Wendi Williams-Stern: The Alchemist

GA 28 | Celebrity Designer

 

This gorgeous woman can transform anything you wear into clothing gold. With a long roster of top stylists, mega A-list performers and the best couture fashion houses coming to her for help, she’s built her business, Studio Unbiased (@studiounbiased), into the go-to atelier for adaptations, collaborations and custom designs. She’s self-taught, there was nothing traditional in her training. She learned to knit in one day! She can do the most intricate of beadwork. Whatever it is, she figures it out. A dashiki into the raddest motorcycle jacket ever? No problem. She calls her process more “mechanical engineering” than anything else. This is an artist who has a true calling and vision for what she does. She told me about a project (that’s still secret) where she had to make someone invisible for a scene where they were driving-the footage is unbelievable and I hope to share it eventually in a follow-up. Her own designs are everything I want to wear. I’m in complete awe of Wendi and her remarkable gifts.

Listen to the podcast here:

Wendi Williams-Stern: The Alchemist

Wendi Williams-Stern joined me. She is a master designer, tailor and seamstress. She works behind the scenes with some of the biggest names. She does the Grammys, Oscars, the Golden Globes. This is her busiest season. All the gowns, she does wedding dresses. She fixes things. Her story is pretty incredible. She’s self-taught. Her business is called Studio Unbiased. She’s so humble and downplays her extraordinary work. It was a good thing that her husband was here with her too, Eric. He runs the business with her. He does the marketing. At the end, he jumped in because she did not sing her own praises, so he jumped in at the end with such pride and excitement talking about what they do in their business. I hope you enjoy our talk with Wendi Williams-Stern of Studio Unbiased.

Wendi Williams-Stern, I’m so happy that you’re here.

I’m happy to be here. Thank you for having me.

Thank you. I don’t know if people know your name or not, but they should and they will, I’m sure. Wendi is a master tailor, master seamstress, expert designer. I want to give a big shout out to my friend, Ciara, who put us in touch through your lovely husband who’s here, Eric. Thank you, Ciara. She told me about you and your work. Your business is called Studio Unbiased. I looked it up on Instagram, jaw dropped. Any client who is massive in the entertainment industry, actresses, I might’ve heard of Oprah. Do you do musicians as well? Mainly just everybody.

Yes, I do.

What I love on your Instagram is you don’t say alterations, you say adaptations. Adaptations by you. I love that because screenplay writers get to have that actual credit. It’s not just fixer or something like that. It doesn’t say alterations. It’s a nice way of elevating the credit that you deserve to have. The dresses that I see are unbelievable. I want to know when a dress comes to you, what’s your process? We need to hear your whole backstory, but because I went off on this tangent, I want to hear about that.

Sometimes I’ll get a dress and I’ll obviously go into the fitting and we’ll see how it looks. Sometimes it’s too small. If it’s too small, we take a look at it and see what we can do. Do I need to add panels? What do I need to do? I feel like when I’m working on something, sometimes I need to step back and think about it for a little while. I approach it a very different way than a lot of tailors. It’s more of a mechanical engineer thing. I don’t think of it as the same way. I get a lot of companies that come to me. A lot of designers come to me because a tailor has either messed something up or has hit a wall where they feel like they can’t fix something. Then I’ll get it at that point where everybody’s desperate, “Please help me.” Sometimes I’ll say, “Is it okay if I do something like this and you don’t care what it looks like on the inside because I can make this look good?” A lot of things come to me like that. I handle it a little bit outside of the box than the norm.

It’s been passed from many hands, hand to hand, and nobody can fix it. Then you magic it into many things. The dresses that I see on your Instagram are gorgeous. Do you have ones that you’re particularly proud of? Let’s say it came to you beautiful already, the material, obviously the actors are wearing it, but then do you have sparks of inspiration and you feel like you’ve made it?

No. They’re all very special and some of them take a lot more work than others. I feel like they’re all my little projects, my little babies. When I finish it, sometimes it’ll be 3:00 in the morning.

