Designer Ron David Dresses D.C. Bold + Bright
May 1, 2023 @ 2:00pm
The designer on Ron David Studio, local style icons and what fashion looks like to him in D.C.
We are spotlighting the myriad voices redefining what it means to be stylish in the nation’s capital — from designers and stylists to entrepreneurs and athletes whose unique stories and perspectives shape bold visions. Check out our full Curators of Style roundup in the May issue here.
The first time I stumbled upon Ron David, I’m with District Fray Editor-in-Chief (and my own personal fashion icon) Monica Alford. Meandering around the streets of Union Market District, I spot bold pops of color through a new storefront and pull Alford inside. Ron David, the effusive owner and designer behind the eponymous Ron David Studio, happens to be there and welcomes us with such graciousness, I can’t believe he’s the creator of all these stunning designs.
Some months later, I return to Ron David’s shop on a sunny Monday morning to chat with him about style (his own and D.C.’s) and the future of fashion. Not only is multi-hyphenate Ron David a fashion designer, he’s also a successful D.C. realtor with Compass Real Estate.
“These are just my offerings to the world,” he tells me matter-of-factly.
That may be true, but I would argue Ron David’s spirit, which shines through his infectious smile, is his true offering.
Read on to learn more about his designs, his inspiration and what we can expect from fashion in D.C.
District Fray: Where are you from? What’s your connection to D.C.?
Ron David: I’m from Cleveland, Ohio and moved to the D.C. area in May 2009 to attend Howard University. I wanted to live in a major city and attend an HBCU, and Howard University was one of the top two. My experience there really shaped and grounded my fashion and style.
How would you describe your style? What’s your favorite piece you’ve ever designed?
Since I was young, I have always loved and have been interested in fashion. My personal style would be described as easy to wear, with impact. I love pieces that are comfortable yet pack a punch. One of my favorite pieces of my men’s collection would be my Deep Purple Nylon Puffer Kimono. I love to wear it, and it works beautifully on both men and women.
What or who inspired you to open your own studio?
My favorite store ever is The Webster in Miami. When I walked in the first time, I was in love with the artful and creative experience that lent to a new interpretation of luxury shopping. It was almost like experiencing fashion in one’s living room. It was dynamic and it changed my entire idea of what I would envision for a retail space.
If you could have anyone walk the runway wearing your designs, who would you choose?Kendall Jenner, Tyra Banks and Naomi Campbell.
How would you describe D.C.’s style?
D.C. style is more dynamic than what people may think. People from D.C. are well traveled and really enjoy expressing themselves through fashion and style. At my studio, people all the time express how they were waiting for a store and shopping experience like mine here in D.C., and they are so thrilled that we are [here]. They love the collections.
Any local style icons?
There are so, so many really cool people in D.C. One of my favorite D.C. style icons is Desirée Venn Frederic — an icon. She’s come off the scene recently, but everyone should look her up. She is it. Hands down, some of the coolest, effortlessly dressed men in D.C. are Norman Bowler, Tamon George and Gary Williams.
Which local designers do you wear when you’re not wearing your own?
I love The Museum’s clothing. I have many, many pieces from them. I am also obsessed with Chris Pyrate — amazing items.
Does D.C. gravitate toward individual designers or mass-produced fashion?
My experience is that people gravitate towards unique items. Most larger brands are here in Washington. Since I’ve opened my Union Market store, we hear all the time how people have been searching for a store that was unique, dynamic and fashion forward, with accessible price points. This is what I believe was the answer to D.C.’s shopping woes. People definitely lean towards exclusivity, which highlights local and individual designers that suit one’s taste.
What is the future of fashion in D.C.? More sustainable? More experimental?
I believe as the city transforms and as the world becomes more accessible, people will find what speaks to them. I am excited to be an outlet for fashion enthusiasts here in Washington and a space that breeds creativity, freedom and expression through elegance and fashion and decor.
Keep up with Ron David’s many pursuits on Instagram @mr.rondavid.
Ron David Studio: 1262 5th St. NE, DC; rondavidstudio.com // @rondavidstudio
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