Monica Smiley


Toronto, Ontario

Full disclosure: we not only love Monica as a friend, she is also the illustrator of choice for The September (we fell hard for her sweet rendering of The Townhouse). A business wiz and freelance fashion illustrator, Monica founded eighty seventh ST., her fabulous card and stationery collection, a decade ago. Since then, she has collaborated with some of the biggest names in luxury and fashion. We were thrilled to catch up with her – see below – and encourage you to check out her work…

1. Favourite fashion designer?

Currently it’s Amy Smilovic of Tibi. I practically stalk her on Instagram and anytime there’s a sale it’s usually the brand I end up purchasing.

2. Accessory of choice?

I’m very minimal, especially when I’m drawing. I don’t like things dangling off me. I need my Warby Parker glasses to see and I’m almost always wearing my Michael Kors watch. It stopped working for about 4 months, I was too lazy to go get a new battery, and I still put it on every day because my wrist felt naked without it.

3. Hard copy or Kindle?

Hard copy.

4. Dream client?

The September of course! I’m really excited for what we have planned. I’ve actually been extremely fortunate to work with different types of clients from fashion to sports and, for me, it’s always about the relationship/vibe I get with the client over the brand. I’ve done some amazing things with brands in the past that were never on my radar so I try not to rule anyone out.

5. Favourite artist

Al Hirschfeld.

6. Best gallery

I’m an awful “artist” in that I don’t frequent galleries very often, for me it usually depends on the exhibit that would bring me into a museum/gallery. In 2011 I went to see the Alexander McQueen Savage Beauty exhibit at the Met in NYC and I’ve been comparing it to every exhibit I’ve seen since. So far nothing’s lived up.

7. Pen or pencil?

Pencil first, then pen, but always both.

8. Movie pick for 2018?

I’ll take a good binge-worthy TV show over a movie (the Marvelous Mrs. Maisel gets my vote for 2018). The only thing I ran to see in the theatre last year was Fantastic Beasts 2, which satisfied my inner Harry Potter nerd.

9. Entertaining style?

Family style! I like things casual: good friends, good food, although I have no problem telling people where to sit and will definitely be using our new Bon Appetit place cards at the next gathering.

10. Makeup essential?

I’m very minimal when it comes to makeup (it’s a really good day when I don’t have to leave the house and put on any makeup!) That said, almost always: Bare Minerals Mineral Powder Concealer and Benefit Gimme Brow.

11. 2019 goals?

2019 is actually my 10th year in business, which is crazy! I really try not to make any New Year’s resolutions or specific goals each year so that I can be open to opportunities as they come along. The work is always fun and easy when I get to work with great people so I’d love to explore more collaborations, but if they don’t happen this year there’s always next year!

12. Words to live by?

The best advice I ever got when I was first starting out was, “Keep throwing sh*t against the wall and eventually something will stick.” I still live by this motto and use it to remind myself to keep trying new things.