Monday, September 3

Interview: Steven Stolman


I knew there was a reason that I liked Steven Stolman and after our recent correspondences I now know for certain just why.

Of course it was his fabulous clothes that initially caught my attention. I first learned of Steven by way of a very fashionable girlfriend from Dallas. We were having a few couples over for dinner and in walks my friend with the most amazing yellow Chinoiserie pants I had ever seen. My first inclination was to rip them from her size-two-body and reupholster a chair!

After oooing and ahhhing I learned that the designer was Steven Stolman and that many of his designs were cut from decorators' fabrics—pique sundresses, toile trousers, Chinoiserie shifts. I instantly fell or his designs.

I did a post on Steven back in January of this year and since that time a few readers have asked about the closing of his Southampton store (the Palm Beach store continues to be operated by his former business partners). Steven recently wrote the forward to Susanna Salks’ new book A Privileged Life, and it got me to wondering about him and his current undertakings.

Thanks to the wonderful World Wide Web I was able to get in touch with Steven, inquire about his recent projects and share several great emails. It turns out that we have very similar tastes in books and now share the same profession.

Steven has taken a hiatus from the world of fashion design in order to turn his attention to a most worthy project—Director of Development for FoundCare. FoundCare is an organization in Palm Beach County with a mission of becoming Palm Beach County's FIRST and ONLY non-profit, non-governmental community health center for the uninsured and underinsured.

Did you decide to take a hiatus from fashion design before or after you took the post at FoundCare?

Things happen for a reason, and in this case, it was a matter of all the planets lining up. After shepherding several friends and family members through the nightmare of the health insurance system in a rather short period of time, I became acutely aware of the magnitude of this impending crisis. FoundCare had approached me to chair a major event for them some years ago, but they really weren't ready and my busy schedule and previous commitments to other charities prevented me from doing so. However, I remained in touch with the organization, as I found their mission beyond compelling.

I feel that the decision to become their Director of Development was made by someone else other than me, it was an answer to a calling that came from "higher up" if you get my drift. There was simply no question about whether or not to take this on.

What do you find most rewarding about your new position?
Blowing the horn! FoundCare is a groundbreaking organization in Palm Beach County. Its success will pave the way for major advances in the delivery of quality health care to all. Our mission is to build Palm Beach County's FIRST and ONLY non-profit, non-governmental community health center for the uninsured and underinsured. Statistics show that we need 8-10 non-profit, non-governmental community health center as soon as possible. Currently, we have none. As a citizen rather than just a resident, this is simply unacceptable.

What can others do to help or become involved
?
Donate money to FoundCare, especially to our capital campaign, and spread the word to friends, medical care providers and legislators. Too many people in Palm Beach County have absolutely NO health insurance, that’s roughly a quarter million children and adults. I find it shocking given the pockets of massive wealth that co-exist with these same people and they don't think about the exponentially growing population of hard working lower-to-middle class (in most cases) that make the lives of the wealthy more comfortable and convenient. Please visit www.foundcare.org or contact me directly at sstolman@foundcare.org.

What do you miss most about designing clothes
?
I don't have time to miss it, what with $10million to raise and a 28,000 sq. ft facility under construction! Besides, I still have to get up and get dressed every morning like everyone else, so I'm still involved in the creative process, even if it's limited to my closet.

Do you see yourself returning to design?
Who knows? One thing I can assure you, it's like riding a bicycle.

11 comments:

Anne said...

Yet another great interview Ronda. Bravo Mr Stolman! We need more people in the world who actively seek to make real change.

Anonymous said...

Of course I’m sad the Steven has taken a hiatus from design, but what a fantastic project to take on!!!

ALL THE BEST said...

Thank you Anne, and yes, hats off the Steven! I hope it's a huge success.

ALL THE BEST said...

Anonymous you can still shop his Palm Beach store.

kim s. said...

I love Steven's designs and I am so happy to hear that he is working for a great cause.

katiedid said...

What a great cause! I hope he is hugely successful, so much so that it becomes a model for the whole country. I look forward to the day when insurance goes to pay for health care and not line the pockets of the already wealthy.

Fairfax said...

As Director of Development for a non-profit in Baltimore, I know how much work it takes to raise money. It can become all-encompassing. Good for you, Steve!

Cote de Texas said...

What a wonderful post. I really admired people who put their money where their mouths are. Hat's off to you and to Mr. Stolman. I recently learned that Megan from Beach Bungalow 8 is also involved with a wonderful charity. Her fiance started: http://www.walkwithsally.org/
Check it out to see what real giving people accomplish, like Mr. Stolman. Thanks for a wonderful interview.
Joni

ALL THE BEST said...

Thanks for all of the great comments regarding Steven and FoundCare. I can tell you that being a US citizen now living in the UK, it is wonderful to know that every person in this country can see a doctor, regardless of income levels. There is no denying that the US has wonderful medical advances and technology available, but it should not be at the cost of children (or anyone for that matter) having to forgo medical care.

Suzy said...

Great interview! He certainly does look very stylish. And bravo to him, what a fantastic cause to be supporting. As an Australian - a country where historically everyone has free medical - I find it shocking that so many people in the USA live without access to medical assistance. Its a basic human requirement that everyone should have access to.

patriciagrayinc.com said...

What a wonderful and worthy cause Mr. Stolman has devoted himself to.