A Fashionable Love letter to DC
From an outside perspective, Washington, DC is not known for creativity, let alone fashion. A leisurely stroll along the Mall flanked by columned buildings and lush foliage is always beautiful. Beyond that, one runs into the myriad cookie-cutter, brutalist government buildings. This combination of classical and oppressive concrete hardly seems conducive to creativity. Yet, move beyond that a little further, and you find the neighborhoods filled with charming row houses. And creative minds like that of Ron David, the DC-based fashion and interior designer, real estate savant, and lifestyle enthusiast.
Ron David’s Union Market shop is an oasis in a city stereotyped as stuffy, but it also brings to the surface the depth and breadth of the nation’s Capital. In a repurposed warehouse district, Ron’s windows sit between a Michelin-star restaurant and a progressive-minded bookstore. The sharply dressed mannequins jump out here, and the well-organized yet fun interior draws in passersby.
Entering his space on any given day feels like entering an event, and Ron makes each person feel like the focus of the day. With a background as a stylist, Ron is focused on helping people present the best version of themselves, and he gives his clients the attention needed to understand what their best self looks like.
Ron David describes DC as a melting pot of people and ideas from across the country and around the world. A city where neighborhoods each present a unique feel and people with a desire to escape their office jobs and the monotonous stereotypes of the city.
Ron David brings to the surface this desire—the undercurrent of resiliency and creativity that has never been dormant in the birthplace of Go-Go. As detailed by The Washingtonian, Go-go has reigned “as the District’s most powerful homegrown cultural creation” for over 50 years. It’s been called “the beat of black Wahington.”
Organizers of movements to protect Go-Go say, “music is one of the most influential forms of getting a message across—it’s the glue of DC. My connection is with the music. We are go-go. Go-go is the culture.”
Fashion is a similarly powerful means of conveying a message. Indeed, Ron David’s designs are a bold love letter to his city. As he says, “people should be able to shop for clothes they love where they live.”
Bringing Creativity to the Surface
Ron laments the stereotype that DC fashion is boring and clearly overflows with joy in taking time to thoughtfully help people break through that idea. As a student at Howard University, he fell in love with the fast-paced, dynamic, professional, multicultural feel of the city. During this time, he also worked in a retail space in Georgetown, where he met people in various high-powered careers and learned that you could be fabulous in any career.
Most of the pieces in his shop can be styled to meet the professional needs of any woman in the city while also maintaining a fun feel that easily transitions to weekend brunch. He aims to create looks that are bold but also functional and timeless. He sources materials from around the world, always looking for the perfect fabric. His line includes unique pleats, lightweight textiles meant to flatter any silhouette, and tweeds to stand the test of time.
Design for the Empowered Woman
Ron David’s line is meant to be for a whole person. A shop is a place where one can build a wardrobe by adding pieces over time. He is inspired by the strong women he has designed for in the past. When in his shop, you’ll hear him mention making pieces that make his mother feel fabulous and fit a variety of body types.
It’s also clear that he cares for his clients. A few minutes in the store and a number of people he’d built relationships with over the years since first launching his pop-up space stop-in obsessed with his brand. He says he thinks of them when he designs, “oh, this would be good for. . .” When he describes the clients that inspire him, they are all strong women who own their style. That feeling of boldness and confidence transfers to the wearer of his pieces.
A Transformative Retail Space
Creating the Ron David retail space required as much care and attention to detail as any of his designs. Stopping into the shop feels like entering a community of the people who inspire him most. His friends stop by just to catch up about their weekends. You’re also likely to find out-of-town admirers of the brand and high-profile female leaders who ascribe to Ron David’s aesthetic and commit to supporting local African-American entrepreneurs.
Carefully curating his retail space is a part of Ron David’s goal to create a brand that everyone can feel a part of. With intense nostalgia, he recalls his first experience falling in love with a retail space—a now-closed, formerly well-curated luxury vintage store off U St. in DC. With unconventional hours, Ron David said he “nibbled” on the space, always vying for an opportunity to drop in and dreaming about finding something like a perfect vintage Valentino to buy. It wasn’t just the products on offer at Dr. K’s; shopping there was an experience, and taking a piece home was bridging the experience into your daily life.
Ron David has captured and expanded a similar effect in his retail space. With comfortable chairs and a lounge space in the back, it feels like a spot you can hang out. One can really take time to appreciate the designs, take in the choices, and learn from Ron David’s styling expertise. The layout opens up the possibility of conversation between fellow shoppers.
The Ron David World
Ron David remembers his clients and is gracious in introducing people to each other. He describes his aim as creating a niche to attract all the fashion girls and make the shopping experience feel luxurious. However, he also structured a space where he adeptly uses fashion to bring people together—a feat not to undervalue in an industry and a city with a history of doing just the opposite.
Words by Emma Voigt
If reading this made you fall in love with Ron David too…
In addition to visiting him at his Union Market Studio, you can also find a curated collection of Ron David designs in Georgetown at The Spa at the Four Seasons Hotel Washington or Shop the brand Online.
You can also join his super-exclusive members-only Social Club at Ron David Studio, just outside DC! Set in a beautifully renovated residence designed by Ron David himself, the Social Club features private workspaces, a photo studio, a lounge, elite event spaces, and even overnight guest rooms for luxury extended stays or multi-day hosting.