The avant-garde designer is back in black with his wild signature sunwear.
He’s a dynamic doer. Not only has he just launched his spring/summer 2018 eyewear collection, but he’s also released a book, directed a film and expanded into social and other media.
Shade Built My Empire is the name of Stevie Boi’s new book, alluding to how his otherworldy sunwear brought him international notoriety. “This year’s NOIR, will have a darker, edgier feel,” he said about his just released spring/summer 2018 collection.
More than an accomplished eyewear designer, he recounts in this year’s autobiography his brand’s growth from its roots in sunwear design, and his debut of CÄBIN The Story, a film he wrote, directed and stars in, demonstrates the versatility of the boi genius.
But it is his eyewear that made him famous when he first appeared on the cover of Vogue Italia, followed most recently by the release of the NOIR S/S 2018 collection, which plays up his favorite color, black.
Stevie Boi has outfitted the likes of Rihanna, Lady Gaga, Beyoncé, Madonna, Britney Spears, Katy Perry and many other A-list celebrities whose unique fashion sense sets trends rather than follows them.
During an international tour to promote the new NOIR collection, Stevie Boi hosted a fashion show at Manhattan’s Bernic Hotel. VCPN’s John Sailer interviewed the designer about the new collection and his approach to eyewear:
John Sailer: What’s your background?
Stevie Boi: My entire family comes from a criminal law background. I went to law school, but it didn’t feel right. I’m more artistic and out there. I dropped out of college after focusing on finishing high school because my mom kept telling me when you finish high school you can go do all the creative stuff. Of course, I finished high school and she still didn’t let me. So I moved out when I was about 17 and focused on being an adult and being creative. That’s how I decided to get into fashion.
I was already destined to be in the spotlight because I was way too connected with so many different individuals in the fashion industry. Just like everybody else, I started doing shirts, but because I would make sunglasses for me to wear on a daily basis, [one of my fashion friends]said, “You really need to capitalize off these sunglasses. They’re so unique and different and crazy and bizarre, just make more.” I did and then they ended up on the face of Eva Marcille Pigford from Top Model on the cover of a magazine. From then they went on a whole bunch of celebrities.
JS: What inspires your designs?
SB: I didn’t want to do typical eyewear because I thought if I make regular luxury sunglasses it may not work out for me because I don’t have the name [recognition]. Let me go ahead and shock with bizarre, crazy fashion so I can eventually do luxury, and that is literally the concept of how that happened.
JS: You’ve used some interesting materials. What are the materials you like working with in eyewear?
SB: I’ve done some crazy stuff, sunglasses with burning cigarettes, candles. I’m doing a music video and there’s candles burning, so I just put candles on sunglasses. It was more of an artistic expression. It’s not like I’m selling those specific products. I’ve made sunglasses from a lot of different materials, but the one I think I don’t want to go back to is wood. I made a collection of wooden sunglasses, and they were very fragile.
JS: When you’re designing and it’s not for a celebrity, what type of wearer are you envisioning?
SB: I design for the mood I’m in. Hot outside, I need big giant black glasses. Cold outside, I want a perspective I can see through. I never design with people in mind, unless a client wants something custom. I mean, people pay up to $600 for a pair of reading sunglasses and some people pay up to $3,000 for mine because they’re looking for this artistic expression.
The couture ones are one offs, but the luxury glasses are not. I partnered with EDA Frames for my luxury sunglasses, and they’re getting them into certain stores.
JS: Then when you’re designing for a superstar like Lady Gaga or Elton John or someone like that, what is it that you try to achieve for them?
SB: I always have a conversation. They come to me, and I just listen to whatever their perspective is or what they like. That’s how I can visualize. I don’t want to sound artistically crazy, but designing is really not that hard. I don’t do it the traditional way. I literally don’t draw. I don’t stay on the computer and do CAD. I don’t do any of that. I simply sit at a table and make a mockup.
It doesn’t require a team of people when I design. When I do luxury glasses, I do a couture version–which is handmade, of course, not manufactured. Then I’ll send a picture to EDA Frames which makes it professional with the CAD files and the designs and the measurements.
JS: What’s next for Stevie Boi in eyewear and beyond?
SB: I directed a film I’m releasing next year entitled CÄBIN The Story which you can find on my website. It got picked up by a lot of film festivals including South by Southwest. I released a book entitled Shade Built My Empire, and I’m touring all around the world showcasing my collection. Walk Fashion Show has me headlining a lot of their shows, so I’m touring with them. I’m producing TV shows and all types of stuff.