Alumna of the Year: Mignonne "Maggie" Gavigan Smith '99

In 2009, Maggie Gavigan Smith ’99 created a scarf necklace that featured intricate details, quality craftsmanship, and intriguing designs inspired by her travels around the globe. This was the first step in her transition from being a well-respected designer for other people’s brands to the creator of her own label—Mignonne Gavigan— in 2014. Since then her signature jewelry has been featured in dozens of magazines and worn by multiple celebrities. Her accessory designs are widely regarded for their playful, color-forward aesthetic and fresh, elevated point of view.

In 2017, Maggie was named as one of the “Most Stylish Southerners” by Southern Living magazine. And in February, Country Day named her as our Alumna of the Year, an award presented annually to an individual who has distinguished him or herself in their profession or community and who  exemplify what Country Day Ready truly means.

Maggie, a graceful Southern girl with the tenacity of a seasoned New Yorker, ended up in New York by way of Paris, studying fashion design in both locations after graduating from UNC-Chapel Hill. Before launching her own brand, she learned the ropes of both the business and design side of fashion at such highend fashion houses as Form, Khirma Eliazov, Rachel Roy, and Loeffler Randall.

She had her own distinctive style, even in high school. You looked at something and you knew it was hers. She was a star when she was here so I’m glad she’s doing so well in New York.

Meredith Green, Upper School art teacher

Recently Maggie visited Ms. Green’s AP Art class. “Her flair for fashion and design is obvious, but what struck me most was Maggie’s entrepreneurial spirit and how intentional she is about running her business and maintaining the integrity of her vision,” says Katharine Atkins, director of major gifts.  "She could not have been more down to earth and thoughtful with our students. She took such interest in their design work and approach and it is clear she wants other artists—particularly young artists to succeed!”

Maggie has a loyal following on social media and her latest creations are available at  mignonnegavigan.com, as well as luxury stores like Neiman Marcus, Bergdorf Goodman, Anthropologie, and small boutiques around the nation, including in Charlotte.

Mimi Kennedy Harris ’04, who operates Charlotte’s, a popular Myers Park boutique, says: The Mignonne Gavigan line is one of our favorites. Every piece is just so unique and really popular among our clients. It’s like a piece of art you can have in your closet to wear.”

In accepting her Alumna of the Year award, Maggie said, “I was blessed with the opportunity to go to Country Day. I feel that the sound and very thorough foundation that I received was unbiased and well thought-out from all of my teachers from kindergarten to senior year. That prepared me for the success that we have been able to achieve today.”

Maggie is headquartered in New York with her close-knit team and resides in Tribeca with her husband, Gray, their son, Fields, and cat, Franklin.