This is your biggest season, coming off of all the holidays, whatever you celebrate, December holidays and then New Year’s, then you go straight into Golden Globes, critics, BAFTAs, Oscars. No sleep until June?

Yes. It’s been quite busy and I actually didn’t go away for the holidays because I was here doing things already. I haven’t had my holiday yet.

How did this happen for you?

It happened by accident. I have a whole other life that was before this and I was a singer for many years. I was in a singing group in the ‘90s when they had all those girl groups. We were called For Real and we did a lot. We had two record deals. We traveled the world, we worked with everybody. We didn’t have any big hits. We had two record deals. We did a couple of soundtracks. We were on Waiting to Exhale. That was a big one. We did quite a lot. We were together about twelve years, but after that slowed down, I was like, “What am I going to do next? What am I going to do?” I always love to sew. I did go to a fashion college, not accredited or anything, but I went for three years and in my fourth year, I was asked to sing. That’s when the whole life changed into something else. I love fashion. I wasn’t thinking that I’m going to be a singer, but it happened fast and I had to make a decision and then I joined the group, then twelve years I was with them.

Where did you grow up and where was the fashion school?

I grew up in Hawaii. I was born in Hawaii on Honolulu, and then I moved here when I was about eleven. I’m pretty much native Californian now. I went to school here in Westwood. It was called the American College years and years ago. I won’t say how old I am, but it was a long time ago. It is now gone, but I did that. In my fourth year, it was time to make a change. Someone asked me, “Would you audition for this group?” I never thought I would be a singer. I didn’t want to be a singer. I just like to sing. Auditioned, got in. That changed everything. That was about twelve, fifteen years I did that.

During that time, did you make your own costumes?

I made my own clothes for me. I didn’t like doing it for anyone else. I always had fun making cool things.

You were one of those that always looked good. When people go up to you and say, “I love that. Where did you get it?”

“I made it.”

“Can I get one?”

“I don’t know.” Later, after the singing slowed down, someone, and I don’t know how they found me, came to me and asked me to copy a pair of pants.

If you don't understand everything about a garment or how it should be cut, you can't fix it. Click To Tweet

You had no idea how this person found you?

It was a long time ago and they probably don’t even remember. Her name is Cristina Ehrlich, who is a great stylist and whom I’ve actually been working with for a couple of years now. That’s how it worked its way into a business because I never thought it was something that I would do. She was in the beginning stages of her styling and she was working with some people. She had gotten a pair of leather pants and somehow got my name and I made the leather pants in a day. She’s like, “How did you do this? Where did you come from? Will you please work with me?” I said no for a long time because when I was singing, every time I would see the tailor on set, she looked like she wanted to cry. It was always very stressful and the people always look like they’re at the edge. I never wanted to feel that way or live that way. I would always say, “I’m not interested. I don’t want anybody yelling at me. I don’t want them telling me I have to do this and that.” It’s like, “I promise you.” It took a while but finally I was like, “Okay.” She was fantastic and we’re good friends. Many years later, lots of her clients, I would say 200 easily that I’ve worked with, celebrities, at least 200 to 300 celebrities over the years with her and other people. I have other people, but she was the person that I started with.

Before that point, I used to do some sample sales with girls around town. I never stopped doing things, so I would be knitting tops and always creating because I now had some downtime and I wasn’t singing anymore. I went to do some sample sales and sold some things and they’re like, “Where did you get that?” I’m a model and I have friends. I used to do what I call a Tupperware party. They would be a bunch of models and they would be picking through the Tom Ford or whatever. Gucci was the hot thing. I would knock them all off. I would make them in whatever color they want. That’s how the business started. I have never had to have a 9:00 to 5:00 job since 1991. That’s it. I’ve always been my own moneymaker since then. It’s sometimes hard but it’s pretty amazing.

This business after singing has been twenty years. Cristina Ehrlich was the first one, the stylist. Through her and word of mouth and your unbelievable work, everything’s built and grown. Your husband works in the business with you. That’s so great that you are partners in everything. Were you self-taught? I looked on your website, it says you can do beading. How did you learn that or you’re one of those touched and know how to do it?

