Kim Smiley

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Kim Smiley
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Born (1975-10-09) October 9, 1975 (age 46)
Montreal, Canada
Alma mater
  • McGill University
  • Harvard University
  • Fashion designer
  • Artist
  • Activist
  • Writer
  • Thought leader
TelevisionThe Social Movement
  • Stanley Smiley (father)
  • Nancy Smiley (mother)

Kim Smiley (October 9, 1975) is a Canadian fashion designer, artist, activist, writer and thought leader.

Early Life

Kim Smiley was born in Montreal, Canada. Her parents are Stanley and Nancy Smiley (nee Pomerantz). She is Jews.[1] Smiley has two older brothers, Tracy and Jamie. Her family travelled across the Middle East and Asia for a year when she was three years old. After living overseas and in the United States and Japan, Smiley moved to Toronto, Canada, where she currently resides.[2]


Kim Smiley completed her undergraduate degree at McGill University in Montreal, Quebec. She specialized in comparative religion, cultural anthropology and art history. Smiley completed graduate school at Harvard University in Cambridge, Massachusetts. She specialized in Asian Religion, Compassion, Mysticism and Women’s Studies. Smiley was awarded the John E. Thayer Award from Harvard University’s Committee on General Scholarships, conferred to the student who graduates at the top of their class.

In 2001, Smiley conducted a post-graduate fellowship in Tokyo and Kyoto, Japan. She received The Frederick Sheldon Travelling Fellowship from Harvard University to complete her research. Smiley’s ethnography focused on the decline of the Geisha tradition, rise of the Western hostess industry, and changing beauty ideals in the modern world.


Smiley served as an Executive in the nonprofit sector, primarily in the social services, for a decade. Her work focused on poverty alleviation, mental health, women’s empowerment, affordable housing and human rights. Smiley served at the Montreal Holocaust Memorial Centre and Museum, UJA Federation of Greater Toronto, and Habitat for Humanity Toronto.

At Habitat for Humanity Canada, Smiley launched the Women Build in Toronto, an international program to construct affordable homes for women living in poverty. She engaged Canadian supermodel Monika Schnarre as an ambassador for the program.


Smiley launched her line in 2014 at World MasterCard Fashion Week, and was recognized as a “Rising Star” by The Kit. She debuted her collection with the Toronto Fashion Incubator (TFI), while working as a vice president in the charitable sector.[3]

In 2014, Canadian entrepreneur Heather Reisman wore Smiley’s signature lace cuff in Maclean's Magazine (The Power Issue). Indigo Books and Music Flagship store at Bay and Bloor in Toronto hosted Smiley to present her collection later that year.

In 2016, Sophie Grégoire Trudeau wore Kim Smiley at the Press Gallery Dinner in Ottawa.[4] In 2018, Smiley was catapulted onto the international stage when Sophie and Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau wore her designs on an official trip to India. Smiley was selected by Fashion Heals to create a capsule collection to benefit SickKids Hospital in Toronto in 2018. Funding supported an Innovation Grant for Pediatric Cancer Care and Research.

On November 5, 2020, Smiley opened her eponymous Global Flagship at 1070 Eglinton Avenue West in Toronto, Ontario[5]. Two weeks later the Coronavirus disease 2019 lockdown forced her to close her doors. Smiley pivoted her operation with empathy and innovation.


Smiley has written for the HuffPost, Chronicles of Jewish Philanthropy and the Canadian Jewish News.

In 2015, Smiley launched a social experiment called The Empathy Effect. She harnessed her background in photojournalism and writing for a 365 day experiment to test whether empathy was infectious. Over the course of one year, she started an “empathy revolution” on Facebook. The experiment culminated on June 8, 2016, when Smiley launched an initiative called the Empathy Pledge (#empathypledge) to raise funds and awareness. Proceeds from the campaign were donated to the charitable organization, Chai Lifeline Canada.

The Empathy Effect was formed into a national non-profit organization in 2017. In 2020, Smiley launched the Empathy Empire Charitable Foundation aiming to galvanize more loving kindness in public and private life.

Reality TV

On January 28, 2021, The Social Movement, a reality TV Series produced by Chris LaVoie’s Red Knight Studio Company, announced Kim Smiley would be featured on Season II of the program. The Social Movement is filming in Miami in June 2021. It is slated to air on Prime, Apple TV, Roku, Xbox, VUDU and GooglePlay.


  1. Ghert-Z, Renee. "Toronto designer worn by Trudeau's stitches together fashion with social justice". Retrieved 2021-02-12.
  2. "Jewelry designer aims to empower women by paying living wages". 2014-09-27. Retrieved 2021-02-12.
  3. "From Side Hustle to Social Enterprise: How One Designer Found a Fan in Sophie Trudeau". Shopify. Retrieved 2021-02-12.
  4. Koren, Daniel (2016-06-15). "Meet the Jewish designer behind Sophie Trudeau's famous earrings". The Canadian Jewish News. Retrieved 2021-02-12.
  5. "Personalized window shopping, mini pop-up markets: how businesses are innovating amid COVID-19". Global News. Retrieved 2021-02-16.

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