So let’s talk about Ohio…and fashion.

When I moved to the state from Barbados 8 years ago, I had no idea what I was getting myself into. I had a love for fashion but I thought only New York and LA had a robust fashion scene. Therefore, I figured I’d be required to move to either area in order to witness unique and amazing fashion talent. But, over the last 2 years, I have been proven wrong.

In an unlikely turn of events, the Buckeye State has become a hub of fashion talent. Cities like Columbus, Cincinnati and Cleveland boast over 600 fashion designers, and the number continues to grow annually! The more intriguing fact is that each designer has such a distinct point of view and, in my opinion, creates collections that rival those of better-known brands.

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One such designer is Ron B. This authentic and energetic talent hails from Cleveland, OH and recently presented his self-titled collection at Great Lakes Fashion Week (10/25/14). His design aesthetic is “tastefully inappropriate” – a phrase that he and his friends have adopted to describe his fashion sense. Speaking of his friends, he shared that they have been a huge support throughout his journey, motivating him to design and share his work with the global fashion community.

Ron B’s story provides a clear picture of how a designer is born and what it takes to pursue a dream in fashion. His journey began in 11th grade when he created a handbag, which he gave to a friend who then encouraged him to produce more of the item. He listened to their advice and began to sell them in the neighborhood. His mom, recognizing his passion, bought him his first sewing machine in 12th grade, and his aunt pitched in by showing him how to thread the machine. Everything else, he taught himself, spending countless hours sewing, undoing and reconstructing his work until he achieved the quality he desired. Talk about drive and self-motivation! While he continued to sew and design for those around him, he moved to Atlanta for 5 years where he worked at Nordstrom as a personal stylist. There he learned his calling – he was a designer at heart. As a result, he relocated to Cleveland, OH a year ago and began to put his dream into action.

His inspiration for his recent collection was the change of scenery between Georgia and Ohio. He observed how those around him – his family, friends and co-workers – tried to find a place in this transparent world while still being true to themselves. As you can see in the pictures below, he literally interpreted the idea of being transparent while making a statement in his collection, using luxury and unconventional fabrics, such as plastic and hand-dyed fur.

During our chat, we both agreed that we could envision his work worn and appreciated by a celebrity such as Rihanna. She embodies the brand well since he designs for a very confident, secure woman and man who is genuinely happy and a free spirit.

Right now, Ron B is focused on creating buzz about his collection and building it into a household brand. This weekend, he is working on a photo-shoot for his collection and will subsequently launch his brand’s presence on the Internet and social media. Otherwise, his collection can be seen in-person at fashion shows and has been shared via word-of-mouth by his fans and models.

With a dream of being the first gay male on the cover of Vogue, Ron B shared that on a more personal level, he wanted the world to know that anything is possible with a little confidence. He said, “Confidence is all you need. With that you can run the world and do whatever you want. You don’t have to bring someone else down. Just be yourself and be positive."

And on that note, I think my point has been made: Ohio and fashion have become a match made in heaven.

Stay tuned for more information on Ron as he builds his web and social media presence. 

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