I do think I’m touched. Not to pat myself on the back, but I don’t realize that I’m touched that way until I get to doing something. It’s like, “This is easy. I can do this.” Someone else’s like, “What? You learned how to knit in a day?” When I was singing and I was on tour, we all lived in a house together, the four of us girls, and then our manager. Whenever we would tour, we lived in Atlanta for a year, so we’re at the house and I was like, “I’m bored. What am I going to do? Let’s find something.” I shipped my sewing machine and everything. I started making things and she’s taught me how to knit. When we were in the studio, I’d be knitting these beanies for everybody. That was my first thing. “Scarf. Next, I can make a hat. I’m going to make a sweater tomorrow.” She’s like, “You can’t do that.” I made a sweater. She was like, “How did you do that?” It’s one of those things that I can figure out. It’s a little crazy sometimes where I have to figure things out and it will drive me crazy if I can’t figure something out. It’s not always a good thing, but I can’t sleep until I figure it out, nine out of ten times.

Your business now is twenty years in, you’re so well-respected. The list of designers that you even list on your website that go to you besides your A-list clients, designers are the biggest, hugest, the most, all the big houses.

It has been an amazing experience. I’m also learning being able to look inside these amazing gowns and seeing how they’re constructed. Every year, I learn something new. I don’t know everything. It’s not about being taught a certain way. It’s the experience and being able to go in and having to do something that’s very different from the norm, I find amazing. There was one in the gowns that we fixed for the Golden Globes. We fixed it and there was a fitting and then she tried it on and it’s like, “It’s doing this weird thing and I don’t understand.” I took it back, we made it tighter and we thought we got rid of it, but when I would hang it up, it was still doing that weird thing around the waist. It was 3:00 in the morning and I finally, “A-ha, that’s what I need to do.” It was cut incorrectly at the waist. I needed to raise the waist up and then sew it in. Sometimes if you don’t understand everything about a garment or how it should be cut, you can’t fix it.

Like you said, you’re an engineer or that is some CSI techniques.

That’s how I approached the clothing.

Do you have a workshop?

I do. I have a studio, yes. It’s fantastic. I have helpers. For many years, I did it by myself. When we actually got our studio, we started hiring help because I literally did it all by myself with no sleep for years easily in my apartment.

Also the fact that you’re untrained. A lot of times when you hear people who are touched with these gifts, not always but often they’ll come from families who are these things. They get it through genes.

There were six of us and I’m the youngest of six. We grew up in Hawaii. I remember seeing these pictures of literally every little kid wearing the same fabric, but a hat and shirt and pants and whatever. My mom did sew, but I don’t remember her teaching me because I was so young and then she wasn’t doing it. It was there. She had that ability.

Do you also design your own creations like what you’re wearing now?

I do. This is mine. Yes.

It’s beautiful. I have to take a picture of it before you leave, put it on my story.

I would probably do a lot more, but I don’t have time. Now, I would rather wear a uniform. I would wear the same thing every day if I could.

I’m sure in your work, you have these white leather pockets. You must need that for all your tools.

Absolutely, it’s something. I make a cool bag though.

Is it vintage?

No, it’s not. It’s a cute little bag that I made out of these vintage Army bags. I am going to start selling them. I’ve had so many people ask me about them already.

GA 28 | Celebrity Designer
Celebrity Designer: It’s a little crazy when you have to figure things about a garment, and it will drive you crazy if you can’t figure something out.

 

I now want to see one. I already want to buy one even though I can’t sew or anything. Which brings me to you being able to sew. To me, it’s a lost and dying art that most people don’t know how to do. My uncle is an incredible construction worker, contractor, I don’t know what you call it, but he can build anything. My husband is the least handy person on the planet. He can’t do anything. He can’t even put together Ikea. When we go to visit my uncle, he built his home and it’s so beautiful. He’s like, “All you would do,” and we’re sitting there and I have no clue what he’s talking about. I’m so in awe of that. The Home Economics that we all laughed at, like people wh o know how to build engines and fix cars, sew, build homes, nobody knows how to do that.

