Shay the designer is a widely acclaimed accessory artist in the Baltimore area. By happenstance we both crossed paths at Stevie Boi’s “54″ show during New York Fashion Week at the Yotel in Upper Manhattan. Shay modestly said she created a slew of accessories for the show and even sported this one-of-a-kind bracelet aligned with asymmetrical points. My friends and I were infatuated with her fashion smarts.
Naturally, I wanted to get to know the woman behind the design. We had a wonderful interview a few weeks ago and I am thoroughly impressed with her savvy business sense and creative nature.
Q & A with Shay the Designer
1.)Tell me about your line, Haus of Shay.
Haus of Shay is an accessories line. My line is based on an 1800 unsolved murder case in London then leads on to America in a Factory, Factory 27. The story line is pretty cool. All fiction, but the fact that I created and wrote this story within minutes is insane! The story is copyrighted on my site. I carry edgy pieces that feature the studs, spikes, and BULLETS…yes, real bullets, emptied of primer and gunpowder of course.
I design eyewear, but I’m slowly moving away from that. I am recognized for my wristbands with real bullet shells on them. I do chain bracelets, shoulder pads, handbags, earrings, etc. I do custom designing, custom spiking, and studding. I do have more subtle pieces that are for the less daring and they give the same bold approach as my other pieces.
I remember when I met you at NYFW and I told you that Haus of Shay was based on a murder case and you look so intrigued! I get that so much. It definitely is a conversation sparker and a great plot behind a fashion line. My goal was to figure out what made my line stand out and be different…something more than just a fashion line.
2.) Do you really own a Factory? A lot of your story line takes places in a Factory.
(Laughs)Another conversation sparker. Yes, I design in a Factory along with Lori Anne, she’s from London…read the story line and you will be familiarized with her and the role she plays. You will find I use a lot of imagery.
3.) What made you choose to base your line off of a murder case that seems so real?
I’ve always had a weird obsession with murder cases. An obsession with solving them and seeking out clues. I always keep an eye out in reality for clues, suspects, and specs of real live murder cases. I become so intrigued with wishing and hoping I can somehow help, and by that, I help by keeping an eye out. I always had a thing with solving cases.
4.) Some of your photos have sexual and drug content in them? What made you come up with that?
Well, it’s all art. I do not engage in it. I just see it as art and that is how I choose to display my images. I’m a designer that loves using illusions and story lines to portray my work. Additionally, the story line says how Lori Anne was sent to me to America with a white powdery substance in her hand.
I’m sure you know what that white substance was (laughs), but that is how we came up with The GunMetal Collection…that white substance was an ingredient used in creating that collection. It’s all illusion, imagination, and imagery, the 3 I’s.
5.) what got you into the fashion industry.
The love of art, style, creativity, the sense of feeling free.
6.) Why do you do accessories?
I started with accessories because I wanted to jump in the industry slow and to me that meant starting out with accessories. It was almost like, I woke up one morning and decided I want to be a Fashion Designer…I won’t be doing just accessories for long though. Can’t really give too much info on that at this time though.
7.) Did you teach yourself to make your accessories?
Yes! Self taught…natural talent. Thanks to my visions at 3 in the morning! I just see it, sketch it, figure out which tools to use, begin my design process, design it, then it possibly becomes the next new product in my Factory.
8.) What are your successes?
Having my accessories in two music videos within this year. One has been released, the other has not released yet for unknown reasons. Working with Stevie Boi, having a few of my pieces in Stevie’s NYFW show, networking, meeting so many talented people in this industry. Working backstage at FAMD (Fashion Awards Maryland), getting my brand out there, new ideas, just so much!!!
This is only the beginning. I’m looking ahead for more paramount successes to take effect. On this journey, I’ve accomplished so many milestones I thought I wouldn’t accomplish till like 10 years from now. Believing in yourself, having faith, keep pushing, and putting in the work can sure make you exist in places in life that you never envisioned.
9.) How long has your company been around for?
Almost two years now.
10.) Any celeb collaborations?
Sort of! While backstage at Stevie Boi’s NYFW showcase, I networked and met a few of the Basketball Wives of LA who attended. Jackie Christie and Malaysia both have my Bulletproof wristbands which were featured in his NYFW show. I am definitely open to working with celebs, I’m working on it!! Rihanna! I’m looking for you girl! I wanna see her in my accessories!
11.) What are your goals for the future?
I have so many. So many personal goals and so many business goals! Just stay tuned.
12.) Where do you live?
I currently reside in Maryland, but I spend most of my time in a private Factory designing in an unmapped location.
13.) What has inspired you?
My God has truly inspired me. He showed me what I can be as a successful young woman and that is what I’m working towards.
14.) What’s a funny story on your experiences as a fashion accessory designer?
Wow! (laughs), looking back and seeing the amount of progress I’ve made in just one year. Everything from the quality of my products, my design process, the look, my creativity. When I first started designing, my designs don’t look as they do now. I look back and think “what the hell was I thinking when I made this”, but it was all growth. Something else would be how a lot of people doubted me and now I’m in the stages of proving them wrong (laugh), feels really good actually.
Oh, another would be the time we were in the middle of my “Murder Case of Chaz Buttons” photoshoot for that new collection launch. Well, the shoot was unfinished. We all got put out of the building we were in because we had lit cigarettes to capture the smoking shots of my models. I didn’t know you couldn’t smoke in a building in PG County…well, I know now. I blame the photographer. He should have known better. (laughs)
15.) Tell us more about you? Your background, personality and even your fave hot spots in the Baltimore area?
Well some are surprised when I say this but after high school, I went to an IT school. From there I’ve worked at renown IT/Staffing companies. I’ve worked in Human Resources (HR), Information Technology (IT), travel office for Afghanistan, Iraq, and Pakistan…I’ve done a lot to be the age that I am. I’m 21, yes, 21, just had a birthday actually. So basically, I have a business background. I am a fun person that just loves what I do…FASHION! All my friends know I’m always about business and LOVE traveling back and forth to New York. New York never gets old to me. Thankfully, all my friends are into fashion and will one day make it their career. I love fashion shows and even the most randomness things. Forgot to mention, I love dressing down in lounge clothes. I love the color black too.
I don’t do clubs, unless I reallllly have to for business so I’m unfamiliar on that area. I like the harbor…I love seafood they have some really nice seafood restaurants. Honestly, I haven’t spent a lot of leisure time in Baltimore besides business. I plan on changing that like um now once we’re done with this interview (laughs).
16.) Any accessory advice for someone who is accessory challenged?
You could never ever go wrong with a white tee and a bold statement piece. Whether it’s a necklace, bracelet, eye-wear, handbag, or of course a Haus of Shay wristband. Try looking for pieces that accentuates your personal style and personality.
If you are interested in any of Haus of Shay’s accessories visit her websitehere. Also feel free to follow her on Twitter @hausofshay, she does reply back