Chicago fashion designer finds new life in passion and perseverance

Chicago's Very Own
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CHICAGO For Stevie Edwards, fashion design has been a career and lifestyle for more than three decades.

Edwards has dressed stars such as Diana Ross, Jody Watley and Tiffany Haddish. In recent months however, Edwards’ creations have exploded onto the fashion scene, proving that passion and perseverance can always pay off.

With several designs from Edwards now being featured in Vogue, history is being made.

“I mean Vogue is like winning an Oscar, it’s like everyone’s dream if you are a fashion designer. You dream of having your clothes displayed in a major fashion magazine,” Edwards said.

Vogue magazine is labeling Stevie Edwards as the new “it” designer. His Edwards clothing collection is featured in the October issue, making him the first Black Chicago fashion designer to grace the pages of Vogue.

For Edwards, he can’t believe what he sees.

“Nationally it hasn’t really been done since the ’80’s designers such as Willie Smith and Patrick Kelly, they were dominating the fashion press back in the day but no Black designer is dominating the press now,” Edwards said.

It seems Edwards is well on his way to that level of recognition. In addition to Vogue, Edwards was profiled in Women’s Wear Daily earlier this fall.

“The Women’s Wear Daily I got a huge editorial write-up in that, and that was ‘IT’ for me, that was bigger than Vogue for me,” Edwards said.

As more publicity comes his way, Edwards wonders why the newfound fame is happening right now, following more than 30 years in the industry.

Superstar Diana Ross was one of Edwards’ first clients, and he’s been designing for celebrities ever since, maintaining a steady clientele.

Singer-songwriter Terisa Griffin said she wears Edwards’ clothes often while performing.

“I wear him often on stage, several pictures in Stevie’s outfits. He’s always been innovative,” Griffin said.

Edwards was born and raised in Chicago, attending Dunbar High School where he first caught the fashion bug. But it wasn’t until a college fashion show that Edwards realized fashion was his calling.

His designs caught the eye of fashion icon and businesswoman Eunice Johnson. Johnson, who founded Ebony Fashion Fair had purchased some of Edwards’ gowns for her international show.

He credits Johnson for not only discovering him, but for supplying his motivation.

“My things are just different, unique, sexy and I also do men’s clothes so, it’s just trendy. I’m a trendsetter. I like setting new trends,” Edwards said.

Edwards said he prefers working one-on-one with each of his clients, hand-picking the fabric before cutting and sewing it himself. With recent publicity, Edwards has been able to create a new clothing line.

“My logo collection, Stevie Edwards as you see my name and I patented and trademarked the fabric so I own it,” Edwards said.

Edwards believes the key to success is being passionate about what you do.

“I’ll get up at 2 in the morning and I’ll make an outfit. I love what I do, I never get bored, never get tired! I love what I do,” Edwards said.

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