They need to bring that back. They absolutely do. That’s what turned me on to it. I never was interested in sewing. At that time, way back when, there was the Home-Ec and you would do sewing and typing and all these different things, wood shop, metal shop. I took a sewing class. I think I was maybe in the seventh grade and I made a pillow. As soon as I made that pillow, it was on. I was like, “I love this. I can do this.” In the ‘80s with the crazy clothes, I made all my clothes. I was a total Prince fan. I was in heaven. I could make my lace outfits and it was awesome. I made it for all my girlfriends. We would go out and everybody had an original. It was really quick too. It was thrown together like, “We’re going out tonight,” and earlier that day we’re whipping things up. They didn’t fall apart on them right then, but it got better over the year.

Do you have a sewing machine? Are you by hand?

I have many sewing machines. I have some that I travel with, some that stay at the studio. At my studio, I have four industrial machines. We have Serger’s, which are all these different machines that do different things. There’s a lot of handwork for sure in our studio.

The fact that you figured it out.

That’s trial and error over years.

Have you done wedding gowns?

I have done wedding gowns. I did a wedding gown for Ashley Greene, the actress. It was so beautiful. It was her second wedding and she had two wedding dresses. She had one for the actual nuptials and then the one for after. I made the one for after and they did a spread in Brides Magazine. It was beautiful. It was lovely. I had worked with her for many years, so I was honored that she asked me to do it. It was fantastic. I don’t do a lot of weddings because there’s a lot of energy around it. That’s not my favorite, but I have done them and I will do them for certain people.

I read the story and became obsessed with Ann Lowe. Do you know who she is?

No. The vampire one?

No. Ann Lowe, there were all these stories written about her. The Washington Post did one and other publications. She was a black seamstress/tailor.

I don’t know her. How come I don’t know her?

You need to look her up.

Where is she?

She’s dead now, but she was Jacqueline Kennedy’s. She was called the best kept secret of New York Society from 1940s to the 1960s. Her mother and grandmother were all expert seamstresses, tailors. They were slaves and they were in the Civil War and she learned from them. She went to Florida, then she did Jacqueline Kennedy’s wedding dress, amongst many other things. The bad part is that Jacqueline Kennedy did not credit her when she was asked, “Who did your wedding dress?” She said, “A colored seamstress,” was the answer. However, later on in life, I think that it was believed that she helped her. This woman fell on very hard times. Her story was cool to me when I read it, all these things. She went blind from glaucoma and she was still sewing. She would do it by feel and these amazing things. You are the second coming to me, not reincarnation, but this is cool.

Thank you for comparing me. I love that. I have thought on a few occasions of losing certain senses, hearing, which is going. I’m losing my hearing. I was a singer for many years and being around music and loud sounds and so it’s going down. I can’t hear very well. I try to do that and soon I’ll need some aid. He can’t hear either. We’re both yelling at each other. I’ve had a hearing test and it is what it is. If I lost my hearing, it would be fine but if the sight went, that would be tough. It’s wanting to continue to create, but it is what it is. I would probably make the best of what I could do.

For you, when you get a dress for the Oscars, are there any changes that you make that you think that did something very special to it? Is it the fit? Is it the whole experience?

I think it’s the whole experience. The fit is crucial because it can be a beautiful gown, but if it doesn’t fit that body, it doesn’t matter. It can make the world a difference. Cinching something in the waist the right way can make that difference. Even how they feel, once they know that it’s right, they stand up straighter. You notice it in them also when they’re happy with it. It’s very rewarding to see them be happy with the product after it’s fixed.

It sounds like it’s such a collaboration between you, the designer, the house, the stylist. I’m sure most people work with stylists. It’s a big team.

It is one big happy team most of the time. Honestly over the years, I’ve have not worked with any horrible people. That’s been a long time. There have been no people that were nasty. I believe that my energy is dictating what I’m going to get and what comes at me and who I deal with. There’s been not a lot of junk.

I believe that. Your energy is lovely. You attract that. That makes sense.

Sewing is a lost and dying art that most people don't know how to do. Click To Tweet

I’m not interested in any craziness.

On big award nights, do you work with one person? Are you working with one person or many?

