It started so innocently. Ramy Brook Sharp and her family enjoyed regular outings to the Mall at Short Hills. Soon, the Chatham High School student was smitten. Not only with shopping, but with restyling her jeans and shortening her skirts. Years later (after all three of her own kids were in school), this mom morphed into a self-trained designer of alluring day-to-night fashion. Today, the Ramy Brook label is available at high-end retailers nationwide, as well as RamyBrook.com. We recently caught up with this talented tastemaker.
New Jersey Monthly: What inspired you to become a designer?
Ramy Brook Sharp: I always admired my fashionable mom, who bought McCall’s patterns and sewed clothes for my sisters and me. In high school, I began altering and bedazzling my clothes from the mall without realizing I was creating my own look.
NJM: When was your first big break?
RBS: I started my design business in 2010 by creating prototypes of six tops and one dress and then debuted them at a trunk show at my sister’s home in Short Hills. That gave me the confidence to do more shows around the country. Later that year, I was working with personal shopper Betty Halbreich, a legend at Bergdorf Goodman. She invited me to bring my small collection to her big corner office, and we laid everything out. By chance, Chelsea Handler’s stylist popped in, loved what she saw and bought a top for Chelsea. Soon after, Betty called her buyers, and Bergdorf’s placed their first order.
NJM: How has your business evolved?
RBS: I’m very fortunate that my label is sold nationwide, and soon I plan to go global. Bloggers and Instagram users around the world post images of my clothing, and it’s fun to see how they make each piece their own by tying a top differently or accessorizing in an unusual way. My first collection was exclusively silk. But now I design with wrinkle-resistant Japanese tech fabric as well as suede, leather, crepe, lace, studs and novelties.
NJM: And all this success started in New Jersey?
RBS: That’s right. I’m proud to be a Jersey girl and still like shopping here, especially since there’s no sales tax [on clothing]. My mother and sisters and I especially love Bloomingdale’s in Short Hills. We always order their frozen yogurt and then stop to check the racks for my collections. And sometimes I reorganize them—just a little.