Interviews

Five Minutes with Tampa Bay Fashion Pioneer and Jamaican Native: Lacey B.Smith

Entrepreneur, fashion connoisseur, visionary; In the city of Tampa, the name Lacey Smith, (or “Mr. Smith” as he is often referred), is not just recognized, it resonates. The laid back, shrewdly soft spoken Jamaica-native has established quite a reputation as a business and fashion pioneer most readily recognized for being the creator of The Fashion Movement, a Tampa Bay collective whose mission is not only to “continue raising the bar on the quality of fashion event productions in Tampa Bay and beyond”, but to showcase the talents of the multi-faceted creative arts in the region.

    In a few words Mr. Smith’s events are known for giving their audience an unforgettable fashion experience.  The proud Dinthill Technical School alumni has raised the bar even higher with the creation of “Haute Accessories Week”, a four day extravaganza dedicated to highlighting one of the most important yet underrated areas in fashion: the accessory.  Now in preparation for his much anticipated fourth annual installment, we managed to wrangle five minutes from Mr. Smith for an interview.

 

KM.   In the world of fashion, the idea of having an accessories week has been unheard of. Tell us, how did the concept of “Haute Accessories Week” come to be?

LS.    You know, I’ve always found the accessory to be the statement piece of every outfit, that one   piece that makes or breaks it.  I had the concept developed some years ago to feature accessory designers since no one seem to be giving them their just due at the time. Most fashion shows feature garment designers whose work I also admire but the Accessory designer was always an afterthought at these shows, even the major ones. The idea naturally came to me and I shared it with some very close friends who agreed “why not accessories?”  Way back in 2002 under the TFM umbrella we were featuring accessory designers in New York by presenting them in intimate settings. 

 

KM.    You have made quite a name for yourself in not only the greater Tampa fashion community, but in the business community as well. For those who are not familiar, tell us a little about yourself.

LS.      I am simply focused and driven to succeed; not driven to the point of obsession to succeed however because you can be blinded then. Fashion is what I love; I love to see the creativity unfolds. Growing up my mom was a Seamstress, I watched her create many beautiful designs which inspired my interest in fashion at an early age. However sports and writing were my passions then, not necessarily playing but following every sport possible and writing poetry and short stories…mostly love stories.

KM.    Why do you think there has been such little focus previously on having a week dedicated to accessories?

LS.      I think it was the mindset of those in the fashion industry. Fashion Weeks, Garment Designers, Boutiques, Fashion Event Producers were all focused on featuring garments and the accessory Designer was always seen as an afterthought. They literally used it for what it is described as, an accessory…just an optional part of the outfit. That has changes greatly over the past few years; Australia Fashion week was one of the first to hugely feature accessories a few years ago. 

KM.     When did you did you discover your appreciation for the accessory and what do you think is the most important accessory?

LS.      Oh, I’ve always loves and appreciated fashion accessories. What’s sexier that a lady with great legs rocking a sexy, hot pair of pumps or stilettoes. I love the Clutch Purse in any style. Men’s accessories are also back…see the tie pin, bow tie, cufflinks, a funky hat.  I don’t have a particular favorite but a Clutch can make a huge statement. That’s why our biggest event is called “Bow Ties and Clutches”.

KM.    In a few weeks you will be producing your fourth “Haute Accessories Week”.  What can we expect?  What makes this installment different than the others?

LS.      It will be a beautiful event following in the footsteps of the first three presentations. Expect beautiful statement pieces, a fun atmosphere within the great ambiance of Hunters Green Country Club. Our goal is always for a high quality production. All Designers for 2014 are new except for two returning from 2013.

KM.    You are known for your commitment to giving back to the community. This year’s event will be benefiting the Joshua House.  Tell us a little bit about that.

LS.      Giving back is paramount in what we do at The Fashion Movement. Joshua House being a safe haven for abused and abandoned kids touched our hearts when we visited a few years ago. It was easy to designate them as our chosen charity.

KM.    What makes Tampa Bay the ideal regional location for your events?

LS.     I am not sure the word is ideal but I love the Tampa Bay area and what it has to offer. There are a lot of talent and hidden gems here. It’s like an open oasis waiting to be explored. There are only a few groups currently presenting high quality fashion productions here but that will change. There are outsiders looking into the Tampa Bay market. I personally welcome others; to grow you can’t remain stagnant and competition is good, it motivated me. The important factor here is, while we compete we should also support and respect each other’s programs.   No one is bigger that fashion.

KM.    So what’s next for Mr. Smith and The Fashion Movement?

LS.      Well we strive to continue to grow and raise the bar with each production. After HAUTE we immediately begin execution for “Bow Ties and Clutches”. We welcome collaborations with those who share the same vision for fashion in Tampa Bay.   I am also personally working on other fashion projects, things I’ve always wanted to achieve in that arena.

 

KM.  I like to do a segment that gives our readers an idea about Tampa Bay from your perspective.

What’s your favorite place to:

A.   Get a haircut?

“I do my own, some Gillette shaving crème and a Mac3 Razor.”

B.   Have a romantic date?

“I love going to Saint Armand Circle in Sarasota to chill, not sure that’s a romantic date hahaha.   My wife and I just like to explore new locales.”

C.   Have a guy’s night out?

“My buddies and I will hit Primebar at Wiregrass from time to time.”

D.   Purchase a great pair of shoes?

“Cole Haan or Johnson and Murphy.  They last forever and are of superior quality plus VERY comfortable.”

E.   Watch that infamous Tampa sunset?

“I’ve never really made it a point to do that but when I’ve caught it, Tampa does have beautiful sunsets.”

 

For more information on Lacey Smith and Haute Accessories Week visit www.TheFashionMovement.com  and www.HauteAccessoriesWeek.com

For tickets visit: www.HauteAccessoriesWeek2014.eventbrite.com

About the author

KarenMitchell