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Stevie Edwards, Fashion Designer Who Styled Diana Ross, Dies At 58

The Washington Park native studied fashion at Dunbar Vocational Academy, was discovered by Ebony Magazine matriarch Eunice Johnson and got one of his biggest breaks from the Oprah Winfrey Show.

Fashion designer Stevie Edwards recently launched an online campaign to help with medical costs as he battles Stage 3 lung cancer.
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HYDE PARK — Fashion designer Stevie Edwards has lost his battle with cancer.

Edwards’ sister, Aretha Edwards, said the fashion designer died peacefully Sunday surrounded by loved ones. He’d battled lung cancer for more than two years. The family will be planning a memorial to honor him in the coming weeks, she said.

The Washington Park native had recently launched a crowdsourcing campaign to help with mounting medical costs and living expenses after his cancer diagnosis forced him to return to Chicago from California two years ago. Edwards had been receiving round-the-clock care in his Hyde Park home, and his family had sought the public’s help after draining their own finances for his care.

RELATED: Read More About Stevie Edwards’ Life And Career

Edwards got his first break in the mid-80’s when Fashion Fair founder and Ebony Magazine matriarch Eunice Johnson featured his designs in a 1986 spread of the magazine.

Johnson then handpicked him to design dresses for her after seeing him on a segment of the Oprah Winfrey Show in the late ’80s, becoming the young designer’s first major client.

The Dunbar Vocational Academy alum also worked with Barbara Bates and Patrick Kelly, and later, opened brick and mortar boutiques in Hyde Park and Gold Coast, and launched his own label, “I Luv Stevie.”

He had roughly one day to dress Diana Ross for an upcoming tour after the iconic singer cold called him.

“It was around the time of her ‘Return To Love’ tour, and I’m driving down Lake Shore Drive when she calls me,” Edwards told Block Club in July. “At first I refused to believe it was her. She tells me she loved a dress I sent via one of her people, and that she wants me to design dresses for the girls on tour with her. I told her I can do it. She says, ‘Great. I need 50 sketches on my desk by tomorrow morning.’ At this point I’m panicking because I don’t know what to do.”

He found a Columbia College illustrator who fleshed out the sketches with minutes to spare, he said. When Ross’ tour stopped in Chicago, Edwards received a personal invite to attend.

He’d go on to dress stars like LisaRaye and Tiffany Haddish, developing a friendship with the latter after meeting her at concert in California. The comedian was one of the earliest donors to Edwards’ crowdsourcing campaign, which generated around $7,400 in donations.

While Edwards was notoriously private, he told Block Club that his diagnosis made him want to open up.

“My family made me realize there was nothing to be ashamed of. Talking about it is kind of therapeutic. So I’m ready to tell my story now,” Edwards said last month.

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