In eight years, the quirky, perky Stacey Bendet (or "Staceypants" as her friends love to call her) has gone from being homeless and making single pairs of pants for admirers to founding the celeb-adored Alice + Olivia fashion brand. Her women's, children's and upcoming shoe (2011) lines have brought smiles to the faces of women for almost a decade now, including folks like Taylor Swift, Blake Lively and Angelina Jolie.
And now MTV News has learned that her undeniable ability to spread joy has Bendet and an eclectic band of artist gal-pals hopping into a retrofitted Alice + Olivia Airstream Trailer and taking their act on the road.
"We are going on a tour all through the Southeast, starting at Bonnaroo," Bendet said. "And we are making people over in every city as we go. We thought it would be a great way to work with all the stores and shops we've worked with since we started. So we are doing pop-up shops, trunk shows and makeovers."
What makes this tour particularly interesting is that in addition to making over everyday women across the country, Bendet and Co. will be hitting cities in Tennessee and on the Gulf Coast, taking time specifically to attend to women affected by recent flooding as well as the notorious Gulf oil spill.
"[From] Bonnaroo, Knoxville, Nashville, and small towns in Alabama we are getting submissions from people that lost their wardrobe in the flood, or [are] going through a really rough time. In Nashville obviously we are focusing on flood victims. People who have lost all of their belongings. Their whole wardrobe. We are going to a beach town in Alabama that's been really affected by the oil spills. We are doing a big block party there right by the beach and we are also doing a couple of makeovers. Then in Miami, we are doing a fashion show at the Fontainebleau, but we are making over someone from the Kristi House there. So we are just trying to bring a little happiness into people's lives in cities across the country. It's kind of like making over America a little bit."
To send off the traveling troupe of women (stylist Cleo Wade, DJs Mia Moretti and Caitlin Moe, photographer Diggy Lloyd and friend Molly Austin), electronic-music icon and friend Moby came out to wish them well, and even christened the voyage with an expansive drawing on the interior wall of the Airstream.
"I met Stacy when she was homeless living behind a dumpster at Arby's just by the entrance to the Holland Tunnel in New Jersey," Moby said. "Then she started a delivery service where she would deliver things all over New York on her Rollerblades. And she made her own pants and at some point someone said, 'Hey those are nice pants. Can you make me some pants?' And so she started making pants for other people. And now she's the proud owner of an Airstream trailer!"
Bendet's Alice + Olivia Tour kicks off at the Bonnaroo Music Festival in Manchester, Tennessee, on June 10 and will end in Montauk, New York, on July 11, with stops in Orange Beach, Alabama; Wilmington, North Carolina; and Miami, among other cities.