BE NEXT: 13 Young Innovators Driving the Business of Design

LaQuan Smith, 23, President and Designer of LaQuan Smith, LLC.

After being denied admission to the Fashion Institute of Technology and the Parsons New School for Design, Smith decided to forgo college. His drive and determination snatched the spotlight at February 2010 Fashion Week. Since then Smith has created custom pieces for Lady Gaga, Rihanna, Tyra Banks, Raven Symoné, Lala Anthony, Selita Ebanks, Serena Williams and more. Smith describes his designs as the “personification of modern femininity and liberation.”

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