I was born Ronnie E. Escalante Jr. to Ellanor Eugenio and Ronnie Escalante Sr. on November 1, 1978 in San Jose, San Miguel, Bulacan, Philippines. I have 2 siblings one older and younger, all boys. I started getting into Fashion when at seven years old.
Every month my Mom would always buy these fashion magazines and at a really young age I would be right beside her flipping through the pages. It was the first time I saw Fashion Illustrations, I didn’t know what they were but I thought they were so beautiful. So once i started school, I just started sketching on my free time or sometimes during class at the back of my notebook.
My Mom would often tell me to stop wasting paper. She would often have to buy new noteboks because I would just sketched and sketch. Normally I would create a story like she’s a Queen or a Princess, because the fashion magazines that my Mom has would always feature these amazing gowns, decorated with embroideries, lace and beads. Thats why I am so familiar in using these details. And designing dresses is so easy for me, it could be cocktail or red carpet/evening gowns.
I somewhat excelled in my Home Economics class. We had embroidery projects, beading, at one point we made shorts which we sewed by hand. My teachers would sometimes ask me, “Would you like to compete in a embroidery competition?”, I was like “Aren’t they only for girls?”, I always declined.
Nobody really taught me what Fashion was all about at a really young age, but I just knew I love to sketch and design. We grew up somewhat poor and I remember getting so excited when my Grandma whose living here in the US would send me clothes and shoes that are made here in the US.
I graduated high school when I was 16, and my brother asked me “Do you want to be a Dentist or a Computer Engineering major?”. I end up choosing to be a Computer Major student. There’s no Fashion Schools there at that time, I realized that you have to fly to New York City or Europe to study Fashion. And my family cannot afford to send me to NYC or Europe if I want to study Fashion
When I turned 17, my Mom told me “Were moving to America!” and I was like “When?”, then she said in two months. I thought about staying, my older brother was left behind because he was 21 at the time, at his age he has to re-apply. I cant forget seeing my brother crying at the airport when we left for the US.
We arrived in San Francisco Int’l Airport, at that time we end up staying with my Uncle’s house in San Jose, CA. A year and a half later, I decided to join the US Navy, I did not tell my family 2 weeks before i left for bootcamp. It was somewhat a little bit of a selfish move but I have a reason. I wanted to travel, explore the world, and also the Navy gave me some money for college. I got stationed in Norfolk, VA after bootcamp and navy school. You grew up quick and just the whole experience was amazing! You also meet a lot of people and experience culture and food. I was still in active service when 9/11 happened and that told a story what I will be going thru for my last 9 months in service. It was very sad and an emotional final tour in the navy. I got out after my 4 years of active service and decided to go back to school.
I moved down to Jacksonville, Florida to goto business school. I started looking for a job first and I end up landing a Asst. Builder job building track homes for a big home building company. I also took a job bartending a couple of nights a week at a local bar. Two years later and a really bad farmers tan from my job;) My mom asked me to go back home and go finish college. So i packed up all my things, drove across the US and enrolled at Academy of Art in San Francisco to pursue my dream, to be in Fashion (BFA Fashion – Womenswear) and to hopefully build an empire one day.
At my senior collection I won the coveted internship at Chado Ralph Rucci for their Fall Winter 09 collections and then went to Zac Posen for their next Spring Summer Collections. I was also recruited back in college to design for Abercrombie and Fitch, I postponed the job offer because of my internship and later was approached again if I still would love to work for them. So i packed everything and I moved to Columbus, Ohio where their headquarters are located. I worked in the Female Outerwear Department in my whole almost 2 years working with them. I learned everything from developing fabric, washes, treatments, developing patterns and prints, trim development and sourcing, etc. That job taught me the business side, the real world of fashion and who our target customer is