Tibi’s Amy Smilovic is fun on Instagram. The designer frequently answers DMs from her followers seeking fashion advice: from broad questions like “how do I build a wardrobe?” to details like “what shoes can I wear with a sculptural pant?” By doing so, she has direct insight into what her customers and potential customers are looking for from their clothes, and earlier this year she started to notice a pattern. “I started getting DMs from people saying ‘I’ve figured out my style, I’ve got these basics that aren’t basic, but I want to feel something more,’” she says. “It’s not enough that a jacket is luxurious or a pant is cut really well. You’re looking for your clothing to give you an emotional feeling. But I could go right now and wear some over-the-top piece and get a feeling from it, and it wouldn’t be practical and it wouldn’t fit my life. I thought for this season, how can we give ourselves more? How can we give the clothes feeling?”
Emotional clothing—garments that elicit a reaction when you put them on—are different for everybody. But a person shopping at Tibi will likely want pieces that strike that fine balance between practical and special. This season, Smilovic offered familiar-ish silhouettes in a range of interesting colors: Salmon trousers and pleated maxis, violet midis and sleeveless blouses, chartreuse sweaters with royal blue midi skirts. She hopes that these particular shades will be “good friends on the playground,” that is, in your wardrobe. Texture plays a key role in creating novelty; Smilovic points out that there’s little repetition of fabrics throughout the collection, including ultrasuede, denim, and a thick athletic material.
Is the collection groundbreaking? No, but that doesn’t seem to be the goal. Instead, like Smilovic’s Instagram, the clothes encourage aspiring adventurous dressers to step out of their comfort zone.