never thought about it before, but yeah, I'll try anything once.’

I bought these goggles before I ventured out into the desert for Burning Man last year! Originally, they were to keep the sand out of my eyes, but I like the Cat Woman feel they have!”
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“My first collection I designed with RVCA is purely based on my essentials — things that I can’t live without, and that a NYC girl shouldn’t live without. It has a bit of a teen spirit, ‘50s vintage spin on it. It’s my first of six collections with RVCA and I can’t wait to share the rest with you! Both hair accessories are by American Apparel, bought for the shoot I did for my first look book with RVCA. For the shoot, I made up the concept, modeled and got my friends Sandy Kim to shoot and Miyako Bellizzi to style.”
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“Things that are always in my bag include headphones, rose balm, my Lancôme travel makeup kit in Absolute Au Natural, my script from acting class, a little notebook, my Chase bank 'Preferred Customers' pen and normally some candy or mints — like fruit Mentos or Life Savers — only in cherry flavor.”

Bag: Burger Records. Dress: RVCA.
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Sweater: Vintage Alaïa. Skirt: Opening Ceremony. Shoes: Dr. Martens.
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Fur Vest: Gypsy Warrior.
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L to R. Shoes: To Be Announced, Forfex.
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Photo: Courtesy of The Coveteur.
Sweater: Vintage Alaïa. Skirt: Opening Ceremony. Shoes: Dr. Martens.
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Top: Alexander Wang. Skirt: Opening Ceremony.
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Sweater: Vintage Alaïa. Skirt: Opening Ceremony. Shoes: Dr. Martens.
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Jacket: Reformation; Sweater: Vintage Alaïa.
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“5 things I can’t live without:
1. The black RVCA leather jacket I designed that is coming to stores this August!
2. Lancôme travel makeup kit in Absolut Au Natural
3. A HBO Go account
4. The kitty pillow my grandma made me
5. Jawbone Jambox.”

Sweater: Vintage Alaïa. Skirt: Opening Ceremony. Shoes: Dr. Martens.
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L to R. Bags: Vintage, RVCA, Vintage Lancôme makeup bag, Vintage MCM.
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Photo: Courtesy of The Coveteur.
Sweater & Jeans: RVCA. Socks: American Apparel.
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