GRACE, Md. — When flashy fashion designer Stevie Boi
isn’t jet-setting around the world building his brand,
he is relaxing and recharging at home in Havre de Grace.
come as a surprise to know that the celebrity known for
his androgynous looks and ornate eyewear and clothing
worn by Lady Gaga, Beyoncé, and Rihanna calls a
subdivision of perfectly manicured houses — some with
white picket fences — home.
more than a year, the 29-year-old has done just that.
so not where anyone would imagine I would live,” says
Boi, as he stood in the home’s garage, which also
functions as his design studio.
addition to holding two vehicles, the walls of the space
are lined with dozens of containers filled with fabrics:
finished garments and the materials needed for him to
whip up prototypes of his famous sunglasses. A simple
white architect’s desk is cluttered with empty bottles
of water, an opened shipping box, a pair of scissors and
a display stand with about a dozen pairs of his eyewear.
There’s no sketch pad. Boi says he doesn’t draw. He
mainly creates his designs on a tablet, and then
directly ships the images to his manufacturer in
Portland, Ore., where the sunglasses are made. His
clothes are made in Italy and Los Angeles.
very peaceful here,” Boi says of his digs, a
two-level, five-bedroom, three-bathroom brick home.
“When I have to travel, it’s a headache. There’s a
lot of stopping and going. Here, I don’t have any
problems. I don’t have to talk to anybody.”
was born Steven Cordell Strawder, moved last year to the
home, which is his mother’s, after spending the past
couple of years living on the road.
I left Baltimore, I was literally living out of
suitcases,” he says. “I moved home to save money.”
de Grace, Boi says he’s found a sense of peace.
no place like home — especially like your parent’s
home,” he says in a whimsical “Wizard Of Oz”
he was dressed in a light pink wide-brimmed hat; a
partly sheer multicolored pink jumpsuit;
raspberry-colored socks and black Nike sneakers. He
completes the outfit with an iridescent pink visor-type
pair of glasses — all from his recent PINK fashion
collection that he debuted in September during New York
spent the past week at home preparing for his coming
world tour and recuperating from his fashion show, which
was particularly brutal.
of model castings, fittings and paying painstaking
attention to the other laborious details associated with
organizing a 230-guest show in New York City had taken
their toll on Boi.
overheated,” he recalls. “It was 100 degrees in New
York City. I fell directly on my face in the hotel lobby
as I was heading to get to bed. I was so hot. The room
kept spinning. The hall kept spinning. I passed out.”
unconscious for 30 seconds and was taken to a hospital
where he had emergency plastic surgery. He suffered cuts
to his neck, chin and lip. His cheek was partially
dislocated, he says.
money off my face,” he says, adding that he wore a
mask during the show to hide his swollen face and
protruding lip. “I chose a plastic surgeon.”
“scared and depressed” designer spent the entire day
in the hospital before being released just in time to
present his PINK collection before a start-studded crowd
that included Whoopi Goldberg, Beyoncé’s stylist Ty
Hunter, and fashion industry insiders and glitterati.
convinced the doctors to let me leave the hospital,”
he says. “The show must go on.”
show, Boi skipped his own after-party at The London
didn’t go to it,” he laments. “I went right to
sleep. … I only shared this with a couple of
taught him to value himself.
going to start pacing what I do right now,” he says.
“I was putting everyone before me during Fashion Week
— clients, sponsors. It could have been worse. I could
have been dead. I’m going to put myself first. I
always put everyone before me.”
mother, Gloria Scott, laments that she hopes her son
takes better care of himself.
he comes home, he’ll sleep the whole time until it’s
time to go again. He’s not getting younger. He looks
young,” she says. “When I heard about that accident,
it knocked me off my feet. I worry about him all day,
every day. I’m concerned about his health and
well-being. But as a mother, you can give all the advice
you can. But he has to adhere to the advice. I love it
when he’s here and settled. I don’t have to worry
about him doing too much.”
with a laugh: “She’s so supportive. My mom has my
back like a chiropractor.”
returned to the “beloved” confines of his Havre de
Grace home for familiarity and comfort.
