It is never too late to seek what your heart truly desires. Just ask Ron Chereskin.
CFDA: The Cutty Sark, Coty, and Woolmark award-winning menswear designer recently returned to his roots – the art world – where, in 1967, he first made his mark with the illustrated “Love Some Day” artwork, which is part of the permanent collection at New York City’s Museum of Modern Art.
In the 1980s, his artwork has reappeared in design and fashion collections, keeping Chereskin’s passion for his art alive. After his significant contributions to American fashion, Chereskin has taken a leap of faith to attend the Arts Student League.
He remembers how his love for art blossomed.
“My oldest brother art directed for 25 years at Estee Lauder,” Chereskin recalled. “His mentorship was a great influence on my career, and still is in a big way. It led to the Art Students League in New York, where I am currently at. It is an amazing challenge, yet I am very excited to be back where it all started.”
This past February, Chereskin won the distinguished Red Dot Award at the Art Students League. Today, he is fully focused on art and silk screening, gaining new artistic technique to amplify his illustrations. It’s not an entirely new world for him. Before crossing over into fashion, he had worked as an illustrator for books, magazines, and advertisements, and that is how he was discovered.
“A tie manufacturer asked, ‘Do you want to put your illustrations on a tie?’ I did it,” he recalled. “It was another medium to expose my artwork.”
He took steps to intertwine fashion and illustration, creating his own blueprint in fashion and impacting the world of art.
“I got into fashion through the back door as an illustrator,” he said. “Yet I believe that I made contributions to menswear. With my art training, I introduced pastel colors to menswear, it was incredible. At the time, a lot of men’s clothing were dark colors like black and gray.
“When you are young, you reach for your biggest visions and what you feel regardless if it is well received,” he added. “My illustrations in fashion did not just work, but my artwork was explosive as people responded very well.”
His visions of art allowed him to produce successful menswear collections.
“I pour my art background into collections and products for people who I thought were in search of newness,” Chereskin said. “You see, look at all the graphics on fabrics now. It was a very exciting moment in fashion. There were more fashion retailers and fashion coordinators looking for new ideas. Yet there are opportunities all over the place today as well.”
Decades later, designers like Shanel Campbell of Bed On Water and Colm Dillane of KidSuper are just a couple of examples of designers who intertwine art and fashion. The industry’s competitiveness pushes designers to find ways to elevate their storytelling.
Chereskin had a different motivation.
“I just wanted to go back to my roots and study art,” he said. “To walk back into that school and take on silk screening after 30 odd years is very challenging but I am pushing through it. It is true, you can start a new journey. Here I am in full swing of a new career. I am not turning away from fashion, but I am focused on art.”
He is still inspired by artists who were just as impactful and urges youth to put their passion first.
“I love a lot of artists,” he said. “American graphic designer Milton Glaser who inspired me. He had Push Pin Studios; his brilliance was a great influence on me.”
As for advice for young people looking to make it, Chereskin offered this: “Be innovative. I think the biggest mistake young people make is that they walk away from their passion instead of sticking to it. If you believe in something, keep pushing through. Believe me, it is going to happen.”
And instead of becoming discouraged, stay grounded in your passion and what you desire for yourself.
“Of course, it is very easy to walk away,” he said. “But if you are passionate about the message you have, then you will see it through. I encourage young people to do something they love. If you love it, you will be successful. Otherwise, it’s just a job.”
After elevating men’s style aesthetics with the use of colors, Chereskin now intends to bring more color through his original artistry. He is thrilled to continue his education to make a new mark in the art world. “With my illustrations and silk screening, I will show the world it is possible to master what you have never done,” Chereskin stated.
“Whether you are younger or older, you have to take a leap of faith,” he said. “I am just sorry that I took this long, yet I know it is not ever too late. Of course, people know who I am in fashion because of what I have accomplished. Now I will be known as a true artist too.”