No.3 magazine talked via zoom with the entrepreneur about Rossario George, keeping up with the latest trends, and his first showing at NYFW 2021.
Tony Vincente is on the verge of something big. Not only is his fashion line, Rossario George, on the cusp of gaining the traction it deserves, but the designer has been making moves with his leadership and entrepreneurial skills that led him from venturing out of his birthplace, New York City’s Upper West Side, and landing him in Seattle. “I wanted to try something different. I had every intention of coming back to Manhattan, but I fell in love and here I am twenty years later still in Seattle,” Vincente says. “I’m bringing that New York sensibility to Seattle through my designs and my attitude.”
Tell us about yourself and your upbringing in fashion.
It started out pretty young on the Upper West Side. My mother used to take me out shopping with her. The very first time I went shopping for myself was at Versace. That moment really stuck with me and loved high fashion ever since.
You began your career as a painter and in interior design.
I started out with my small business, Vincente Living. It was all based on my paintings that I used to do. Then a company called Shop Vida reached out to me. They loved what they saw and wanted me to become a designer for them. I became one of their top designers. From there, I realized if I’m doing top designs for a company, then why not do it for myself? Then that’s when Rossario George came about.
You study fashion in college, which is surprising, yet inspirational.
I have a Bachelors Degree in Organizational Psychology. Outside of the fashion world, I am a director of a major telecommunications company. I’m glad I didn’t go to school for fashion. I tried a little bit at FIT, but wasn’t ready yet. I modeled, but the environment scared me then because it was very back biting. There were a lot of things behind the scenes I wasn’t ready to see. I was very young. I just decided it wasn’t for me. Now, almost in my 50s, I’m very well grounded and know what I want and what I want for my company. Things are vastly different from that young man that tried to dip his toe into that environment to that seasoned individual that who is now willing to take the world by storm their way. I’m glad I waited.
You’ve branched out to make up, shoes, and accessories. Why?
I thought that life should be as beautiful as possible. Being in marketing for so long, I always see marketing opportunities in everything I do. When I first started doing clothing, I wanted a cohesive look from head to toe. It just became a lifestyle brand. I don’t want to be just a clothing designer; I want to be a designer of life.
Part of my five-year plan is to have my own retail store. I see people are closing up shop, but when things turn around, I want to see Rossario George kind of like a Macy’s. Our signature line would be our signature brand that exists. I want to create a shopping experience and environment that people are familiar with, but not quite doing at the moment.
How does fashion rebound from the Coronavirus?
I know it seems like we are never going to get out of this, but we are. There are definitely going be new retailers. People like me, who took this time to not falter. You have to have a strong social presence. People who have done the work will be stronger at the end. This pandemic humbled everybody. It’s only a matter of time.
Your clothing line is very comfortable, but luxurious. Would you agree?
Absolutely, that’s what I love about Rossario George. There should be no reason why they can’t be both. We use top materials and we also changed the price points so it’s more affordable. I use the same factory as Christian Louboutin. I know there’s unlimited mark ups on one designer’s end. I don’t want to be that way. I want everyone to be able to enjoy Rossario George. You can still be proud of a brand without making it so expensive that is out of reach to everyone. Like I mentioned before, life is beautiful. I want to make that possible for everybody. That is why our clothing, shoes, and beauty is always attainable for anyone who wants to feel their most beautiful.
You were quoted for wanting to make the world a better place. What was that in reference to?
As we grow, so does our humanitarian efforts. I would love to have a Rossario George Foundation, where, God forbid, if there was another pandemic like today, it’s our organization that would help individuals get inoculated. Something to continue to help the world.
What would you be doing if you were not in fashion?
Director and Marketing of Social Media. Social media is my second love. I know how to communicate with people effectively. It translates into sales and that translates into trust. Being raised in NYC and being raised by a mom who believed that you are educated and get the most out of your life, I wanted to have my own company. I didn’t want to be someone who was just going to work. When I retire,
I can sit back and enjoy what I built.
What’s next for you?
We are showing for our very first time for NYFW in September. We are constantly enhancing our lines—we are growing with the heartbeat that where we are each day. I just submitted our accolades to Leaping Bunny for cruelty free certification as well.