Rapper/Designer Stephanie “Ivy Shades” Johnson went from tricking out designer shades, to women wanting to buy her shades off her face. The hype surrounding her shades made her consider creating her own line and the rest is history. Ivy Shades took time out to answer questions for the Style Incorporated readers. Enjoy!
Who is Stephanie “Ivy Shades” Johnson?
Designer/ Rap Artist / Business Owner
When did you know that you wanted to become a sunglasses designer?
I recognized that designing sunglasses was one of my callings. When I saw the feedback from my fans. The fans would wait in suspense to see what glasses I would have next, like a soap opera; it was then that I knew.
How would you define your personal style?
My personal style is different, and out of this world. I have always been out of the box, and that characteristic is reflected in my designs.
How did you come up with the name Ivy Shades?
Initially when I started by career as a rap artist, my name was Poison Ivy, and because of my reputation for having a fetish for sunglasses my name evolved into Ivy shades. Truly it was a joke around the studio and it caught on.
What set’s Ivy Shades apart from its competition? What would you say is your trademark?
My essence sets me aside from the competition. My essence is something no one can take away. My essence is the heart and soul that is put into my design. My uniqueness, that is my trademark.
How would you describe the Ivy Shades customer?
Ivy shades customers are confident, and have a diverse mind about fashion.
Why do you think your eyewear is so popular?
My eyewear is one of a kind, and because of that factor that are popular.
Which shades from your collection are your favorite?
I love all the collections; each pair of glasses reflects a piece of me.
Which celebrities would you like to see wear your shades?
I love Beyoncé; I would be elated if I could create a custom pair of glasses for her.
Who or what inspires you?
Trials, tribulations, and good times inspire me. My past tells a story of a survivor, all of the trials have made me grateful for the good times. The fact that I have overcome inspires me to keep going.
Tell us about your design process.
I just create; there is no specific roadmap for the design process. I may wake up one morning with an idea and for a design. I typically create the first prototype myself and my team takes it from there. I have no preference when it comes to material; it could come from anywhere, when I see something I like I get it. Although I do have expensive taste, it works out well for the glasses.
What are your favorite materials to work with and why?
I don’t necessarily have a favorite material; I use material that inspires me at the time.
What are some important life lessons that you have learned along your journey?
Everything that glitters is not gold. Disappointments are a part of life and those things that don’t kill you can only make you stronger. The reason that I stand here today is because of my ability to overcome. I have learned the lesson of endurance.
Tell us about future plans for yourself and your label Ivy Shades.
Ivy Shades plans to continue to release hot shades, also continued success; to me success is defined by operating with integrity, assuring that no customer is dissatisfied with the product. Currently we operate with a high level of quality assurance, but to continue that same standard. Additionally I want to continue to grow and progress into a Fortune 500 company and be a respected brand, just like a Gucci, Prada, etc. where the brand is recognized and Ivy Shades are seen at all the major fashion events like NYC fashion week and so on.
What advice do you have for aspiring designers?
Originality is key; don’t allow anyone to change your vision for my designs. With a lot of things in business there is an aspect of politics, and those politics sometimes dedicate the vision. My designs come from my heart and soul.
Where can readers find out more your work?
All of my work new and old can be found on Ivyshades.com. We even perform custom requests, so customers can feel free to send their request for custom creations. The website is in the process of a full revamp, so my team has some fresh and new features for the customers/fans.
Ivy Shades favorite…
Pastime or hobby: Writing
TV shows: King of Queens, Law and Order SVU
Vacation spots: Las Vegas