Many. I have a staff now that can help me. Even when I was by myself, when I was working with Cristina Ehrlich, she would have four or five people and I would be doing all of them. We’d be staggering and doing fittings in between and going back and working on them and not sleeping for two or three days. I would take naps for an hour. Not good for my health probably, but I did it for a quite a few years. I have my own little secret because I’m holistic.

What’s your secret?

It’s not good for you. I drink Coca Cola. I make a Coke float. It’s the combination. It’s like speedballing. My husband laughed at me. He’s like, “You’re speedballing.” It’s a Coke float and I literally can stay up for three days.

What’s in there besides the sugar?

It’s sugar and caffeine in the Coca Cola. I don’t take medicine. A Tylenol could probably make me go to sleep. I think because my system is very clean that something like that is strong.

Besides Coca-Cola, what else do you put in your Coke float? Ice cream?

Ice cream and Häagen-Dazs. I’m particular. I’m a dessert snob.

Häagen-Dazs is delicious and I’m glad to hear you say that because when I was pregnant, I didn’t crave. I was always trying to eat well and be so good about things, but Coca Cola was my downfall. Every once in a while, it was like having the most indulgent guilty treat. It was so yummy.

Sugary and caffeine and all of that.

That’s a good secret. That’s a good life hack.

I don’t know if it does for everybody else though. For me, absolutely. Sometimes I have to go back for more. That one shot will get me going for a good 24 hours. If I have to do it again, I’ll do it again.

On the award day, are you at the awards with them?

I’m not at the awards. A couple of times, I’ve had to go backstage sewing them in or something like that. If they’re presenting and they’re changing outfits, I would be there, but I’m not at the awards very often. I am at the hotel getting them dressed before they get in their car.

It looks like from Instagram that a lot of them are staying maybe in the same hotel. Does that sometimes happen? Which is so convenient.

I don’t have to jump in the car and speed to the next place and try to get back to the other place if something’s not right. Yes, it can be very hectic.

I feel like you could start a movement though of women and men or people who maybe want to learn to sew.

I would love to teach young people this art and this craft. It is a dying craft. A lot of the people that are good at it are literally dying. They’re not teaching it the same way. My way of teaching would not be like a masterclass from old-fashioned way it’s been done, but I’ll get the job done. I would love to start teaching younger people and to let them understand that this is something that can be a job. It’s not a hobby. You can work a lot, especially in Hollywood. That’s how I fell into it. It wasn’t something I planned on doing.

That’s another part of your story that I love. These things kept coming to you like singing, “Would you like to audition?” You get the part. A stylist, leather pants. Things keep falling in your lap. It’s good. This is what I was obsessed with before that it is a dying art. That story that I read about Ann Lowe, one of the stories, like you, she apparently could work very quickly and figure it out. Dior saw something that she made in one day and was scouring the inside and was like, “How long did this take you?” She said, “One day.” The fact that there are still master craftsman women out there, you should do something with that. That would be so great.

I would love to be able to. I’m trying to find the time to figure out how to do it, but I would love to be able to pass on the thought process and everything to younger people to keep it and then keep it going on.

GA 28 | Celebrity Designer
Celebrity Designer: The fit is crucial because it can be a beautiful gown, but if it doesn’t fit that body, it doesn’t matter.

 

I am heartened by this because as I have two boys and as I’m raising them, a lot of the emphasis in school is like, “Do you know how many jobs there are in coding?” Coding is great. If that’s your thing, awesome. What about these other things that are necessary? Let’s work with our hands. I hope that you end up doing it. I also want to see more of your creation. I know you want to wear a uniform.

We will be doing jumpsuits soon.

You have a daughter. Does your daughter get the best dresses?

I thought in the beginning it would be amazing. I would cut these things out when she was six months old, “That’s going to be so fantastic.” They grow so fast that I literally had piles of things that I didn’t finish and then she was already too old for it. She only wanted to wear leggings and t-shirts, so it was never been very fun. We’re not at that stage yet. She does like me to make her costumes for Halloween. She loves that.

What was she this past Halloween?

