Sebastian “Tatan” Ramirez has done what is the dream of many individuals. He has become his own boss. As the founder of DiRocco Eyewear, the first brand to produce eyewear frames made of carbon fiber, Tatan has made a lot of himself from the short time he has been in New York. We met with the dapper looking entrepreneur in Soho, New York, to hear his take on business, entrepreneurship and most importantly, fashion.
First things first – What is your education?
I went to college for industrial engineering. I was always that kid in class drawing, I was very into creativity, art and music. When I finished engineering, I realized that it wasn’t really what I wanted to pursue. I wanted to be in the creative field, and that has lead me to where I am today. However, the engineering has help me put order into this messy and colorful creative side.
So what is your actual profession? What do you do?
I am the founder of DiRocco Eyewear. However, in reality, as an entrepreneur, you are the janitor, the creative director and the president. If you need something done then you can only rely on yourself. You can distribute responsibility to your team, but if someone does not follow through, then you will have to follow through for them, because at the end of the day, it is your name on the line, and you always want to make sure that it is perceived the right way. I do primarily spend my time exploring how we can create a product, that is innovative, stylish, not just fashionable, and that makes the receiver feel something when they see it, all the way from a product, to the presentation of a company.
How did the idea of DiRocco Eyewear come about?
I was in the motor sports field, designing performance pieces for super cars, and I worked with carbon fiber, so I had experience with this material. Then I got diagnosed with glaucoma, an eye disease that can eventually make you blind. I freaked out about not being able to see, but then I started thinking about how I could bring together all these components that was central in my life; the style, and the material, and most importantly my eyes. It all came together, and became DiRocco Eyewear, the name coming after something else that is very important to me. DiRocco is my wife’s maiden name, and with her only having sisters, the name dies with their generation. I want it to live on through our company.
A lot of individuals in New York start up their own business. It’s a tough market, and a big leap. What made you jump?
I guess when you have that entrepreneur spirit, there’s really no other choice for you. It’s your nature, not something you actively decide; it almost seems riskier not to do it, because the reward it less if you don’t make it happen. It is risky for you, and your personal happiness to keep a hunger like that suppressed. It stops the natural progression of who you are. Most importantly, I believe in what we are doing, and why we do what we do. All this, combined with diligence and persistence, will equal success.
You always look very dapper and stylish; why is style important to you?
Style helps you dictate how other people perceive you. For the people I interact with, and people I care for, I see it as good manners to dress well. I also don’t want to leave any room for interpretation on their end when it comes to how they perceive me. Style should be my way of telling them.
Can you mention some basic rules of style that all men should follow?
If you follow the rules without knowing the meaning of them, then you are in danger of becoming a snob, and that is the last thing I would want to be.
The only real rule that should always be followed is to be weather appropriate. I’m not going to wear suit shorts and a t-shirt in the winter, or a thick tweed suit in the summer. It looks out of place.
What statement piece do you value most?
A part of me wants to call out the navy suit, but if I am going to bring it down to the most elemental thing, the white shirt is a clear winner. Nothing beats a white shirt. If you have to travel, and you have little space to pack, you will need an outfit that’s going to carry you over for the entire weekend. If you pack a white shirt, and you are careful about keeping it clean, you can wear this shirt three days in a row; with a tie, unbuttoned, with a different tie, then you get away with three entirely different looks. I try to buy five white shirts for each colored shirt that I buy.
Other than the classic white – what does your favorite shirt look like?
I enjoy a nice macro gingham shirt, maybe in navy or red, but yes; the white shirt is the most elemental and important shirt. I love the club collar, because it’s a little different. While it is, in my opinion, appropriate for the work place, it shows that you went the extra mile when you got your shirt. The cutaway collar is also a good collar, in the sense that it is versatile. Recently I have also grown to favor the Italian cuff, or “cocktail cuff”, which does not have cufflinks, but gives the same feel as a French cuff.
Get Tatan’s favorite shirts here:
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