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Willi Smith

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Design +3 Age Levels Middle School (13 to 15 years old), High School (16 to 18 years old), Post-Secondary, Adults

Willi Smith (1958-1987)

Willi Smith was an African American fashion designer whose street wear line known as WilliWear was and experiment of democracy in fashion. WilliWear designs were known to be bold, blurring the lines between high and low culture, and his work often involved collaborations with other artists and designers. The openly gay designer's career was cut short when he died in 1987 from complications from HIV/AIDS.

This collection is a representation of the 2020 exhibition Willi Smith: Street Couture at the Cooper Hewitt Design Museum, which features over 200 pieces from Smith’s work and career and his numerous collaborations with artists, dancers, choreographers, graphic designers, architects, and more. The works on view include video, sketches, patterns, photographs, and garments.

Willi Smith: Street Couture

Cooper Hewitt Education Department

Willi Smith

Vignelli Center for Design Studies

Willi Smith

National Museum of African American History and Culture

Willi Smith

NAMES Project

Streetwear / WilliWear

Cooper Hewitt Education Department

Willi Smith for Digits

Willi Smith Street Couture

Willi Smith for WilliWear, SUB-Urban Fall 1984

Vignelli Center for Design Studies

WilliWear

Willi Smith Street Couture

Sketches

Cooper Hewitt Education Department

Nomad Illustration

Willi Smith Street Couture

School Daze

Willi Smith Street Couture

Spiderman / Mary Jane Wedding dress

National Museum of African American History and Culture

Sketches for Deep South Suite

Willi Smith Street Couture

Willi Smith and Laurie Mallet

Willi Smith Street Couture

Collaboration

Cooper Hewitt Education Department

School Daze

Willi Smith Street Couture

Secret Pastures

BAM Archives

Christo

Cooper Hewitt Education Department

Performance

Cooper Hewitt Education Department

Secret Pastures

BAM Archives

Secert Pastures

BAM ASrchives

Artventure

Cooper Hewitt Education Department

Barbara Kruger, Artventure

Willi Smith Street Couture

​ Futura 2000, Artventure

Willi Smith Street Couture

Jenny Holzer, Artventure

Willi Smith Street Couture

Christo, Artventure

Willi Smith Street Couture

Brand

Cooper Hewitt Education Department

Willi Smith Logo

Willi Smith Street Couture

Bill Bonnell for WilliWear, Press Folder, 1983

Vignelli Center for Design Studies

WilliWear Shop

Cooper Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum

WilliWear Willi Smith

Cooper Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum

WilliWear Willi Smith

Cooper Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum

Willi Smith SUB-Urban Poster

Vignelli Center for Design Studies

WilliWear Showroom_08

SITE - James Wines

WilliWear Showroom_04

SITE - James Wines

WilliWear Men's Showroom

SITE - James Wines

Willi Smith Apartment

Rosemary Peck

Democratic Design

Cooper Hewitt Education Department

Willi Smith for Butterick Patterns

Willi Smith Street Couture

Willi Smith for Butterick Pattern 3254

Willi Smith Street Couture

Willi Smith for McCall’s Pattern 6475

Willi Smith Street Couture

WilliWear for McCall’s Pattern 8703

Willi Smith Street Couture

CMF NEWS

Cooper Hewitt Education Department