She was something called Bill Cipher from Gravity Falls cartoon. It’s literally a triangle person. It’s a cartoon that’s a triangle but it’s the girl version of this triangle. It’s yellow and black and she had a yellow wig. It’s cute. She showed me a picture of it from cosplayers. We whipped it up because it was last minute, but it was fantastic. She was so happy and she loves that, but she’s not quite into making the dresses.

Maybe not yet. Maybe she ends up going to dances later on in life.

My mother got her a sewing machine. She had a previous sewing machine, so it’s not her main thing but I think she’ll pick it up.

Does your mom think it’s wonderful what you do?

She’s so happy. She loves it. She’s super excited about everything and everybody.

It’s very exciting. The name of your business, is that a play on words for like a bias line?

It is. My husband came up with that. How about that? It’s a great name. I’m happy with it.

I was wondering, I’m glad I remembered to ask you that because that’s very clever, Studio Unbiased. Can a regular person who has a special event come to you and get adaptations?

Yes, 100%. We are unbiased, so we will take anyone as long as they’re willing to pay. If they can pay, they can come. Give us a call, send us an email, whatever. We’ll check it out. We’ll see what we can do for you.

When you’re working with a master tailor and the stylists and designers, also undergarments are so important. Do you sometimes have to sew them in? I wonder about that.

Yes. We do all sorts of things. Lately, the designers now are making everything completely see-through. I don’t understand it. They’re beautiful pieces but not everybody is a model and can walk around naked. We have to sew in linings and slips and all these different things. Sometimes bras that we’re sewing into them because some people are heavier on top and they need some support. We’re into putting it all together and stitching it all in. We’ve had to do lots of that corseting and everything you can imagine we’ve done.

I can imagine because a lot of times I’ll go to a store and I’ll love something, a dress, and it will be expensive for me, but it will be completely sheer. What am I supposed to do with that? I wish that there were either slips that came with it or I could have my own Wendi.

I’m here.

Wendi, I’m so glad that you joined me. I’m very inspired by what you guys are doing and I’m grateful because as I said at the beginning, I have been dying to have black powerhouses on, and you’re the first person who said yes.

I’m black.

Yes, and you’re incredible. You’re amazing. I’m so honored that you came on. I know you have a lot on your plate right now, but in the future, have you heard of Loom? It’s a women’s center and it’s this woman, I follow her on Instagram and she’s amazing. It’s all about being a woman in terms of getting your period or having a baby postpartum. They deal with all the questions and all this stuff. You need to have a sewing house like that, about where it’s like a community and maybe all these older seamstresses, tailors who know how to do it can teach all of us.

The fit makes a whole world of difference. Click To Tweet

Teach us more and every day I’m learning something. I don’t feel like I know everything and I know I don’t, and when I learn something, it’s so exciting.

Do you have a little community of master tailors that you could do bounce questions off people or do you figure it out?

No, but if I did, life would be a lot easier and the days would probably be shorter. I have to figure it out.

This story that you told about figuring out how to raise the waist.

I’ve worked this many hours on this project. I’m putting it away because I’ve hit a wall and then go and do something else and then look at it again, then it comes to me. It’s like, “That’s what’s not right. It’s not hanging right. There’s something amiss.” There’s a lot of visual.

Do you have a favorite dress from the Golden Globes?

I think Thomasin McKenzie.

The gray one with all the ruffles?

Yes. It’s Valentino.

That’s on your Instagram and it is beautiful.

I think that was my favorite that I worked on. I’m sure there were many beautiful gowns. Unfortunately, I was so busy, I didn’t even get to see the awards. I went right into something else. It’s been nonstop, which is good for business. There’s a lot going on.

I’m glad there’s a lot going on. That’s fantastic. The thought that these careers came to you, it’s the coolest thing. The next award show is what?

The Critic’s Choice, I believe. There are Grammys coming and there are SAG Awards. It’s nonstop. It’s every couple of days, there’s going to be something, which is interesting.

Very interesting, exhausting, exhilarating, wonderful, fantastic, cool. You’re ready. You’re going to have your Coke float.

