Meet Stephanie Raymond - LezBReal Fashionz
As the fashion designer for LezBReaL Fashionz, working with charities and non profit organizations brings me such a great fulfillment that could probably only compare to ever winning the lottery. I don't have much money to give away so I believe donating my talent/skills for great causes is my offering. This is the drive behind my "Boston Warrior" fashion art piece created for the Susan G. Komen's Catwalk for A Cure event held on March 2018. For this event, designers were paired with 2 cancer survivors, 3 professional models and, since Boston Magazine sponsored the event, each designer was mailed two big boxes full of Boston Magazine magazines and was asked to create an inspirational unconventional wearable piece. After meeting with my two amazing cancer survivor models, Christa and Sabra and hearing their courageous stories and the struggles they faced to overcome their sickness and still stand tall, strong and undefeated at the end of it all left my heart so full. These women transformed into superheros in my eyes. These women were warriors to me. I wanted to make the Boston Magazine unconventional piece for them. I wanted to make a piece that embodied the strength, power and bad-assness of a woman. These adjectives perfectly describe what LezBReaL Fashionz strives to instill in every woman who wears my garments.
As my mind swam with ideas as to what my warrior women would look like, the Black Panther trailer was released and it was like my whole brain aligned. What better way to show strength power and bad-assness than using the actual materials superheros use in these awesome movies. So I researched and learned about a thermoplastic cosplay material called Worbla and my world changed. I will not lie and say that it was easy, just like the fight for cancer isn't but I was determined (just like my survivors) to learn it and make it work and come out on top. It took me one month to learn all i can about the material and about 3 months to create this Boston Warrior piece, bringing back my young art class days of paper mache to apply the magazine to the finished Worbla surface. I used black tulle to add a couture finishing touch.
This piece is special to me because it is my interpretation of the strong survivor models I was so fortunate to meet and it embodies the love, passion and strength I see in every strong women I have encountered on this fashion journey. Thank you to you all!!!
Garment # 2
"Renmen Tafyate" (Drunken Love)
For my wholehearted love of Haiti is the force and inspiration behind my "Renmen Tafyate" piece. The love I have for my country grows more and more each day despite the negativity that plagues it and the awful things I have come to learn about homophobia in Haiti. There is always room for change and growth. For me, Haiti means life, hope and progress. I have so much faith in her.
The culture in Haiti is so rich. One of the most famous exports that is produced, bottled and come out of Haiti is Barbancourt, a sugar cane dark rum. It is well over 150 years old, has been passed down through 4 generations and the process of making it has never changed. This rum is regarded as among the finest in the world, just as I strive to be in my designs for LezBReaL Fashionz. This rum is smooth, with pleasant notes of oak and soft scent of sugar cane. Yummm! All that goodness is what inspired me to create my garment of goodness. It is made out of of the 15 year Reserve Barbancourt Rhum box art digitally printed onto clear vinyl. Just like the monotonous process of making Barbancourt, this garment required a very tedious process. From working with a graphic designer to set up the artwork to digital printing it using a Vutek printer, mounting the print to create the "fabric" to garment conceptualization took 5 months to complete, with dress execution in 4 days. This garment is special to me because it helps me pay homage to the inspiring people who dedicate their lives to the betterment of the country.. be it through Barbancourt, art, agriculture, educational initiatives or most importantly the millions of Haitians who work hard to survive without regular access to things we take so much for granted. This piece represents the ingenuity and resourcefullness that is Haiti. Through all trials and tribulations they manage to hold on to what is important to them, endure, rebuild and find ways to carry on with life. That is the spirit that fills "Renmen Tafyate".
Biography: LezBReaL Fashionz is strictly a custom fashion line established in 2012 by Stephanie Raymond. Her designs are strong, sexy and refreshing. She does not believe in settling for anything mediocre so she designs with a unique vision that allows her and the women who wears her clothes to gain a sense of bad-assness that allows them to aim high and far beyond. LezBReaL Fashionz strives to award her customers with a special exclusive fashion experience that starts and ends with satisfaction.
Boston Caribbean Fashion Week August 8-12, 2018