Ridgefour Clothing [Interview]
Ottawa, ON – After only a year and a half, Ridgefour Clothing have already built a solid reputation for themselves and in the process they are making a refreshing impact on Ottawa’s fashion scene. Jay C and Miller have been friends for over 13 years, growing up in a small rural town just outside of Ottawa. As both had a strong love for snowboarding and knew contacts within the fashion industry, they decided to create Ridgefour Clothing.
This growing clothing line has a goal of making something for everyone. “We’re trying to bring together different people from different backgrounds,” says Miller, one of the founders of the clothing line that is really starting to make its mark here in Ottawa. “In the city, you have lots of divided groups and I think Ridgefour pretty much squashes that theory.”
These two, along with the other members of their solid team Heath Day and Jamie Arseneault, have been hard at work for the last year and a half trying to create distinctive, one of a kind gear. “A big part of it is just eliminating the cliques,” says co-founder Jay C. When asked how he feels about the current fashion scene in Ottawa, Jay C asserts, “just because it’s a small city, it doesn’t mean we don’t know what’s up.”
They’ve teamed up with the crew at Norml, a booming clothing store in the downtown market. Owner Yann Darevic has helped the team build up a solid reputation for setting the bar in casual fashion. “You can see the influence Norml has in this city, and we are honored to have our line in his store,” says Miller.
They have a great team working together with different designers such as Kid SL (Taktikal Design) and Skron. Jay C’s graphic design experience along with Miller’s business sense make these two unstoppable. “Our designs are always made with a reason, like our skateboard and snowboarding backgrounds, these are interests that we take part in,” says Jay C. It’s clear these boys thrive on being unique, “Nobody wants to go to school and have the same shirt as your buddy in class,” says Miller.
Their influences come from day-to-day life experiences and activities or music they enjoy. “We’re going to determine on our own what’s hot or not,” says Jay C, who mentions San Francisco designer Benny Gold as one of his personal influences. If they’re not rocking their own designs, they both sport labels such as Burton, Lifetime, Special Blend, 10 Deep, Crooks and Castles, and Fall Down Clothing; another local line. Ridgefour respects some larger companies such as LRG, who blew up huge after doing bookings from a hotel room in Las Vegas during the Magic fashion trade show.
When faced with the question of how far geographically they want to take their line, they say it’s all in time. “It’s baby steps; we’re in no rush, we do this because we like to do it,” says Miller. Ultimately, they do want to move on and market themselves in bigger cities like Montreal and Toronto but for now are happy with building their name in Ottawa.
When asked to define success, they both have the same answer- Happiness. “It’s about loving what you do and not feeling like you’re doing a job.” These two have a great realness and honesty about them that makes them approachable and easy to work with. They’ve even taken part in charity work. For example, they helped out with an event called the City Chase that raises funds for the Kid’s Foundation. “We’re more than willing to do any kind of charity work,” says Jay C.
As far as advice for other people trying to break out in the fashion industry, they say it’s all about being a year ahead. “Stay on top of it, have money to start, and don’t let there be any gaps with your work,” says Jay C. Miller quotes a famous line, ”If you fail to plan, you plan to fail.” These boys are definitely on top of it all and are far from failing.
You can find Ridgefour clothing on their website and exclusively at Norml. They have come out with shirts, sweaters, and dresses and are always creating more. They say you can expect to soon see hats, scarves, hoodies and they’re working on creating golf and snowboarding bags as well. On a personal side, Jay C comments, “I’m working real hard on the cut and sew thing, so don’t be surprised if next year I have some denim coming out.”
The Ridgefour boys are on the path to success and they wanted to shout-out the various people they’ve been building with including DeeJay Frame, Skron, Yann, Norml staff, Kid SL, DZ, Dylan D., Threesixty, Fall Down Clothing, Jim and Barb at Accent, Arse, Heath, and Begg.
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