This time, I haven’t done it. I usually get to the Coke float by the Oscars. It’s the end. It’s like, “I’ve had it and now I need this to stay up.”

Do you feel that the Oscars is the biggest one?

Absolutely, yes. There’s nothing more important to most of the clients than that one. The other gowns are great, but I think the Oscars has a little more weight.

For Grammys, because it’s a different art form, do you feel like that’s as big as the Oscars?

It’s pretty big. I still think the Oscars overall, the energy around all of it, is the biggest. It comes with so much show.

It is its own holiday. The fact that you have a slew of A-list clients and then Empress Oprah, what you’re wearing now, I’m in awe of you. Wendi Williams-Stern and Studio Unbiased is her business. I’m going to be watching all of your stunning creations.

Thank you so much for having me.

GA 28 | Celebrity Designer
Celebrity Designer: Young people should understand that sewing is something you can make a career from. You can work a lot, especially in Hollywood.

 

Thank you for coming to me. I’m so honored.

I’m now sitting down with Wendi Williams-Stern’s lovely husband who’s been here the whole time. I have to give you props for not interjecting because when we wrapped and I said, “Thanks so much, Wendi,” I thought the interview was great. He pretty much exploded and was like, “No, she doesn’t. She’s the most reticent person to talk about herself.” Wendi has kicked so much ass, you don’t even know. He proceeds to tell me all of these different initiatives that you guys have going on, all of these different things and people that Wendi works with. I’m going to use Eric Stern to sing his wife’s praises, which is adorable and accurate. I want to thank again Ciara and Jeff because my friend, Ciara, from college put me in touch with Eric and then Wendi. Thank you, Warners. Tell me about your wife and what you guys do, more of your business.

Thank you. Studio Unbiased is an all-purpose design studio and atelier. We do everything from custom from the ground up, couture tailoring, couture redesign and adaptations, as you put it, which I appreciate you referencing that because that’s exactly why I came up with it.

You’re the mastermind behind that.

The connotation to alterations, in my mind at least, diminished the artisanal craft of the work.

We would never say that to a writer. You would never say an alteration on a script. You would say adapted by. You get co-creator credit.

That’s primarily why I made that decision to do that. It speaks to it more specifically and respectfully. We do everything you can imagine. We’ve seen everything from doing Lenny Kravitz’s whole European tour, custom clothing from the ground up.

Nobody is more stylish than Lenny, except maybe Prince, and he’s not with us anymore.

We have seen everything you can imagine.

What you showed me on your phone from the business Instagram, what you guys have done, the clients. Eric came up to me as he couldn’t believe that his wife didn’t sing her own praises more. He showed me pictures of Rihanna looking fierce as anything in those python pants that Wendi handmade. He also showed me Ashley Greene’s wedding dress that she had not just designed, but handmade. It’s one of the most beautiful things I’ve ever seen. Penelope Cruz, and Wendi designed and handmade both the bathing suit and pant suit.

There were actually two more pieces we did specific to the campaign. I didn’t have it posted it yet.

I also think you should talk about it because I think it’s a genius idea. I’m sure for stars who have the closets for it. For anybody who has the means to do it though, the closet initiative. What’s that?

I don’t know if I love the name yet but that’s essentially what we’re calling it right now. The point is Wendi will take her expertise, go into your closet and evaluate your wardrobe from a master tailor and designer’s perspective. There’s a personal touch to it. She’ll ask you what you love and what you want to keep. She’ll offer her perspective and insight. She will recreate, do the tailoring on and repurpose pieces of your wardrobe. We will take it back to Studio Unbiased. We will do the work in house and we will deliver it to you in the most personal of ways.

I love everything about that because in the world of this world of disposable everything and the amount of clothes that get thrown away and end up in landfill. If you can buy things that you love and then as the years go by, if they need a little facelift of any kind or a complete redo, there are people out there who can bring them back to life. That’s a nice thing that you don’t have to throw your clothes away and buy more stuff. If you’ve bought great things in the beginning, somebody like Wendi can make them amazing again.

