WHO: Kyle Lawrence
WHERE: Costa Mesa, CA
BRAND: The Smile Life
MANTRA: “A Lifestyle transforming people into heroes”
HOW WAS THE SMILE LIFE BORN?
The Smile Life was born while I was working in the restaurant industry as a side project. The word ‘Smile’ was very relevant in my life at the time as it was a subject pounded into our everyday life working in front of guests in the restaurant or hotel. I’ve always enjoyed using my creativity to design my own clothes and I decided I wanted to make a silly looking nautical hat with the word SMILE on it. I only made 1, but demand from my friends, family and random people grew, so I decided to make a small run of 50.
But I knew I wanted to give back in a way, no matter what. Helping others makes me happy. I figured oral hygiene goes hand in hand with the word Smile and who deserves to Smile more than children who don’t have much? I pretty much immediately sold out of my first 50 and it started from there. For every product we sell, we donate a dental kit to a local youth shelter here in Los Angeles.
DESCRIBE YOUR BRAND WITH THREE ADJECTIVES…
Positive, Fun, Inspiring.
HOW DID YOU GET INTO FASHION?
I initially came from the hospitality industry but my Grandfather and family owned a clothing store for 30 years, so retail and clothing have always been a topic of discussion in my family. Growing up in Southern California, we are immersed in the surf culture fashion scene and being so close to LA, it kind of becomes second nature
TELL US ABOUT THE SMILE LIFE DESIGNS. HOW WOULD YOU DESCRIBE THE STYLE?
I want to create timeless designs. Simple designs that people can wear at any hour of the day or time in their life. I want each piece to inspire both the person wearing it and those who see it on the street. I mean try reading the word “smile” without wanting to smile.
WHERE DO YOU FIND INSPIRATION FOR YOUR WORK?
I like looking at other cultures fashion besides the US. I look usually at Australian fashion through different blogs or Instagram and a little bit of European. Being in Southern CA, I’ve always been inspired by the classic surf brands who have managed to make it multiple decades. Sometimes, when I’m up in LA I like observing the super progressive fashionistas and observe what they’re wearing.
DO YOU HAVE ANY TIPS FOR OTHER INDEPENDENT AND EMERGING DESIGNERS?
Don’t design too much, stick to a cohesive look and stick to one product and do it right.
HOW DO YOU USE LOOKCAST FOR YOUR BUSINESS?
LOOKCAST is amazing. I am so glad I came across it. I recently produced a Style Guide and wanted consumers to be able to purchase the product through the Lookbok. LOOKCAST is so interactive and saved my life. I would recommend this to everyone in the industry.
WHAT’S NEXT FOR THE SMILE LIFE?
Well, we just launched our new line of hats and a couple tees. We have a beach towel coming out soon. Not everyone feels comfortable giving back but it can be so rewarding. I want to inspire people to find their comfort zone and help others. And an easy solution is buying products from companies that are making a difference in their communities already.