Stylist Ronald Smith on How the Tech Industry Influenced Fashion

Stitched custom blazer and dress shirt designed by Smith; Robert Talbott tie; Tallia trousers; Mezlan loafers; Edward Armah pocket square; Wims & Co. lapel. | Photo by Jon Estrada

Stitched custom blazer and dress shirt designed by Smith; Robert Talbott tie; Tallia trousers; Mezlan loafers; Edward Armah pocket square; Wims & Co. lapel. | Photo by Jon Estrada

How long have you worked in fashion?
I’ve been getting paid since the summers of high school in the mid to late ’80s, but I’ve always had an unconscious interest in fashion. I worked in retail as a stock person in a relatively high-end store. I had no interest in working in an office environment. I wanted to be able to get nice clothes and make money at the same time, and because of the lack of income in our family, paying for my own clothes was ideal.

How do your roots impact your look?
Because of the way I dress, people immediately know I’m not from the West Coast. I’m originally from Rockville, Maryland, just outside of D.C. I own a raincoat and an umbrella. When the Vegas winter comes, people here still wear flip-flops. Why not wear some boots and a coat? We don’t appreciate the change in season—the changes in color, fabric. And it’s men who miss the boat a lot of time.

How do you feel about contemporary dress, considering you have such a classic sensibility?
It’s a theory that I have: The microchip has killed the well-dressed man. Maybe it’s a book I will write one day. When we started going to the age of technology, everybody went to casual Fridays, which IBM was really behind. For example, Zappos is one of the greatest companies to come to Vegas, but there is no dress code. If you’re in IT, do you dress up? Tech hindered the [fashion] cues for professional people.

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