Friday, February 6, 2015

Trans faces #10: Ron'Rico Judon, He's Bringing Style Back with Debonair

By Sabrina Samone, TMP


As a child I would gaze in awe at the pictures of my great aunt Annie and my grandmother in their photos from the fifties. They all looked like movie stars to me with their stylish hair and beautiful dresses. I remember wishing that one day I'd meet a man like my grandpapa Sandy who always wore a suit and tie. His hair was fixed to perfection. He exemplified class even when going bald. Unless you're at work, today's fast food mentality has led to pants dropped to the ankles, facial hair gone awry, and tennis shoes for all day wear.  Men and women of all races in the 40's and 50's showed us class, intelligence, and style in their dress. Over the years, we have all had our fill of the baggy jeans and grunge look. What is the alternative then? There's a recent rise in dressing again with style, and not just for work or a special date.

One thing I find so fascinating about Charleston, South Carolina is that it's fast becoming one of the fashion capitals of the south. It's Spring annual Charleston Fashion Week has become the third largest outside of New York and Miami. This city is known for its class, manners, and styles. King street, our version of Rodeo Drive or 5th Avenue, is a smorgasbord of fashionable men and women. One may find themselves attempting to window shop, only to be more intrigued with the fashion of those on the streets. The Charleston fashion scene is about well fitted, stylish, high end clothing and that is what designer Ron'Rico Judon brings back to fashion with his new line, The Debonair Gentlemen. His collection consists of handmade neck and bowties made with the utmost, extreme detailing.

The highly discussed line is a hit among kids and high school students who aren't too familiar, or haven't had many opportunities to wear a tie or bowtie (a Charleston icon). It's not much of a stretch for students of Charleston County schools to adopt a more fashionable statement, as all schools in the area are uniformed. Now add in the Charleston must have...a bowtie and you have style.

Fashion designer Ron'Rico Judon is a man with more than a needle and thread. He's an advocate. A proud trans man of color; now is your chance to know this Debonair Gentleman.

1. TMP:  You received your degree in business management.  Many young transgender people may choose to drop out of high school or college due to bullying. How important do you feel education is for them to stay and continue?

Ron'Rico Judon : Continuing education is extremely important. Transgender people already have so much held against them. Its very hard for many to live in their truths, and the job market can be a struggle for many. Having a solid educational background could be the determining factor in getting jobs like Burger King, and not so much as discrimination.

2. TMP: What could be done more, in your opinion, to encourage education especially among TPOCC?

R.J.: Getting out and becoming a mentor to our youth. Go to local schools and be a guest speaker. Letting people hear your story about how you were personally affected is a great start. Showing others that you can over come the many obstacles faced as a triple minority will encourage and motivate someone. Knowledge is power, you cannot win if you remain powerless.

3. TMP: The south has a reputation that we are all too familiar with. Many consider Charleston SC as the birthplace of racial discrimination. How has this affected you being a trans male of color here?

R.J.: I'm a native to the city, so my roots and family history are embedded here. Charleston, SC has come a long way in diversity regardless of its reputation. Despite my Father's racist views and attitude, it had always been apart of my parents core values to not let race, gender, nor the ignorance of others hinder my progress and success. I have seen the difference in male privilege during my journey which has been a big plus. The down fall is due to media's fear of the Black male. Through it all, discrimination as a whole only makes the fire of my passion to make a difference burn brighter. It can be erased if we aren't willing to put our marks on it.

4. TMP:  In your opinion, why do you feel it's important for trans people of color to be visible and vocal, especially men?

R.J.: The visibility percentage is very low, especially in men of color. We want to blend into society without having all the arrows of stigma pointed at us. If we don't represent us, who will? Do we continue to let the media poorly portray who we are, what we look like, and what we stand for? Sadly, there are more trans people of color gaining visibility because of their death. The black trans youth will have very little role models that they will know personally or active in local communities if we don't take a stand and become the change that we want to see. I can go on forever about the importance of this topic. So I will say that everything is built based on its model. We can't build a better future without it either.

5. TMP: You've recently launched your much anticipated line, the Debonair Gentlemen Tie Collection. What does this mean for you in a southern city obsessed with fashion, especially bow ties?

R.J.: The D.G.T. Collection is one of my baby's. This is the continuation of the dying breed of Gentlemen, period. So many want to be gangster like, hard core, and thugs. Again, the media plays a big part in how young men and women see people of color. This collection will give you the option to feel suave, with a dapper look. This will truly show young people that being a gentleman and looking like one hasn't gone out of style.

6. TMP:  How long does it take to hand make a bowtie or tie? 

R.J.:  My ties take about 20-30 minutes to complete depending on the texture of the fabric used.

7.  TMP: What was your motivation in creating this line and who can purchase them?

R.J.: My mom actually insisted that I try making my own ties, since I'm very big on my style of fashion. Easy for her to say, she's been a professional seamstress for over 30 years. I tried one, and never looked back. What a great way to give someone an extra boost with self esteem.

8.  TMP:  You've been very active in the #blacklivesmatter Charleston campaign and active with Black Transmen, Inc. What has this meant for you personally?

R.J: I'm seen as black first, a man second. People have been taught to fear us and try to take away our strengths (roots and history). Both have given me extra fuel to show the world who I am and to value the roads traveled for me to get here.

9. TMP:  What are a few of the things we can look forward to in the future from Debonair Gentlemen?

R.J.:  You can look forward to new models, including pets. Also be on the look out for fashion tips, and Sophisticated Lady Tie Collection.

10. TMP:  I like to ask, if you could tell the world something about Ron' Rico Judon  and you knew everyone would listen, what would you like them to know about you?

R.J.:   If you didn't know, I'm a proud African American man of trans experience. I seek no acceptance and I am, with no apology.

TMP salutes our Trans brother for creating a line of style and class.  Ron'Rico is bringing style back to gentleman wear. There are also lines for ladies, kids and pets. So this year the entire family can have a little debonair.
To Follow and learn more about this designer:
Fashion designer Ron'Rico Judon on Facebook 

The Debonair Gentlemen Tie Collelction


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