Stephen "Suede" Baum
Stephen Suede Baum (born Stephen Whitney Baum December 19, 1970) is an independent American fashion designer. He was a contestant on the fifth season of the hit Bravo television series Project Runway.
Baum, a native of Cleveland, Ohio, graduated from Normandy High School in 1989 and Kent State University in Kent, Ohio in 1993. After finishing a degree in fashion design, and garnering the nickname "Suede" during his college years, "Suede" moved to New York City and interned with Geoffrey Beene on Mr. Beene's Couture collection. "Suede" created his first evening wear collection which premiered at the Cleveland Center of Contemporary Arts alongside some very prominent designers. "Suede" went on to launch many well-known brands, including Fubu Ladies, Rocawear Girls, Lee 1889, Jordache Vintage, Polo Jeans Company and Todd Oldhman Jeans. "Suede" has also worked for Old Navy, Phillips Van-Heusen and Vanity Fair Corporation. In 2001, "Suede" put a life-time endowment Scholarship in place at Kent State University. Each year Suede selects one senior designer graduate to receive a monetary scholarship that he has bestowed upon the Fashion School at Kent State University.
"It's really about designing styles that are saleable and understandable as well as hip and cool -- I often have to be a chameleon", he explained to the Cleveland Plain Dealer during an interview in 2004.
Season five of Project Runway first aired on July 16, 2008, which was the final season of Project Runway to air on Bravo TV. In the second episode, "Grass is always Greener", contestant designers were tasked with creating a red carpet look for "young Hollywood," but were not permitted to buy their own fabrics. Each contestant's model went to Mood Fabrics and selected fabrics that each designer would use to create their look. Suede won this challenge, which was judged in part by actress and guest judge, Natalie Portman. Over 250 pieces of this dress were manufactured and sold on Bluefly.com. Suede was eliminated after making it to the top five, but was brought back to show a collection during Fashion Week in New York City.
Life after the Runway
After Project Runway, in 2009, Suede was inducted into the Kent State University Fashion Hall of Fame alongside many of America's top designers.
At the end of 2009, WVIZ in Cleveland aired a special segment about "Suede" on the Applause show.
In 2010 Suede created custom work for the Craft and Hobby Association in Chicago utilizing a new machine, the eCraft by Craftwell.
At the end of 2010 Suede signed his first licensing deal with Simplicity Patterns. His designs are available world wide and are distributed by Simplicity Patterns. Responding to high sales Simplicity branched Suede's collection into their UK based New Look line launching SUEDEsays™ Studio by New Look. Suede's first menswear patterns/designs became available in September 2011.
- Kathleen Murphy Colan. "'Project Runway' may be made of Suede". Cleveland Plain Dealer. Retrieved 2010-09-16.
- "Kent State grad Stephen Whitney Baum fashions a New York career". Blog.cleveland.com. Retrieved 2010-09-16.
- "Fashion Design Schools, Fashion Design Colleges, Fashion Merchandising". Kent State University. Retrieved 2010-09-16.
- "Own Suede's Winning Project Runway Dress | Flypaper - Stuck on Style". Flypaper.bluefly.com. Retrieved 2010-09-16.
- “” (2008-09-19). "Project Runway- Suede's Collection". YouTube. Retrieved 2010-09-16.
- "Applause show listing". WVIZ. 2009-12-31. Retrieved 2010-09-16.
- "suede desigfns for ecraft". Craftwell. Retrieved 2010-09-16.