Toni Stacey-Blake aka Urban Fashion Chick is not just a urban fashion designer but also a mother, who has a passion and drive to help those in need. She plans to do this through the art and creativity of fashion to inspire change. Toni has outstanding and proactive expertise in fashion she specializes in Cordwainers accessories, textiles, and street art work. Her expertise in these areas and alarming need for a change in the UK and youth violence motivates her creativity. BOosHiE BagZ is a 'Fashion Against Youth Violence' brand which through creativity will assist under privileged creative young people via the medium of urban accessories.
1. What inspired you to get into accessory design?
I started out as a street artist and textiles designer, the next progressive step was leather craft and the desire for change, with so many young people dying through youth violence I decided to merge the two things that I love, which is fashion and young people. Booshie BagZ is a ‘Fashion against Youth Violence’ brand, the line was inspired by my son and his frontal lobe injury (Brain damage) and how life can change in an instant; something that many gun and knife crime victims and their families can associate with.
2. Where did you go to school and what was your major?I attended the London College of Fashion my major was PDDFI (Product Design Development for the Fashion Industries) BA (HONORS) Degree.
3. Describe your philosophy about fashion?
My philosophy about fashion is simple it should be an expression of who you are as an individual.
4. What words of wisdom can you give to aspiring designers?
- Plan – Research thoroughly & build firm foundations for your business
- Perseverance – there is a hint in the word IMPOSSIBLE = IM POSSIBLE! Make it happen!
- Be Original – People told me to keep it simple! Simple is what simple does!! Boring!! Dull & has been seen before!! (*Yawn) I say phewww to simple! Think big! Be different! Follow your dreams! Be bold! Show the world what you are capable of!
Booshie BagZ inspiration comes from London; I come from an underprivileged background so the London streets were my playground and full of inspiration and diversity, which I love.
6. What is a typical day for a accessory designer like yourself?
I really do not think there is such a thing as a typical day, my days are filled with interviews, PR, organising showcases, attending award events, photo shoots, talks for business functions, schools and youth projects. As well as managing the business side there is only a small percentage of my day left for designing.
7. Which accessory designers have been important points of reference for you?
I’m a leader not a follower and I tend not to follow other designers. I believe accessories should be as individual as the consumer and by producing couture and bespoke accessories for individuals is much more fun, you get to design and produce by hand designs straight from people’s imagination.
8. If you had the opportunity to design an accessory for one person who would it be?
I’m not really into the whole celebrity culture thing, so I guess I would like to design for a real idol such as Phoolan Devi (The bandit Queen), where I see beautiful bright red leather combined with gorgeous guilt hardware fit for a ‘Bandit Queen’.
9. Can you tell me about your collection?
Booshie BagZ collections are inspired by the streets of 'Urban' London which does not bow to the trends dictated by mainstream fashion it’s all about going against the grain and youth culture. Individuality is the key theme for the range, where it stands out from the crowd. Urban fashion is edgy fashion rebellion that reflects lifestyles, attitudes, individuality and street credibility showcasing rich fusions of colour, practical design, style and attitude that reflects lifestyles of diversity, complexity and evolution.
10. Where can we find your collection?
Booshie BagZ collections can be found exclusively on http://www.booshiebagz.com/ or on our home page there is a list ‘Booshie BagZ in the media’ where you can find links for Booshie BagZ accessories in UK and USA publications, newspapers and blogs.