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 Allison Roach Alumna Award

Andrea LENCZNER'90 & Christie SMYTHE'90

From the time they met in high school math class at Branksome Hall, Andrea LENCZNER'90 and Christie SMYTHE'90 have shared a close friendship and a passion for fashion.
As co-founders and designers at Smythe Inc., this creative pair have propelled their company into a sought-after, internationally known label, specializing in women's jackets tailored in a traditionally male style. Their work has been spotted on such celebrities as singer Gwen Stefani, actress Blake Lively, and, most famously, the Duchess of Cambridge.
Both women attended McGill University. Andrea graduated in North American studies, Christie in English. Later, Christie entered Parsons, the fashion and design school in New York City, and then worked in product development at Gap's design headquarters in Manhattan.
Andrea, meanwhile, earned an MBA at the University of Toronto's Rotman School of Management. That led to a lucrative position in investment banking, but, still pulled by fashion, she switched to a job with Holt Renfrew as a buyer.
When Christie and her husband relocated to Toronto, the friends took the plunge and set up Smythe Inc. in 2004. Applying high-quality techniques from men's tailoring, they produced a line of jackets for Holt Renfrew that quickly sold out. Today, the Smythe line is available at top stores across Canada and the U.S. as well as in Europe, the Middle East, China and online.
Entering their second decade, the Smythe pair want to continue giving back. In 2012, they designed a special blazer, "The Warbler," to raise funds for anti-bullying initiatives. They also support the School of Fashion at Ryerson University, and donate fabric to the Windfall charity and to the Design Exchange for its summer fashion camps.

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