How This Designer From Queens Got Kim Kardashian’s Attention

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This story was originally published on September 22, 2015

It was Kylie Jenner's 18th birthday party — arguably one of the most sought after events of the year — and all eyes were on the #worldsmosttalkedabout family. Inside the bash, Kendall was posing in the kitchen "cookin' pies," with a massive thigh-high slit on display. Kourtney also sported a super-sexy number: a sleek, cutout jumpsuit that left little of her midriff to imagination. The images went viral, as did their outfits. Who was the lucky designer who got to dress the Kardashian-Jenner family for the party of the century?
It wasn't Givenchy, or Lanvin, or even Balmain, as the world anticipated. Rather, it was LaQuan Smith — the namesake ready-to-wear label of a 27-year-old Queens native, whose now five-year-old brand has been seen on the likes of Lady Gaga, Rihanna, Beyoncé, and, of course, the Kardashians. Known for his structured pieces, immaculate fabrics, and bold colors, Smith transformed his brand from 3-D leggings to incredibly-crafted evening dresses and separates. All the while, he stayed true to his roots — manufacturing the entire collection in Long Island City, and designing for the modern woman who loves to have fun.
But how did this young designer, who started his line by hand-sewing pieces in his basement, garner the attention of some of the world's most famous women? We visited Smith in his studio as he prepared for his spring/summer 2016 presentation. Click ahead to view his take on growing up in a household of powerful women, the gold leggings that put him on the map, and all things Kim K.

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