Congratulations to Chane—his clothing lines are now represented by a New York showroom.
Like many college graduates, Ron Chane went to the big city in 1994 to find his way. What he discovered during his nine-month stint in New York City is that he would get lost instead. "I always kind of learned that the best way to find yourself is to go get lost. And that definitely worked for me," Chane recalls nostalgically while gazing over the city of Jackson from the roof of the newly renovated Fondren Corner building where he lives and works.
Chane absorbed as much creative energy from New York as he possibly could while sleeping on a couch in an apartment with five other roommates and trying to scrounge up enough money to eat. "There's so much creative going on there that it's overwhelming," Chane says. "If you're fascinated by it, you're trying to take in as much as you can, but when there's that much you just get so overwhelmed that you don't know how to be progressive with what you're learning. You've gotta take a little bit and let it marinate a little bit at a time while you're there."
Instead of wasting time trying to prove himself in The Big Apple, Chane took his "marinated" creativity and high-tailed it back to Jackson where he launched his own designs. "I knew [Jackson] was going to give me the focus I needed that I couldn't get in New York," Chane explains. And he was right. While returning to his roots, he eventually spawned three clothing stores, an original design line, and a soon-to-open studio called dwello, which will feature his own furniture creations. He was there from the beginning of the Fondren renaissance, and is now watching the creative contagion spread all around him, from his top-floor loft in the ultra-hip Fondren Corner.
How does he do it as a 33-year-old non-independently wealthy entrepreneur faced with a sagging economy and a slew of his teen customers sporting school uniforms this year? First, he tightens his own budget: "My only vice in life is eating and dreaming, and dreaming is free. I work all the time and don't have time to spend money." Next, he goes worldwide with five ebay stores and a new Web site (http://www.chane.com) opening in December to carry his products online. Success is already in the works.
Chane is proud to have several famous clients, such as musician Steven Tyler and comic Janeane Garofalo, who are buying his attitude-imbued T-shirts. "It helps to know that though I'm just a nobody to them, in a blind sense, they saw something in the creativity," Chane says.
Ironically, Chane flew back to New York at the end of September to meet with three high-profile showroom representatives/publicists about representing his T-shirt line, Chane/modsushi, which, he says, would be "the biggest dream come true."
He just might make it in New York after all—from the comfort of his studio in Jackson.