For those of us living on St. Simons, we’re fortunate that the island is home to the only Tibi Outlet in the world! As you may already know, Tibi just moved their storefront to a new space, conveniently located near Sea Island and down the street from The Vine and Cloth and Label. I couldn’t be more excited that their new address is 120 Market Street, which is just a bike ride away from our new home!
The designer and creative director, Amy Smilovic, was born and raised on Saint Simons. With no formal background in fashion, she has built an incredible brand and name recognition in less than 20 years. She saw a market in clothes that fell in between the sleek lines of Armani, and the mass-produced clothes at Gap. She also realized that the market would soon transition away from the stiff women’s suits that were the only acceptable professional wear in the 90s. She started out by collaborating with factories in Hong Kong to bring her clothes to expats in China. Soon enough, she headed back to the US with her samples and a bold dream.
During the summer of 1997, she sold her clothes out of her car, on her drive from New York City to Saint Simons Island. Amy’s first break came when Neiman Marcus placed an order for 4,000 units, which had to be unpacked and sorted in her parent’s home. Her business really began to take off when Scoop and Fred Segal placed orders in 1998. However, like every New York City based business, 9/11 and the after effects severely impacted Tibi. Since Americans drastically cut back their retail spending, it was tough to compete as a small business. However, when Smilovic made the decision to stage her first runway show in 2005, her business truly began to soar.
In 2010, Amy took the company in a different direction after realizing that they had been catering their lines towards popular retail trends. She branched out and created bolder designs that reflected her passion for high end fashion. She ended up opening a warehouse on the Island, where it is still located to this day.
While their main store is in NYC, their outlet on the island is extremely popular. Amy brought down her New York runway designers to dream up the layout of this new store. They brought different elements from the city, such as the trendy pendants in the dressing room. As a designer who has received strong local support, Amy promotes other local businesses, and even brought in the wrought iron clothing wracks for the store from a local company in Brunswick.
At the Tibi outlet, you’ll find straight off-the-runway samples, recent seasons’ merchandise at discounted prices, one-of-a-kind samples from the NYC design studio and plenty of Tibi essentials. It’s crazy to think that you could pick a dress off the rack that is straight from the 2015 NYFW show. Needless to say, they have a plethora of high fashion looks and outfits in their store here on SSI. The best part is that the new Tibi will be open 7 days a week (which is incredibly rare on the island!) I absolutely love Tibi and can’t get enough of their clothes, like their Neutron Embroidery dress that I wore to Charleston Fashion week. Make sure you stop by and soak in the new storefront while celebrating an incredibly talented local designer and chic business!