Kansas City Fashion Designer Wuz Smith Wants To Take Streetwear To The Next Level
Wuz Smith isn’t quite sure what his next step is. He recently graduated from Frontier School of Excellence in Kansas City, Missouri, but right now, he’s weighing his options.
“I’m just kind of going with the flow right now,” he told host Gina Kaufmann on KCUR’s Central Standard. “Just experiencing new places and new things.”
Smith’s indifference towards his future is typical among his fellow teenagers, but it feels uniquely uncharacteristic of Smith. After all, at just 17, Smith has developed his own streetwear brand, gained a national following and become one of the most coveted artists in Kansas City.
Smith’s brand, ASID Luxury (which stands for “All the $ I Deserve”), has become the epitome of what started as a creative outlet for him. He started making clothes for himself when he was 13, before he even knew how to sew.
“I forget what year it was, but I was so eager to make something,” Smith said. “So I ended up hand sewing an entire sweater, completely from needle and thread.”
Eventually, to make things easier, his grandmother taught him how to use a sewing machine. Together, they made a mesh t-shirt, and since then his grandmother has been Smith’s toughest critic.
“She’ll tell me if I mess up on something,” Smith said. “She’ll tell me it’s nice, but then if something is wrong, she’ll tell me it’s wrong, because she wants me to have the best product that there is.”
The ASID Luxury label shares some common style ideas with other vogue streetwear brands; the label mostly sells, among other things, hoodies, logo t-shirts and sweatpants. But Smith’s designs are especially distinctive not just because they reflect his style, but because they reflect his art.
Smith’s first passion was drawing, and he first transitioned into making clothes by drawing on shirts. Today, ASID Luxury features clothes with original paintings and drawings by Smith, and Smith’s personal wardrobe features his artwork as well. He says including his own art on his clothes is his way of changing what fashion is supposed to be.
“I feel like it changes everything, because I’m an artist, therefore you are going to have to see certain stuff that you wouldn’t normally see in regular clothing,” Smith said. “I’m bringing actual art into the fashion world. I might hand paint on the back of a jacket or hand paint on jeans or draw on a hat.”
“Some people don’t even believe that I painted or draw on some stuff that I do because it normally looks like it would be screen printed or something, but I take that as a compliment.”
His artistic style has gotten him noticed among the young, fashion-conscious crowd. Recently, Swae Lee of the hip-hop duo Rae Sremmurd wore an exclusive version of an ASID Luxury parachute jacket during one of their performances. Other artists have reached out to Smith, and he has sent out some custom made pieces on commission, but only to people he respects.
For Smith, he wants the people who wear his clothes to represent his own vision.
“When people wear my clothing, I want them to wear it right,” Smith said. “I want them to wear it with meaning, and to understand what they’re wearing and not just put it on. It’s fashion.”
Kansas City isn’t exactly famous for breeding fashion designers, but Smith has never lived outside of Kansas City. Despite the maturity of his business and his designs, he is still unsure about leaving home and heading in a new direction.
“I like Kansas City, but I think there’s a lot more out there to see. I don’t know if I want to stay or go right now,” Smith said. “I’m still young.”
Aaron Pellish is a digital intern for KCUR 89.3.