Jay-Z wasn’t always a Thom Browne ambassador. In fact most luxury designers in the nineties weren’t too keen on having a rapper aligned with their aspirational brand. But for one design label, ahead of its time by all standards, dressing a man no matter their background, was a life purpose. Later on, fellow colleague John Bartlett was quoted in DNR praising them for, “embracing the peacock in men and keeping alive the craft of tailoring,” thus poignantly describing the philosophy and mission of the
Ron & Ron label.
On the cutting edge of men’s fashion design since the late 1990s, twin brothers Ronald and Rony Delice are known for creating fine suits that incorporate bold color combinations with edgy styling. Their Ron & Ron menswear label, worn by such celebrities as Will Smith and Samuel L. Jackson, has brought the brothers both critical acclaim and financial success, and has earned them a respected place among what Daily News Record writer Stan Gellers called “a hip new breed of 30-something tailors with a real passion for clothing.”
In 1998 the brothers launched their own clothing and accessories label, Ron & Ron. The business has performed extraordinarily well. “Our first year went smoothly,” Ronald told Lucas. “Usually, even if you know what you’re doing, it’s terrible. But we were very focused.” With an initial investment of $35,000 from their savings and those of Ronald’s wife, a toy designer and graphic artist, the brothers built Ron & Ron into a major force in the men’s fashion industry. By 2003 the company saw annual sales of more than $500,000.
The Delices’ fashion sense, which according to Hardbeatnews “combines class with a hint of rogue,” quickly attracted fans among the celebrity world. The brothers have dressed such well-known figures as actors, athletes including Latrell Sprewell and Steve Francis, and the musician Andre 3000 of Outkast, and have designed the men’s suits worn on the TV series Law & Order: Criminal Intent. Their designs have also been seen in major fashion publications, such as Vogue (France), Cosmopolitan (Italy), and Elle (Italy). Critics have admired Ron & Ron clothing for its intricate tailoring and its original combinations of texture and color. The look was described by Stan Gellars in Daily News Record as “rock & roll meets Milan” with shorter jacket lengths and unexpected details such as patch pockets and topstitching in red and blue, the colors of the Haitian flag. With suits ranging in price from $1,750 to as much as $8,500, Ron & Ron has clearly found a niche in the luxury market. But the brothers also keep more humble elements in their collections as well; they always feature a denim piece, according to the Miami Herald, because the fabric is so popular among poorer people in Haiti.
In 2002 the Delice brothers
won an international menswear design award from Gen Art, which showcases
emerging talent. That same year Ronald and Rony also won Fashion Group
International’s Rising Star award.
Their success, the brothers have noted, is rooted in their creative drive. “We’re artists more than business people,” Ronald told Lucas in Black Enterprise. Their work, Ronald commented in Hardbeatnews, “is in our blood. And when you love something from the heart, there’s no holding back.” Indeed, the brothers’ impact on the fashion world suggests that their designs will grow ever more popular. As New York Times writer Penelope Green pointed out in a feature on the Delice brothers, “In Haitian culture, the loa, or spirit, of the twins is a force to be reckoned with.”