Article & Interview by Zara Rawoof
Fashion and giving back are two of Tony Vincente’s favorite things. On October 1st, Vincente’s label Rossario George will throw the Rock & Rhinestones fashion benefit dedicated to both. The brand will unveil two of next year’s collections at the Snoqualmie Casino with all proceeds going to the iMiracle Project, a nonprofit dedicated to aiding Ukrainian refugees. Rossario George is dedicated to bringing its luxury ready-to-wear women’s clothing and shoes to the world at a reasonable price. From the mind of natural born artist Tony Vincente, these designs maintain a creative edge all while remaining elegant. Glossy pumps, dual-toned trench coats, and float maxis barely begin to cover the wide range of style essentials carried by Rossario George. But CEO Tony Vincente has no plans of slowing his roll.
Rossario George has graced the glossy pages of 75 different publications, leaving readers of Vogue, GQ, and Tatler in awe of their designs. While his brand accomplished a Vogue feature in its first year, Tony Vincente advises aspiring fashion designers to stay patient. “Rome wasn’t built in a day. Start small and you’ll be able to see your dreams get big,” Vincente urges. “Do your research. You want to make sure that you are as competitive as you can be in the environment that you want to be in.” Rossario George may have gotten its big break early on, but Vincente says that it took four years for his brand to truly find their identity.
It’s essential to have authenticity in the fashion world. Rossario George has always maintained an aesthetic that remains truly theirs. “ I think the fact that I am a gay, black business owner sets me apart. Mainly, it’s our affordable luxury. We don't overprice our products, but we use the same quality as other major fashion houses. We want to make sure everyone has the opportunity to enjoy everything that we produce. That's a major part of what makes us stand out. It's our luxury and quality but at an affordable price.”
Delivering quality while also keeping prices reasonable is the reason many businesses fail in the fashion industry. But with Tony’s team behind him, he feels they have all worked to help Rossario George blossom. “I have one of the best CFOs ever. He makes sure to really deep dive into what other competitors are doing. And I do have a fantastic team where everyone is always supportive. We are a true team. I believe I'm a strong believer and was taught that a good leader is a team member, not somebody who just barks orders. We listen to one another. It's a very cohesive environment. That makes Rossario George very different from a lot of companies. Not only that, but we're 100% remote. We want to make sure that our carbon footprint on the planet is as low as possible. What we can do, we do it at the comfort of our own home.”
Tony Vincente began his life of artistry with painting and home decorating. By the time Rossario George began, Vincente’s love for styling and creative direction led to working with the photographers that landed the brand in fashion’s biggest magazines. The designer has no actual formal fashion education, but spent his life exploring wherever his creativity took him. Trying his hand at everything, Tony has unkind memories from modeling life in the beginning. “ I had a not so great experience, but I didn't want that for any other individuals. And the only way to make that happen is to make change. Part of change is being in it. So here I am now in the fashion industry making my mark.” Tony treats his models far differently from how he felt he was in the past. Using shoots and campaigns as opportunities to represent a diverse group of people, Vincente emphasizes his delight in seeing how the fashion community lifts each other up. “One of the things I take pride in is during our bizarre Rossario George fashion shoots, we make it fun. To this day, every model who's ever worked for us continues to work with us. I call them my ‘RG queens’. I'm so proud of each and every one of them and I'm proud of the fact that they love our brand so much they keep coming back. Fashion should be fabulous. And most importantly it should be fun. And that's what Rossario George and I are bringing to the environment.”
Drawing and painting since childhood, the designer remembers his mom buying the comic books he would make as a part of his allowance. “My very first foray in fashion was my mom taking me to the Versace store, which was her favorite brand.” His creative instinct along with the support always felt by loved ones is what Tony accredits his success to. “Something that really pushes me is the memory of those who are no longer here, starting from my mother to the actual name of the company ‘Rossario George’, my partner's father. I always want to make those who are not with us proud. And I feel like their energy is pushing me to be creative and to think outside the box.” Tony feels guidance from up above in everything he does. In addition to the inspiration he feels from Gianni Versace and the glamorous Cindy Crawford, his stomping ground, New York City, will always be a muse. “What I’ve always loved about New York is that there's so many people from so many different areas and countries and races, and I've learned so many different things from each and every one of them. New York truly is a fantastic place for creativity and to be in that environment and know the people that I knew made it a magical time. It was a time when I was able to become me.”
The culmination of inspiring people and places that motivate Tony Vincente have led to the luxurious brand that Rossario George has become. But that’s not to say that they maintain their very own unique fashion DNA. “I don't believe in following trends. I've always followed my own path. I always select 8-10 colors that I want to utilize in the collection and just go forward from there. There are different angles and cuts that we're known for. I always make sure they're involved.” While RG is a womenswear brand for now, Tony Vincente has big plans for the label. With plans to expand further into beauty, menswear, and even the lifestyle industry, fans can incorporate Rossario George into every part of their routine. Tony has aspirations of reintroducing Rossario George’s homeline, with kitchen essentials that keep it classy. As the self-proclaimed fashionable foodie, cooking has always been an important part of Tony’s life. “It is so relaxing to make a fantastic meal for my family and friends. It's definitely something that I developed over time because as a child in New York City, I did not cook. Eventually, I taught myself how to make some fantastic meals. I love cooking with my partner because he's the best person to cook alongside and he's also great at it. We make fantastic meals together. And I just always found that being home is always an important part of me.”
Rock & Rhinestones will not be the first fashion show Rossario Geroge has thrown. At Los Angeles and North American Fashion Week in the past, RG has packed the house with the excitement their designs create. But Tony Vincente is adamant that this collection is the best one yet. “It makes me feel like I’m in this industry for a reason,” he says, reflecting on the designs for the 2023 collection. One line has a rock influence while the other is the 2023 Couture gowns. Live music will be performed from local bands, and Rossario Georgio’s face of 2023 will also be unveiled. For those who can’t make it, the event will be livestreamed as well.
Tony Vincente’s excitement for the upcoming benefit is infectious. Helping out a good cause while gaining exclusive access to the revelation of so many new Rossario George additions, this RG fashion show is the place to be on October 1st. It represents not only the brand, but the man behind it. Lifting others up while letting your creativity shine has always driven Tony Vincente. With so much under his belt already, there are no limits to what Rossario George will become.