February 29, 1948 Willi Donnell Smith, one of the most successful young fashion designers in fashion history, was born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.
Smith attended Philadelphia College of Art for fashion illustration and then moved to New York City to attend Parsons School of Design.
He quit Parsons in 1967 to pursue a design career on his own. In 1976, Smith founded a company called Williwear. In 1983, he won an American Fashion Critic’s Award for women’s fashion and in 1985 he won a Cutty Sark Award for men’s fashion. At the time of his death on April 17, 1987, his company was selling $25 million worth of clothing a year.