Talkin' Fresh: Chicago's influential designer, Ron Louis of Phera Co.
Written by Greg Harris
Although Modern Life has always been a platform that normally focuses on the aspect of music and the individuals that make things work behind the artists putting out fire projects, it’s important to pour that same focus into the way we highlight the individuals that’s making some of the freshest threads in the game at the moment.
That being said, we wanted to bring folks into the life and hustle of one of Chicago’s brightest designers that’s making a change beyond the borders of The Windy City. This would be none other Chicago’s own Ron Louis, the owner of Phera Co. , which is a growing fashion brand that’s been draped on the likes of Valee, Dreezy, King Louie, and many other Chicago acts that’s emerging throughout this year. Giving his simplistic but bold direction when it comes to his designing skills, it was only a must that we feature him on MLM.
In our latest Talkin’ Fresh interview, we had the chance to speak to him about being a designer in Chicago, working with different artists in the city, the indie fashion grind, and more.
Check out the new interview below.
How’s Your Modern Life?
It’s pretty good in a great space right now
What are three things you have to do when you first wake up?
I read, check schedule & social media, hygiene
Growing up, how would you describe your upbringing?
My upbringing was good but tough I grew up on the south side and family had some street ties I was connected to. Overall though I had a diverse upbringing.
Coming from Chicago, what were some unique style influences that grew in the city that influenced the way you saw the art of design?
Heavily influenced by the come up era of Don C, Virgil, Kanye, Bump J etc. Those guys ran things from music to fashion within city and influence is still strong and present to this day. I saw a group of black men work together and push the culture forward in their respected mediums.
Living in Chicago,it’s a unique style that separates itself part from other cities in the country. What do you think separates Chicago style from everywhere else?
Chicago is the most segregated city in America point blank. The cons of that is detrimental as far as the maze like effect it has had on us over the years. That same system created unique styles and culture from each side of city giving us a ton of diversity. Our gang culture is unique as well and politicians etc that makes this place feel somewhat cursed. All of these things make Chicago very different. They say the most creative people come from messed up situations so our environment is forcing people to get creative in order to make it out.
Growing up, who were some people in the space of fashion and design did you look up to?
I honestly didn’t start paying attention to fashion and design until my later years. I was always designing and changing things but didn’t have definition to what I was doing. I looked up to artists like Pharrell, Kanye, Henbru Brantley, and Vashtie Kola though.
During your start, I seen you were doing custom designs for Dreezy and King Louie. During that phase of your designing career, what were some do’s and don’ts you learned that helped you the way you design and conduct business today?
Yes, that’s family! I learned really to always be ready for projects even if celebrity clients aren’t doing anything specific have products ready for them regardless. I also learned to stay professional at all times when it comes to your craft even if you are friends etc when it come to work be on top of your business! Also watch out for those trying to use you to get to celebrity clients.
In the space of fashion, it’s a lot of people who don’t necessarily speak on the business of the expertise. How do you feel like the business of fashion has evolved and how do you feel like you capitalized on that being a independent designer?
Great question, I can be wrong but I feel like fashion is a lot more free and loose than it used to be. With the internet you can be anybody to a fault. This has effected every market including fashion. You no longer need to go certain schools to make a living off of fashion. Streetwear is leading and I’m definitely taking advantage of this factor. I went to school and studied etc but I’m still open to the future of design and fashion.
“Our gang culture is unique as well and politicians etc that makes this place feel somewhat cursed. All of these things make Chicago very different. They say the most creative people come from messed up situations so our environment is forcing people to get creative in order to make it out.”
Your work with Valee has certainly pushed the new age of Chicago culture forward. The cross-branding has been brilliant and expansive in a way where it’s led to new opportunities. How do you feel like your recent work has helped change the style scene in The Windy City?
Thank you for that truly. I’m not exactly sure how my impact is I definitely see the influence coming from us but the focus is to push ourselves and hope the things we are doing will push Chicago culture and the world in a positive light.
Your brand, Phera was made on accident and the basis of the brand is making things inclusive with both men and women expressing their individuality. How important was you to make it inclusive to both genders in the creative space?
Equality is important to me in general. Especially between genders we need each other in order for this life thing to work and worth it. The least I wanted to do was create cool products for both genders.
Beyond your recent bodies of work, how do you want to elevate Phera in the coming years?
Just really push the boundaries of my ability I honestly feel like I haven’t even tapped into the level of work I want to put out. I’m just taking my time and waiting for the right moments to showcase what Phera actually is about.
On a personal level, how do you feel like your path has allowed you to elevate as a creative and what are ways you look into getting better at your craft?
I can’t turn this thing off (my brain) so I literally have to create and do some of my ideas to sleep easy at night most of the time. I feel like it’s built into me. My friends and people around me are also pushing so that helps motivate me to either keep up or do better.
For those who are starting out brands + companies independently, what are pieces of advice you can offer to those who are trying to come up like you?
Figure out first what exactly you want to do and how can you bring something new to the lane you’re going in. Not an easy question to ask yourself but don’t feel pressured to answer right away just keep that in mind as your try things to build your brand or company. Once you think you’ve figured it out I say “think” loosely because it’ll change as you grow , stick to that and remember why you are working so hard let that lead you. Find purpose and link with individual with similar goals.
What are three things you want to accomplish before the year is over?
Pop ups and activations, hit my financial goal, and network as much as possible with the right people for Segway into 2019.
When it’s all said and done, how do you want to be remembered?
25 year old Ron Louis wants to be remembered as a legend.