Spotlight is a regular series where we feature a prominent person in the creative scene.
Steven has been a creative force all his life. He started his own label at 17, opened an art gallery and has even styled NBA players. He currently resides in Guangzhou – one of China’s largest manufacturing hubs. Fashion, however, is not the sole venture for Steven. He also loves connecting people and building the artistic community. Missing the spectacular boozy brunch parties from his native New York, he decided to take action and organize something similar in South China. To date he’s organized two brunch extravaganzas, and hopes to regularly bring these events all across China. We sat down with him to discuss fashion, food and the future.
What brought you to Guangzhou all the way from New York?
The first time I came to China was to do packaging for a marijuana company. People knew me as the fashion guy from back home, so once I came here people started asking me about manufacturing or how to grow their brand. That’s when I decided to start my business.
When did you start designing?
I had my first streetwear brand when I was 17. My partner and I were just in high school and we didn’t know what the hell we were doing. We just had a little bit of money which we would invest back into the brand. We liked to push the envelope (abstract designs, prints, cuts) and maybe that’s what messed it up at the end (chuckle).
Image courtesy of Renaissance Collective
My current company is Renaissance Collective, I can’t name all the labels I work with due to NDA agreements, but I work in womenswear with influencers, invest in brands, grow brands, design and oversee manufacturing. When asked how to best describe the type of clothing I produce I jokingly tell people that “I make clothing for strippers” – for the super sexy dancers and curvy women.
How did you transition from streetwear to stripperwear?
The market for women is more interesting, more experimental, more profitable; it was something that happened organically.
Who are some of the biggest names who’ve worn your pieces?
Kylie Jenner, Kim Kardashian, Teyana Taylor, Jhené Aiko.
Teyana Taylor. Image courtesy of Renaissance Collective
What does your typical day look like?
Fabric market runs where I search for fabrics, checking on designs, samples, looking for inspiration and finding references. Which includes a lot of online browsing for what dropped yesterday to vintage fashion from the 1920s.
Who is your favorite designer?
Alexander McQueen. His shows were real shows – sensational, over the top, an experience that people didn’t forget.
When do you feel most creative?
Sometimes I get moments of inspiration that last for weeks. I’m inspired by architecture and art, as they work in tandem.
Can you tell us more about Members Only (M.O) and your brunch party initiative?
In Guangzhou, there isn’t much fun going on in terms of music, culture, arts or nightlife. I decided to stop complaining and do something cool. I love the brunch parties in New York and LA, so I decided to recreate that atmosphere, here in China.
Image courtesy of Members Only
The first brunch party we had was held in early December at Park 10, a beautiful space equipped with a huge rooftop patio. Our second brunch party we threw was Moulin Rouge-themed, which was a hit.
In terms of our target audience, we’re looking to gather creatives and people who are setting out to build something that will last. We’ll start off in South China (Shenzhen will be up next) and these events will be invitation only.
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[Cover image via That’s]