Los Angeles is emerging as a fashion capital of the digital empire. From sprouting pioneering showrooms , attracting visionary stylists and social media trailblazers , to nurturing a generation of international designers and fashion educators , the city is reinventing its mythic cultural status. Behind all impressive public transformations is the hard work and dedication of real people. LA’s newfound affinity with the fashion industry expands beyond the now obsolete best dressed lists. It comes through in the fashion tech startups, the growing number of artisans, and new media setting up shop throughout the city’s distinct neighborhoods. Designer Sharon Bensason-Behar, founder of the menswear label Ron Tomson , is one of the people for whom this dynamic process is the coveted “labor of love.” He launched the brand in 2006 and experienced the LA fashion revolution firsthand. This fall, Ron Tomson flagship boutique has been voted as the best neighborhood clothing store by the readers of Los Angeles Downtown News. Designer Sharon Bensason- Behar, founder of the menswear label Ron Tomson Courtesy of Ron Tomson California’s style ecosystem is notoriously celebrity-centric, and Bensason-Behar does dress a surprising roster of famous men (we’ll get to that). Meanwhile, the brand has an ongoing partnership with the local school district and the police department helping graduates and cadets get outfitted for job interviews and special occasions. What makes this milestone impressive is that a luxury fashion brand can not only survive one of the most challenging times for the industry, but truly thrive locally. Perhaps, the designer’s personal history was meant for a moment like this. His ancestors include 15th century Spanish textile makers and royal Ottoman tailors. His grandparents ran an atelier in Istanbul and created the famous hat that launched the Turkish Hat Revolution . Digital empire met its meta-narrative match. I connected with the fashion entrepreneur to learn more about what it takes to run a fashion business that is a trendsetter both in terms of style and matters of community building.
What were the challenges of entering the conservative menswear market?
I am happy to say that the challenges I faced starting the brand are a thing of the past now thanks to digitization of the fashion industry. Today new talent can start a label and find its audience through social media and digital showrooms. The big challenge for young designers in the past was presenting at costly trade shows. Now you can bypass conservative decision makers and critical corporate buyers to appeal directly to your consumers. Plus, there is the crowdfunding revolution! I really think we have a very nurturing environment for creativity in menswear now.
You dress celebrities and startup stars, police cadets and job seekers… What do they have in common? Who is the Ron Tomson man?
In every garment I make my first motivation is to achieve something unique. It can be a design element, a hard-to-find textile, or a technique that may be the right way of doing something, but too costly, and […]