Discovering Sydney Smith

photography by Benjamin Scott

It was as if I could hear my entire body sigh in happiness as my fingers lightly grazed the top of each garment. Deep emerald pony-hair, soft knitted angora, stiff black leather... I could feel my eyes widen as my body responded to the stimulation of each texture; like it was the first time I had ever felt the sensation of fabric. Sydney called to me from the closet, occasionally peeking out to banter back-and-forth with me. I stood bare, slightly chilled by the air-conditioning and slightly tense in the shoulders, at the foot of her bed looking into the puddle of garments strewn over the comforter. I wanted to crawl into the bed and fall asleep next to the pony-hair. Her French Bulldog, Oliver, sat in the corner and raised his eyebrows. I swore I could almost hear him say, "For heaven’s sake lady, put some clothes on."


Although we attended the same high school, our relationship didn’t really start until a few months ago. We went to college close to each other; both of us studied fashion and design. Simply saying that Sydney is a master of design is an understatement. Her designs are inspiring and excel in creative brilliancy. She is a disruptive thinker. In the past I would admire her collections from afar, knowing full well that her talent could take her anywhere. It wasn't until she contacted me a few months back when I began to admire her from up close. 

We met over omelets, at a local all-day breakfast place, when she proposed the idea of collaborating together. As a blogger, you find nothing more special that working with a brand that you really feel like you can represent well, not to mention being asked by someone you respect. As we talked about our partnership, I knew I could put my own style into it while still remaining true to her designs. She wanted to use her collection, The Seeker, which was presented at Charleston Fashion Week. I perked up as I knew which collection she spoke of. I remembered seeing the pictures. My mind began to spin with ideas.

We spoke of many things during our visit: memories, dreams, and real-life hardships; but the greatest moment I remember is talking to her about her collection. Our voices got quieter and her eyes were passionate as she looked me straight in the face. My eyes went wide as her words encapsulated me. “The Seeker is a collection about the pursuit of self-actualization. The poignant question being, “What am I here on this earth to do?” Her words familiarly rung through my head, as it was a question I have asked myself more and more at this stage in my life. College graduates, talented, strong, single women…the more we talked, the more I realized how similar the two of us were. All this time knowing of Sydney, but not really knowing her at all. She laid out the inspiration of her collection to me, as I smiled and nodded in agreement at every word she said. Finally, I sat back in my chair. I knew exactly what Sydney wanted to do. It was exactly what I have always wanted to do. She wanted to encourage every woman to seek. Seek themselves, seek beauty, seek truth and train our minds to believe deep down in our hearts that our worth is priceless and that we were uniquely created. Learning to love ourselves, our vulnerabilities, our flaws and our weaknesses, both she and I wanted to empower women to love every inch, and by doing this empower ourselves. It was there, sitting across the table with an empty plate in front of me when I moved past the beauty of Sydney’s creations and looked at the beauty of her person. I witnessed as her beauty filled her face, and I have yet to see that beauty fade.


I stood wide-eyed, lights flashing, shutter clicking, as a blank stare and furrowed brow eased across my face. I gripped tightly onto the pant leg of the green romper, slightly pulling it down to see if I could cover up just one more inch. I realized as I stood there, still feeling the tenseness in my shoulders from the previous day, that I was facing the one thing that Sydney was trying to fight off: insecurity. Insecurity about our future, our jobs, our bodies, our worth and our PURPOSE. We all have insecurities, but why are we so sure that we are the only one’s living with them? On the day of the shoot, I realized why both Sydney and I do what we do. Sydney’s purpose in life is to create, and create things that celebrate women and their form and urge them to feel beautiful. Bottom line: we are all flawed. But why is it easier for us to seek our imperfections than seek our beauty?

The Seeker is bold and powerful and sexy and tenacious. For those first few hours I struggled and felt the battle inside myself as I wore her clothes. Her clothes invite you to see yourself differently than you have ever seen yourself before. They're brutally honest and biting in the most beautiful of ways. I feel that through all of this, I discovered Sydney Smith. Along with my discovery, she unknowingly helped me seek to find more of myself, and I thank her for that. Vulnerability is strengthening if we can challenge ourselves to overcome it. 

Seek and keep seeking, and I promise that you will find something remarkable in yourself, and in others.

photography by Benjamin Scott

photography by Benjamin Scott

photography by Benjamin Scott

photography by Benjamin Scott

photography by Benjamin Scott

photography by Benjamin Scott

photography by Benjamin Scott

photography by Benjamin Scott

photography by Benjamin Scott

photography by Benjamin Scott

photography by Benjamin Scott

A thank you goes out to Benjamin Scott for all of the photos, Sarah Banko for assisting and for the background photos, Ximena Garcia for hair and makeup, and Sydney Smith for allowing me to wear her beautiful designs with some of my own items of clothing.

photography by Sarah Banko

photography by Sarah Banko

photography by Sarah Banko

photography by Sarah Banko

photography by Sarah Banko

photography by Sarah Banko

photography by Sarah Banko

photography by Sarah Banko

photography by Sarah Banko

photography by Sarah Banko

photography by Sarah Banko

photography courtesy of Ben William Scott & Sarah Banko