1st Annual NFDC
Thomas Ruffin – the name has been associated with streamlined style and signature craftsmanship since he created his first pair of men’s pants at age 15. As a child growing up in White Plains, N.Y., he’d taken note of his parents’ attention to detail when they’d dress up for evenings out. Their example fed his taste for fine fabric, quality craftsmanship, and most of all, his passion for great design. Ruffin aspired to apply his creativity to both men’s and women’s fashions, although he recognized he had a particular desire to elevate the standard of men’s fashion and has spent much of his focus doing so.
After deciding upon a career, Ruffin headed to New York City where he took classes at the Fashion Institute of Technology. He then moved to the nation’s capital to continue his studies in retail merchandising. There, he welcomed opportunities to work with a variety of local designers. The experience helped him foster the confidence to start his own small custom-clothing business. From that point, he became in-demand for numerous high-profile East Coast events, including the Congressional Black Caucus Fashion Show in which supermodel Iman strutted the catwalk in one of his distinctive creations.
Now operating as a couturier based in Raleigh, N.C., Ruffin takes pride in the individual touch that makes his work stand out. Fashion critics have remarked on his ability to employ draping, clean lines and expert craftsmanship with the strategic use of texture and understated, elegant details.
His mission is the same today as it was more than three decades ago when he set his heart on a vocation that allows him to do what comes naturally. Quite simply, it is to make sure that every individual who puts on a Thomas Ruffin F.N.O. garment sees and feels that it is a cut above the rest.
Photos courtesy of Thomas Ruffin