snuggled up in his full-size bed with a bottle of wine
from his neighbor’s vineyard and binged on “The
View” and “The Talk.”
home, he chose to cancel an upcoming show in Tokyo to
lit bedroom turned into a meditation room.
been a lot of spiritual healing. There has been lots of
prayer,” he admits. “It made me closer to God in my
almost a week to just three days before he would embark
on a multi-city and -country tour that includes stops in
Paris, Berlin, Hawaii, Miami, Tokyo, Amsterdam and
Stockholm, and an almost tranquil Boi was relaxing at
home deciding what he was going to eat that evening.
going to bake some mac and cheese, fry some chicken and
make collard greens,” he says. “I’m definitely
making baked macaroni and cheese. That’s definitely
self-admitted foodie, Boi says he’s been cooking since
he was 7.
would let me make my siblings (his three older sisters)
dinner. I started with lasagna,” he recalls.
to leverage his love of food into a money-making
recently launched an ice cream flavor PINK with
Philadelphia-based ice cream maker Little Baby’s Ice
Cream. Boi describes the pink-hued treat as tasting like
a flat cherry cola. He plans to sell it in Baltimore in
the coming months.
he’s filming a video series “Stevie Boi Eats” done
in a “guerrilla-style way” where he’s recorded
eating and drinking at various restaurants during his
travels. He plans to shop the show to various networks.
he’s not cooking and eating, or catching up on his
favorite shows — he also likes Lifetime movies —
he’s catching up on some much-needed sleep.
usually try and spend as much time away from the
computer as possible — it never lasts more than a
half-day — before going down the rabbit hole of posts,
likes and comments. But he knows it’s worth it to
continue building his brand.
is all a facade,” he says as he points to his face
full of makeup and his new ensemble — this time he’s
wearing an oversized blush sheer tunic with gigantic
billowing sleeves. He’s ditched a hat for a black
piece of fabric that he’s wrapped around his head like
a scarf. A burst of hair sticks up on the top of his
head. A new pair of clear visor-type glasses rests on
his face. “I’m really a businessman. My brain is
constantly thinking about the next check. I’m never
Hooligan, a Baltimore-based pop artist who provided the
closing music for Boi’s New York City fashion show,
wasn’t surprised to hear that Boi lives in the suburbs
— nearly an hour north of Baltimore.
is full of incredible artists who are wildly successful
in their careers, and I think the proximity and access
to major cities like Baltimore, D.C., New York,
Philadelphia, and Atlanta gives so many artists here an
opportunity to travel while also having a quiet and
fulfilling home life,” he says. “You don’t
necessarily have to live in New York or Los Angeles to
be successful anymore, thanks to the digital age.”
respects the fact that Boi has decided to spend time
around his support system. He even believes it helps Boi
to become a better artist.
there is an expectation for artists to sacrifice
everything — our family relationships, our
friendships, our communities, our homes and our
comforts,” he says. “Yet these things are deeply
influential in our art, being able to hold onto those
things is creating an environment for more emotionally
fulfilled and financially stable artists, which is a
beautiful, powerful thing.”
James, owner of the Fells Point clothing store Katwalk
Boutique, was surprised to learn that Boi lived just two
minutes from her Havre de Grace home.
who has lived in Harford County for the past 15 years,
knows that people would be shocked to hear that someone
who has ascended in the fashion industry would be living
in a suburban setting.
very outgoing. He doesn’t let anything stop his
drive,” she says, adding that she carries his line of
eyewear in her boutique. “He’s really doing it.
He’s very ambitious.”
Boi has switched outfits into yet another ensemble —
this one is a black sheer shirt, black leather pants and
black Nike sneakers with raspberry-colored socks; a pink
wide-brimmed hat; and a pair of cat-eye glasses with
neighbors seem not to notice his appearance and go about
their business. A group of men load several pieces of
furniture into a moving truck from the home next door.
Their gazes never reach Boi.
friends don’t get it. They say, it’s so not you,”
he says about his quiet suburban lifestyle. “Just
knowing that you can go home to your mom’s, dad’s or
guardian’s house … there’s nothing like that.”