Sablā Stays was one of those rare people who knew exactly what she wanted to do when she grew up. “By the time I was 11 years old I had already mapped out my entire journey [in fashion]. I was like, I’m going to this high school, I’m going to this college, I’m going to work with these people,” she tells CR. As a native New Yorker growing up in Far Rockaway, this meant attending the High School of Fashion Industries versus regular high school, and from there Parsons School of Design – the only college that she applied to – where she studied fashion design.
Fast forward a decade, and Stays’ current role as art director of Saint Heron, the creative agency founded by musician Solange, is markedly different from what she had imagined aged 11. Her gradual shift away from fashion began before she even started college, when she got an internship at music festival Afropunk and worked her way up the ranks. “I spent two years being the graphic designer there. I took a leave of absence from school, it was a period of my life where I just wanted to pause and really rethink a lot of stuff,” she says.