Tea Towel Smock

The story of the <<Yours Truly>> tea towel smock starts back in 2005. The smock was featured in the Fall/Winter 2005 collection, called <<Fanny>>-- not a real person, but the character in Ingmar Bergman's Fanny and Alexander. The show took place during London fashion week in the district called Victoria, inside a new building which wasn't yet occupied by the workers that would later use it. Inside we duplicated a scene set from the film which the models walked through.

Later, in 2009, British photographer Tim Walker was doing a shoot for British Vogue. The concept behind the shoot was "make do and mend". The idea was to incorporate everyday things into garments, so he approached me and asked me to create something special for it. I don't remember exactly how it came to me in the moment, but that's when the smock dress idea, the Fanny smock, was born.

Later, in 2020, it was the pandemic, and I was working at SCAD in Atlanta, where I'm still the Chair of Fashion. It was such a liminal time; everything in life felt sort of improvised then. And I was walking through the park to go to Trader Joe's one evening after work, needing a tea towel at home, when I remembered the Vogue shoot, and "make do and mend".

So the next day I went back to TJ's and filled my arms with tea towels, as many as I could carry, load after load in different patterns and colors. I remember the people at the neighboring tills looking at me like "what the hell is this guy doing?", expressions clear even behind our masks. And this was the beginning of the tea towel smock.

I took this set of towels and laid them out in my home, deciding which towels should go together and in which order, composing, in the end, bolts of a totally unique and improvised cloth. Finally I designed every aspect of the garments I wanted to make out of them. Last year I found a partner, a small factory in Europe, which could do an unsual order like this, and had a small run created, completely consuming the cloth.

There are thus only 23 of these smocks in existence, born in a spirit of resilience, never to be repeated.

Finally, after this long journey, the smocks are now finished and ready. <<Yours Truly>> will be photographing them on the 8th of February 2024 and offering them for sale that weekend, when their story can continue with you.