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When one thinks of fashion, several names come to mind. Alexander McQueen, Tom Ford, John Galliano, Nina Garcia, Rachel Zoe, June Ambrose and Andre Leon Talley are a few. How about the name Gwenolyn Stephens? Well, for those who are not familiar with the name, don’t fret. Ms. Stephens has set out on a mission to change that.
Gwenolyn Stephens hails from rural Mississippi and has had a lifelong obsession with fashion. Inspired by her mother, who was “always dressed to impress and always had on a pair of heels,” Stephens has created Rock.Paper.Heels., a boutique located in Ridgeland, Mississippi, Rock.Paper.Heels is “the basis of every woman.” The rock represents diamonds, a girl’s best friend, while paper represents money and heels are an accessory that all women love.
Though she is not formally educated in the field of fashion, Stephens has worked extensively in retail and has studied fashion in her own right—presumably with the aid of her favorite fashion publications, Elle and Vogue. One might expect her to feel inferior to those who hold degrees from world famous fashion institutions; however, she does not. She says that although “[my] creditability may be questioned [at times], that gives me the opportunity to show what I am capable of.”
Another issue that many may consider a hindrance to Stephen’s brand is her location. Needless to say, no one considers Mississippi one of the fashion capitals of the world. Still, she will not be deterred from pursuing her dreams on her own terms. “When you’re good at what you do and stay true to yourself, no good deed goes unnoticed,” she says. “No matter where you are from, you will have the ability to shine and make a positive impact in the lives of others.”
In addition to the physical location in Mississippi, Rock.Paper.Heels also has an online boutique. There are a number of things that separate this boutique from others. For starters, Stephens and her staff offer customers a variety of styles. The online store is geared more towards lovers of the urban genre, whereas the physical location offers more sophisticated pieces.
The company also offers customization. They have partnered with a Japan-based designer to customize pieces and hope to expand into national and global markets. The final component that separates this brand from the various others is personal styling. “I have yet to see a boutique that offers styling tips to their customers which includes hair, makeup and accessories,” Stephens states. “We offer the complete package, not just the garment.” Stephens is dedicated to giving her customers all of the necessary tools in order to feel comfortable and confident with their image.
Furthering her efforts to improve the image of her customers, Stephens seeks to open a consultation firm which will be an extension of Rock.Paper.Heels. She acknowledges that image is everything and that it is important to look your best at all times whether one is going on a job interview, first date or to a social gathering. Of course, Stephens has far bigger dreams than styling the everyday Mississippi woman and those dreams could be summed up in two words: Solange Knowles.
“She does everything so effortlessly,” she states of her dream client who she lists as a fashion icon alongside Rihanna, Audrey Hepburn and David Bowie. “She does not follow ‘fashion rules’ and she steps outside the box which is what I love about her. She is a style chameleon.”
Stephens is passionate about her brand and hopes that others will be able to identify and connect with what she is offering to the fashion community. Rock.Paper.Heels opened on September 1, 2012 and is located at 103 West Washington Street, Suite B4 in Ridgeland, Mississippi. Gwenolyn Stephens may be contacted via telephone at (601) 427-5472 or email@example.com. If interested in reading up more on Stephens’ fashion philosophy, feel free to view her Fashion Bomb Daily ‘Fashion Bombshell of the Day’ submission.