Romeo Hunte’s fashion designs exude his strong point of view and showcase his ambition to build a luxury house.
What was your inspiration for becoming a fashion designer?
It all started in my childhood…. I was an athlete who excelled in basketball and track and field. I was great at it, but I knew around the age of 13 that I had to do something bigger to take care of my family. My mother was an inspiration, and although she was a single mother…how she carried herself and engineered her personal style, personified strength…it was pure motivation. I wasn’t familiar with garment construction or illustration, but I did attend classes to refine my knowledge. I forged everything in my radius to cultivate my designs; from school, to the streets, to music [hip-hop was a great imprint], and I knew I wanted to do this! I collected and studied fashion magazines and took advantage of my internships. Working as a personal shopper in a luxury environment, afforded me the opportunity to experience both sides of fashion; business and consumer. I became an invigilator to what clients would have their eyes on and pick at, and it was very apparent that timeless, classic, wearable pieces are what they loved. I had a clear-cut vision for myself as a designer and how I wanted my designs interpreted. From there, I created a collection.
What were/are your greatest challenges to date as an emerging designer?
My challenges have been good, but the industry is not as pretty as it seems from the outside. I thought once I delivered a great collection that was me, unique and of good quality… it would just take off. I did trunk shows very early in my career, which allowed me to acquire some of the best celebrity clientele from Beyoncé to Michelle Obama. I didn’t think I would start a men’s collection so early, but the demand was there. I used menswear fabrics in my women’s collections – and the men took notice and would support my pop-ups and shows. Soon after came the great athlete’s. They would request a women’s jacket for themselves, so I originated bespoke/custom design and created a menswear line. In introspect, I wanted to make my line gender-fluid and focus primarily on luxury outerwear as the outerwear has always had the strongest point of view. I owe homage to my mentor Tommy Hilfiger for giving me the word to make that my focus.
What words of wisdom or advice would you give to an emerging designer like yourself, that’s wants to be successful in the fashion industry?
To learn the business of fashion FIRST, and do not have high expectations until you are experienced. Today’s designer is not just a creative mind. The knowledge of marketing, public relations, branding, and strategy is very essential. Learn how to capitalize from your growth and be perseverant.