New York City-based designer, Courtney Smith grew up with a strong interest in fashion but she tried her hand in PR, finance, and marketing before quitting her day job to intern for an independent fashion designer. Through this experience, she honed her sewing skills and experienced the day-to-day trials of running a small business. When Courtney was asked by a friend to design pieces for a photoshoot in 2013, she had no idea that she would be on the verge of starting her own business. The demand for her designs was immediate and Courtney Noelle was born.
Available in sizes L-4X, Courtney Noelle isn’t made for any one size in particular; rather, Courtney designs for an attitude. The Courtney Noelle woman dresses for herself and wears what she pleases. With a strong focus on sophistication mixed with spunk, Courtney Noelle designs communicate a strong message of self-empowerment and confidence.
All pieces are shot on plus size women of color, including Courtney herself, in order to highlight the beauty of women seen less often in fashion and advertising. This refreshing take on fashion helped land Courtney appearances on Good Morning America, Nightline and the Melissa Harris-Perry Show as well as featured write-ups in People, Vibe, Jezebel, E! Online and more.
“I want women to be their most beautiful selves,” Smith told Refinery 29. “There are so many negative messages: You're not thin enough, you're not young enough, you're not light enough...I was inspired to create Courtney Noelle to send a different message: You, woman, are enough."
The brand is a favorite among plus size fashion bloggers and Courtney’s designs have been featured in Essence magazine as well as worn by celebrities Mary Lambert and Gabourey Sidibe. With all of her success in such a short time, Courtney remains humble and customer-focused. She says the most rewarding part of designing is seeing her customers happy.