Stephen "Suede" Baum

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Stephen "Suede" Baum
Stephen Whitney Baum

(1970-12-19) December 19, 1970 (age 52)
EducationKent State University
OccupationFashion Designer
Known forProject Runway Season 5, Project Runway: All Stars, SUEDEsays Brand

Stephen "Suede" Baum (born Stephen Whitney Baum[1] December 19, 1970) is an independent American fashion designer based in New York City originally from Seven Hills, Ohio. He was a contestant on the fifth season of the television series Project Runway and the second season of Project Runway: All Stars, and is the creator of the SUEDEsays Brand.


Baum was born in Seven Hills, Ohio, a suburb of Cleveland, and has one older brother. He is a 1989 graduate of Normandy High School in Parma, Ohio and graduated from Kent State University in Kent, Ohio in 1993, where he majored in fashion design.[2][3] After finishing his degree and garnering the nickname "Suede" during his college years, Baum moved to New York City and interned with Geoffrey Beene on Mr. Beene's Couture collection.

Baum created his first evening wear collection which premiered at the Cleveland Center of Contemporary Art alongside other designers. He went on to work for well-known brands, Rocawear Girls, Lee 1889, Jordache, Polo Jeans Company and Todd Oldham Jeans. Suede has also worked for Old Navy, Phillips Van-Heusen and Vanity Fair Corporation. In 2001, he established the SUEDEsays Critics Award scholarship at the Kent State University School of Fashion, awarded each year to one senior designer graduate.[4]

Project Runway[edit]

Baum was a contestant in season five of Project Runway, which first aired in 2008, the final season of Project Runway to air on Bravo TV. He spoke in third person during the entirety of the Project Runway show.[5] 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[6] Suede was eliminated after making it to the top five, but was brought back to show a collection during New York Fashion Week.[7]

Later life[edit]

In 2009, Suede was inducted into the Kent State University Fashion Hall of Fame. Later that year, Cleveland PBS station WVIZ-TV aired a special segment about Suede on the Applause show.[8]

In 2010 Suede created custom work for the Craft and Hobby Association in Chicago utilizing a new machine, the eCraft by Craftwell.[9] At the end of 2010 Suede signed his first licensing deal with 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 and designs became available in September 2011.[10]


  1. ^ "Stephen Whitney Baum". IMDb.
  2. ^ Kathleen Murphy Colan (15 July 2008). "'Project Runway' may be made of Suede". Cleveland Plain Dealer. Retrieved 2010-09-16.
  3. ^ "Kent State grad Stephen Whitney Baum fashions a New York career". 15 July 2008. Retrieved 2010-09-16.
  4. ^ "Fashion Design Schools, Fashion Design Colleges, Fashion Merchandising". Kent State University. Archived from the original on 2002-08-18. Retrieved 2010-09-16.
  5. ^ "Is Suede's Third-Person Shtick Just an Act?". 6 August 2008.
  6. ^ "Own Suede's Winning Project Runway Dress &#124". Archived from the original on 2012-07-14. Retrieved 2010-09-16.
  7. ^ "Project Runway- Suede's Collection". YouTube. 2008-09-19. Archived from the original on 2021-12-21. Retrieved 2010-09-16.
  8. ^ "Applause show listing". WVIZ. 2009-12-31. Archived from the original on 2011-09-28. Retrieved 2010-09-16.
  9. ^ "suede desigfns for ecraft". Craftwell. Archived from the original on 2010-08-19. Retrieved 2010-09-16.
  10. ^ "Let's hear it for the boys". 13 October 2011.