ivy shades*Stephanie “Ivy Shades” Johnson was recently cited as one of Black Enterprise Magazine’s 13 Young Innovators in the business of Design, Style and Fashion for 2012.

The young designer’s elaborate designs have taken the fashion industry to the next level in the blink of an eye; and this eyewear designer and recording artist is taking 2012 by storm!

Johnson a.k.a. Ivy Shades recently released her eagerly awaited fifth and sixth accessory eyewear collections: the Mad Max inspired Rock Star for men; and ultra-chic B.B.O. for women.  In addition, she is unleashing two hot new singles, “BBO” and “Super Bitch” on her own Houston independent-based label.

This modern day woman is all about empowerment.  Strong, sexy and independent, she creates music and eyewear that reflect today’s woman.  “Every female feels that they’re ‘bad’ in a good way,” she explains.

“I have a college degree, I run my company, and I handle my business.  I created this line for all the proud, beautiful, independent women across the board that can do so many great things and still rock Ivy Shades.  The person you hear musically is the person who created the shades. I put the same heart, blood, sweat and tears into both,” she concluded.

Born in Los Angeles, Ivy Shades grew up in Houston, Texas, and received a degree in accounting from the University of Houston.  She worked in the corporate world while launching her modeling and music careers, working with artists such as Master P, Avant, Slim Thug and Brooke Valentine, with whom she was signed to H-Town’s label, Subliminal Entertainment.

Last year, the singer released her second mixtape, “The Resolution,” tracked at Lion’s Den Recordings in Houston with engineer Lacemode, to excellent reviews.

In September 2010, The Ivy Shades Eyewear collection was introduced for the very first time in Houston.  A longtime aficionado of fashion and eyewear, she created the brand unexpectedly from a personal pair of shades that she enhanced with gold chains to wear for a video shoot.

“I was out with friends and I decided to wear the shades,” she recalls.  “A girl bought them off of my face for $350.  So I made another pair, wore them to a club, and another girl bought them for $210.  I decided to create a few more.  My first line consisted of eight pairs of shades and I decided to release them,” she stated.

ivy gladiatorWithin months, she was shipping eyewear internationally.  Six lines later — Boss, Retro, Flawless, Envy, Rockstar, B.B.O. — Ivy Shades are everywhere, from the hippest clubs to the most upscale boardrooms.

Gospel singer Yolanda Adams and Ashley Nicole King (Season 6) and Ashley Cheatham (Season 5) from television’s Bad Girls Club are just some of the celebrities who are wearing the shades.

Who does Ivy Shades envision wearing glasses from The Ivy Shades Eyewear collection when she designs?  A diverse wish list — Justin Bieber, Willow Smith, Fergie, Cee-Lo, Gwen Stefani, Will i.am,Tamar Braxton (Braxton Family Values), and Jersey Shore’s Snooki — are a few who come to mind.

Ask this remarkable woman about her meteoric rise to the top of the fashion world, and she immediately humbles herself.  “I’ve done a lot of interviews and this is probably the best question that was ever asked,” she says.

“I can’t answer it, but I do have a formula for you. Grind + faith + God = success.  If you work hard, have faith as small as a mustard seed, and keep God first in everything you do, the good outweighs the bad and that equals success.  I had no idea that God was going to present me to the world as a number one shades designer.  I thought I would do it with music or modeling.  All I can say is work hard have faith and keep God first.  That equals success,” she explained.

Stephanie “Ivy Shades” Johnson was born in Los Angeles, California on December 7, 1984.  She lived in California until the age of 12, and then was relocated to Houston, Texas where she obtained a degree in accounting from the University of Houston.

Since the beginning of the model, aspiring actress, fashion designer, entrepreneur, and recording artist career, she has been engulfed in the fashion and entertainment industry.  Her career began in music entertainment that has resulted in her working with many notable artists and music legends such as Master P, R&B singer Brooke Valentine, Avant, and Slim Thug, just to name a few.

In January 2011 Ivy Shades released her second mixtape entitled “The Resolution” hosted by GO DJ Hi-C.  Based on the demand from her following base Ivy Shades released her new single “BBO.”

The narrative of the song addresses her fabulous and lavish lifestyle of being an international model.  It’s a certified bottle popper in the clubs.  The accomplished and independent star is the Alpha and Omega for “BBO”  as the song paints a vivid picture of a woman who makes her own way all while doing ‘em…“BAD.”

Her acclaimed work in the music industry sparked several modeling opportunities, including photo shoots with Willie ESCO, Black Men’s Magazine, Hype Hair Magazine, So Ruff Magazine, and The Chronic Magazine.com.

The Ivy Shades Designer Eyewear collection launched in Houston, Texas for the first time on September 28, 2010.  Shortly after the debut of the first line, sales spread across the United States, even taping into the International market.

Due to the success and demand of the first line, Johnson was inspired to create her second line of designer eyewear Retro.  Most recently she released her fifth and sixth lines of designer eyewear in October 2011.  These new lines were named Rock Star and BBO.

The inspiration for the two lines was Mad Max inspired and captured her talent as a true pioneer in shade wear.  Johnson has earned her place in the Shades designer world, and when all the smoke and dust clears Ivy Shades will be the last designer standing.

As a designer she has had many notable accomplishments.  In summer 2011 she conducted a model search and received an impressive amount of entries from beautiful models all over the world.

The “2011 Ivy Shades Model Search” allowed the winners of the contest the opportunity to build their portfolio and become the new face of Ivy Shades Designer Eyewear.

In addition to the model search and because of her nationwide exposure she was contacted for an interview with Jet Magazine in their Designer Spot Light which appeared in the October 3, 2011 edition.

Ivy Shades is still working hard and has a lot more to accomplish in her career.  Her designer shades (on top of being sold online) are also available in high end boutiques; so look forward to seeing Ivy Shades in a store near you.  For more information on Ivy Shades go to: (http://www.blackenterprise.com/2012/01/20/13-young-innovators-business-of-design-style-fashion).

Audrey J. Bernard is an established chronicler of Black society and Urban happenings based in the New York City area.

audrey j. bernard