STYLE + SUBSTANCE // Gabriella Smith


Gabriella has that contagious energy that you tend to gravitate towards her. She is that girl in high school that you wanted to be friends with: smart, witted, constantly in a good mood and ready to jump the zip line, adventurous and affectionate she draws you in. 

We met for the first time during Fashion Revolution Week, and yes if you want to think that Orsola de Castro made us do it, well yes. Orsola was a keynote speaker on a panel about slow fashion and sustainability and great minds think alike, we both attended. For the incredible amount of work Gabriella does with students and designers, locally and abroad, check out @theupcycleproject on Instagram



Style + substance = empowerment. Are you on board?

GS - Absolutely. I don’t think you can have style without substance and with both, you get the confidence you need to feel empowered. To have substance is for me is to have a point of view and be unafraid to express it, no matter if it goes against the status-quo, but to also have the ability to listen to different opinions and be open to challenging ideas. On the other hand, style for me represents more than what you wear, it’s about your confidence, manners, the way you speak, treat others and carry yourself, the clothes you pick then simply reflect your style. The combination of having what you look like on the outside reflects what’s on the inside is powerful.


Your personal style in three words

GS - Classic, comfortable, confident. (the three c’s J)



Up-cycling, making, educating, and being a mom: how you do it all

GS - Like they say… it takes a village! I most defiantly do not do it all, a lot falls through the cracks, but I do try and prioritize, make lists, set goals and do my best to stick to them. Also, I try not to be too hard on myself. I had a professor in college that used to tell me stories about his “presentation demons”, at the time I thought he was crazy, but when I realized that every time I had a “perfect plan” for mostly anything, the “presentation demons” would come and throw curveballs at my plan. This prepared me to plan ahead and try and anticipate what can go wrong, but also give me peace of mind to know that most likely something will, and guess what? it will be alright!  


On shopping with a purpose

GS - This subject has been tormenting me for the last six months. I have asked myself not only about shopping with a purpose, but rather, what is the purpose of shopping? In the US the average woman has seven pairs of jeans, of which she (myself included) wears only two. Nevertheless, they (we) continue to add jeans and other pieces to our closets without really thinking about what we already have. As my resolution for 2018, I will take a shopping sabbatical, a year in which I cannot buy myself any new article of clothes, shoes, or accessories. My goal is to discover my personal reason as to why I need to add something new to my closet, and get better at shopping my own closet! Wish me luck!


Do you feel like sharing one secret?

GS - I have a love affair with bacon.


Your relationship with fashion: single, married, it’s complicated or …

GS - It’s complicated. In the past, I allowed myself to be sold into the beautiful lifestyle marketing campaigns of luxury brands and what is supposed to be stylish. Of course I could not afford the luxury clothes, so I resorted to fast fashion and entry level luxury. That resulted in closet with major ADD… I never had anything to wear and was always looking for something new to buy. After starting The UpCycle Project and discovering the environmental and social impact the fashion industry has in the world, I slowed down. I started looking for brands that took responsibility for