Mz Mahogany: Who is Stevie Boi?
Stevie Boi: Stevie Boi is a designer, stylist and a personality.
Mz Mahogany: Tell me about your brand.
Stevie Boi: I started SB Shades in 2009. It’s an up-and-coming brand that I’m trying to move into philanthropy as well as a business. I’m trying to balance the two. I’m currently travelling around the world showcasing my new collection ‘54’. I’m also starting my own charity soon.
Mz Mahogany: Your designs are so unique; do you have a target market?
Stevie Boi: This may sound so generic but I’m marketing to anyone that’s interested in the product because so many designers waist money marketing to a specific race or gender. I’m traveling around the world because everyone isn’t tech savvy or use things like the internet, Facebook, Twitter and other social media sites. I’m doing home-based advertisement. I go to their home towns and meet them. It’s very presidential; almost like I’m running for president. They see my face and I show them I’m just like them.
Mz Mahogany: What brought you to the fashion world and specifically to starting your own line?
Stevie Boi: Originally I was doing music. That’s how I grew so many contacts with different celebrities. I got into fashion because I got tired of looking for fashionable people to style me. I wanted a better way to express myself. So I bought a sewing machine, a glue gun, and materials and just started designing things. When I was nine years old, I created my first eyewear and wore them on the street. Someone approached me and told me I should really start designing and selling them. And that’s what I did.
Mz Mahogany: You were a musician, how cool is that. Are you not into that line of work anymore?
Stevie Boi: It’s hard to do both. I am however taking DJ lessons and that is working out really well. I just got back from Russia and I DJed there. I really liked it. I’m learning very fast.
Mz Mahogany: You sound like a jack of all trades.
Stevie Boi: Yes, a mogul to the fullest.
Mz Mahogany: What was the most difficult aspect in launching your own label?
Stevie Boi: I think the biggest thing was being compared to older designers. What I was doing, was never done before. I had to patent everything and that was an expense. I had a good salary working for the government so I used a lot of that money and my spare time to build my brand. I didn’t have any financial woes. I did have haters but that comes with the territory, especially when you have something hot to sell.
Mz Mahogany: Name some of your celebrity clients.
Stevie Boi: I’ve worked with people like Lady Gaga, Katy Perry, Rihanna, Beyoncé, and Lola Monroe just to name a few.
Mz Mahogany: Who did you like designing for the best?
Stevie Boi: Everybody asks me that! I love designing for Lady Gaga. But to be honest, every person I have designed for has been my favorite.
Mz Mahogany: What was your inspiration in creating your ‘SB Shades’ line?
Stevie Boi: It was actually an accident. I didn’t randomly wake up and say hey I’m going to make some sunglasses. One day I was fooling around with safety glasses while I was working on designing clothing. The materials started sticking to the glasses. I started playing around with it. I was thinking what happens if I cover this, it would be really interesting. I was also really inspired by Paris Hilton’s big bug sunglasses. I used that as inspiration, started putting materials on the sunglasses and after a week of playing around with it I had something.
Mz Mahogany: How does it feel to be a Fashion Awards MD nominee in the Accessories category?
Stevie Boi: I am honored and it is great to be acknowledged. A lot of people don’t know I live in Maryland but I do work out of the UK and NYC. It is really great to be acknowledged because I don’t do as many shows here as I used to. I actually wasn’t born here, I was born oversees. I’m a military brat. I guess this is why I’m so culturally in dowd in so many fashion things.
Mz Mahogany: What is your biggest accomplishment?
Stevie Boi: Being a mainstream African American designer and on top of that having dope designs. There really aren’t a lot of African American designers that exist in the mainstream world. It’s weird to me. I often wonder where the other black designers are. It’s a new time in history and I feel like I’m a part of it. No one can consider me as being just an urban designer or just a high fashion designer; I’m a designer you know. It’s really great to be labeled as an American designer.
Stevie Boi: It’s sad. There’s a stigma behind African American designers. The average person looking at an African American designer is going to think they were inspired by the most dramatic looks. American’s don’t run the fashion industry either. I don’t know why we think we do. It’s really run by Italians, French and Europeans overall. We don’t run it, and it is what it is. African Americans in the fashion industry are automatically assumed to do something urban. It sucks when people assume that.
Mz Mahogany: What advice would you give a fashion newbie or student, looking to become a designer?
Steive Boi: The most important thing is to be original. The second thing is to save your money. And finally surround yourself with positive people. I didn’t realize how important that was until I got my last cover of Vogue. To see my designs in Vogue is a big deal to me every time but when the people around you down play it and make it seem like it’s not, it’s time to reevaluate who you surround yourself with. I had to get rid of so many people because of their negativity. You know people that are well established are the ones in Vogue. Now my stuff is being featured on a regular basis and that is a big deal. I have god on my side. This is why I stress to surround yourself around motivating and positive people.
Mz Mahogany: What can we expect from Stevie Boi in the near future?
Stevie: I working on my 54 Collection and I’m filming a documentary for MTV. It’s really exciting.
Mz Mahogany: Thanks for taking the time to speak with me! Can’t wait to get my hands on your shades.
For more information on Stevie Boi or the SB Shades / 54 Collections, visit his website at http://www.stevieboi.com