Ramy Brook just wants to make women feel beautiful – and that’s exactly how it feels to wear her clothes. “Sexy, sophisticated and timeless,” the New York-based mother of three started her eponymous label after a never-ending quest for the perfect going out top. Of course, she couldn’t find one that wasn’t either cheesy or completely unaffordable, so she started making them herself. A ton of tops – and seven years – later, Ramy Brook has become one of the city’s most exciting lifestyle brands. From a recent collaboration with supermodel Martha Hunt, to an expanding range of dresses, jackets and eventually, accessories, the label only continues to grow.
Tell me about the brand. Why did you decide to start it?
In the beginning of 2010, I found myself shopping a lot and looking for a sexy, simple, solid top that I could wear with all of my jeans — really make it my own — but I could never find any. So, I decided I was going to learn how to do it myself and start my own business. I basically asked anyone I knew who was involved in fashion for advice and help, and within 6-10 months, I developed 6 sexy tops and one very short dress, then started having trunk shows — pretty much anywhere I had a friend, we had a show. Finally, a buyer from Bergdorf’s saw some of my designs and bought a bunch of them. So, I really jumped right into and had to learn everything quickly.
Did you have any sort of design background?
Not at all. But growing up, my mother used to make all of our clothes. She was a teacher, but she loved fashion, and a lot of our weekends were spent shopping for different patterns and fabrics. So, it’s something I’ve always been super passionate about. I just love getting dressed up and thinking about what I’m going to wear. So, I guess you could say I’ve had a lifetime of training — but definitely nothing formal.
How would you describe your design aesthetic?
I always use three words to describe the brand: it’s sexy, sophisticated and timeless. Whenever I would look for sexy tops, so many of them would be so cheesy. So, I always want to make sure my tops are sexy, but still sophisticated. Being timeless is important to me, too, because when I would go through my closet, I’d constantly be getting rid of clothes that were trendy, but not well-made. So, I wanted to make sure that whatever I made would be able to stick around for a couple of seasons and fit really well, with great quality.
Walk me through your design process. How do you go from inspiration to a finished piece?
First, the design team puts all of our inspiration photos into a folder. Then I really start to think about, ‘Where am I going? What do I want to wear? What’s appropriate? If I’m going to a school function what do I want to wear that could also look good when I go out to dinner? If I’m going to work, what can I wear so that I can also meet my friends at happy hour?’ In my head, Ramy Brook is really a lifestyle brand — we make clothes for women to wear all of the time.
You recently did a collaboration with Martha Hunt. How does she represent the Ramy Brook girl?
The beauty of Martha is that she really is happy, sexy and strong, and she’s really comfortable with who she is. That’s the Ramy Brook girl.
What do you want women to take away from wearing your clothes?
The biggest thing for me is for women to feel good about themselves. No matter what you look like or what size you wear, it’s really important that when you wake up, you feel confident and good about yourself — that’s what I want women to feel when they wear my clothes. Whether it’s just walking around the street, or going to a party; whether it’s a date night or just simply going to your kids soccer game — happiness is the end goal for me and the clothes can help you get there.
If you could pick one woman to wear Ramy Brook, who would it be?
That’s a loaded question! But it’s funny because I walked into my store today with my daughter and Cindy Crawford was there. She’s great,and a big fan of the brand. So, what would be really fun for me would be to have her and her daughter wearing it together. I just love that mother daughter connection, and it shows how all women, no matter their age can feel beautiful in Ramy Brook.
What do you see for the brand going forward?
It’s really just the beginning for us. Right now, we’re truly an emerging company. What started as a few sexy shirts for myself because I couldn’t find any, has moved into a full brand. I just want to continue building that.
Photography by Sebastian Faena & Lloyd Stevie