It’s like recycle, refurbish, redesign. It is a green component because there’s way too much consumption. We believe in that as well. That’s one aspect of the closet audit that I think is going to be beneficial.

Were you amazed by your wife’s talents? I’m sure that you knew how talented she was, but not like this or did you?

I had no idea. I didn’t even know Wendi could sing. I had no idea and she told me she was getting a record deal and I think I asked her, “Doing what?” If I’m not mistaken.

You were already married when she got the role?

I’ve known her since 1985. Her talent is amazing. She is the most humble person. I think people respond to that humility, but she has a lot to talk about not arrogantly, but pridefully. She built this business thread by thread literally. It’s been beautiful to watch and she built it with impeccable work, professionalism and integrity. She has no smoke and mirrors. I get emotional about that to a certain extent because this town, there’s a lot of smoke and mirrors. She let the work do the talking and it’s been successful.

Also how proud you are of her work and how she’s so sweet. When you were coming later, she wanted to wait for you and you guys work together and you do the marketing.

That’s the marketing promotion.

I want to say one more thing, which is that, what I think I mentioned earlier when I was talking to her, she was wearing the coolest shirt I’ve ever seen.

We can get you one. We can make that happen.

I need one. It’s like a smock poncho and it has leather pockets and it’s the chicest thing ever. I feel like maybe between that and her little bag, you already have two things.

We’re putting more emphasis on custom clothing. We’re doing this cool line of jumpsuits. We already have a couple of our clients interested in that. She’s so busy making everyone else look beautiful that it’s been difficult in terms of time to get to our own designs. Now, we finally have a good staff. It took a long time. You pointed out early how artisanal the craft is. We did not know going into this how difficult it would be when we decided to spend our business, how difficult it would be to find these great artisans, if you will. Things are running smoothly and we’re ready to expand.

How long did it take you to realize how unbelievable she is at sewing, being a seamstress/tailor?

It can’t be quantified in terms of years. I started to realize it’s something like she said. She’s completely self-taught. She was touched, as you said. I love that and I agree with that. I started to see the level of clients. I only make that point because these people can go to anyone they want to have access to anything. That’s why I referenced it because they patronize us for that very reason. The more she did it, it’s like the 10,000-hour. In her case, it was the 100,000-hour rule. She kept doing it and getting better at it and she was recognized as such. If you ever saw the movie, Pulp Fiction, Wendi is the sartorial equivalent of Winston Wolfe, Harvey Keitel’s character. She’s the fixer. They have flown dresses on a plane by themselves to Wendi at 11:00 Pacific Standard Time because it had to be fixed by morning, and she did it. That’s how she built her bars or made her bones as it were. For people who are reading, always try to over-deliver. We speak occasionally at fashion schools, which we enjoyed doing it because we love giving back or giving. Always over-deliver as much as you possibly can. That’s what she did. That’s how she built her business.

A date with destiny is like a date with dresses all night long. She fixes it.

She has given so much and there’s no other way to do it in our opinion. It’s paying off right now. The universe is responding to that work and the energy. We’re excited about it.

You guys deserve all of it. Congratulations. Thank you for being the best cheerleader hubby.

I’ll take that. I love that. I’ll wear that proudly.

That’s so sweet. Thanks, Eric.

Thank you so much for having me.

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About Studio Unbiased

GA 28 | Celebrity Designer

Studio Unbiased is a multi-faceted design studio based in Los Angeles, specializing in Custom Clothing, Couture Adaptations, Redesign and Consulting.  We are on a very short list of top tier couture tailors in Los Angeles, but our clients are worldwide. They include stylists, costume designers, luxury brands, and the designers themselves, who trust us explicitly to work with their celebrity clients on gowns that are front and center for the world to see.  No pressure (smile).

The owner and creative conscious is Wendi Williams-Stern, a true artisan.  Wendi is highly skilled, and those skills run the gamut, be it hand-beading, haute couture, vintage, wedding, ready to wear, or costume. There isn’t much she hasn’t seen.

Our clients are a reflection of impeccable work, professionalism, and integrity.  We’re very proud of those values.  We approach every project with a commitment to precision and a clear understanding of our clients needs.

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