Courtney Smith '11

Courtney Smith '11

Name: Courtney Smith 

Year: 2011

Current Profession: Fashion Designer/Badass Grand Master Wizard 

(When you were an undergrad) 

Major: History & Women/Gender/Sexuality Studies & Africana Studies 

Extracurriculars: BSU /SpeakFree 

Can you tell us about your line Courtney Noelle? What is the inspiration behind the brand?

Courtney Noelle is a NYC based womenswear brand, specializing in formal/evening wear and cocktail dresses. Our ultimate goal is to disrupt and redefine beauty. Courtney Noelle has been a long time coming, I was inspired by frustration. I was frustrated at the piss poor clothing options that were available in my size. The fat shaming culture that constantly reminded me about my “tummy trouble” or what fruit my body was shaped like. It’s rather insulting. 

Courtey Noelle "Olivia" Dress

How did you get involved with fashion design? Modeling? Was this always an interest of yours or did it develop later on?

I’ve always loved design. I used to rip out editorials and post them on my wall but I was hesitant to pursue a career in design because I had no formal training or knew anyone who was in this field. I realize now that these were fear based excuses but I wouldn't have it any other way. After graduation, I began working for an independent designer. After a few years, I decided to take the leap and start my own line. 

I began modeling because of my job. Although it is fun, I prefer to be behind the scenes.

Do you see any connection with the work you currently do and your time at Williams? Were there any courses, individuals, or experiences that you see as having helped or influenced where you are today?

Many of the people I currently work with are fellow Ephs. Many of my courses have transformed the way I see and move in the world and ultimately how I run my business. 

What advice would you give to someone interested in fashion, modeling or design?

My advice for the interested is be more than interested. You have to have a passion for what you want to do. In this industry there are highs and lows and if fashion is just an interest you won’t make it. Stay true to who are you even if that means saying no to certain things. Do not waiver from what you believe in. Most of all, Don't ever give up on your goals.  It sounds like a “inspirational pinterest quote” but its true. 

What is one thing that you think all Ephs should do during their time at Williams?

MEET PEOPLE! Talk to people! Not just students! Talk to faculty and staff. Every one has something to teach you. Take time to have casual conversations with people, you never know what could come of that interaction. I know it may be awkward to chat up random people but guess what? That’s what real life is like outside the bubble, soo get your practice in now! 

Courtney Noelle "Abby" Top and "Quinn" Skirt