How to Make It in Fashion
When Charlotte Ronson talks about her career, she talks about her family. One is inseparable from the other. She credits her mother's strict parenting with strengthening the bonds between her and her siblings, and she draws on the inspiration of her brother, Mark, and sister, Samantha, when she creates her winning fashions. Here, Charlotte Ronson in her own words on the ties that bind.
On her first exposure to style:
My mother always had amazing style. Never looked like any of the other mothers at school. She would show up to parent-teacher conferences in little leather sexy numbers that we were kind of embarrassed by, but kind of excited, too, that she was our mother. And I would get to pick out her outfit and things like that. That was always like very fun and exciting for me.
She would make her own clothes. She worked as an optician, I think, when she was younger — so she would design and make her own clothes because she couldn't really buy so many things. And also she would always sketch. She's a great artist. Both my mother and father are really good at drawing.
On growing up with a twin sister:
We were always super close. Samantha was always a lot more smiley and outgoing. I was always quiet and curious. But I think also being a twin and always having to dress the same for so long — the same hair, the same everything — that it's so important to stand out and have your own individual feel. We would be called "The Twins" and we would get so upset with that. It was so important to just be an individual. She always liked to play with remote-control cars and I would get the dollhouse. We had our own identities. We had our own likes.
On having different styles:
There are so many different kinds of girls. It's important to appeal to a much broader audience of customers. My sister and I have such different style, but I do try to keep in mind, "Is there anything Samantha would wear?" This season, she actually came in a week before my show, so she got to see all the samples. And she was like, "Oh, I'd wear this, I'd wear this." So that always makes me happy — to see that it's not just for me.
On looking up to Mark:
He started DJ-ing very young. He showed me that he was so passionate and loved music, and that I wouldn't necessarily have to do what everyone else does. I could take that lead. If I loved fashion or design and creating, then I could probably do it too. They were so supportive, Mark and Samantha. They didn't give me that excuse that I could just give up or let it go — "Come on, you gotta do it this way" or "Can't you do it this way?" It was so stressful, but at the same time, it's what you need to keep you going.
On making schedules line up:
Mark and I were going to see a movie, and Samantha really likes to go to movie theaters. So she decided to come and surprise Mark, and we went to see "The Hunger Games." I'm not sure why Mark wanted to see that. We try to get together, but then sometimes Mark is working. So he'll ask, "Do you want to meet up at one in the morning?" I'm like, "No," but Samantha is always down for that. So we find our ways. When we're all together in the same place, we try our best.