"His work has really matured and grown throughout the years. I just love it right now," said James, who plans to attend the New York City show. "It's really great to see people from Baltimore pushing themselves, leaving here and going to the next level. ... He's going to keep going to the next level, no matter what."
Manish Singh, the owner of Victor Rossi, the Stevenson-based design house that attracts international and domestic clients, met Cromartie a couple of years ago. The two keep in contact and talk about navigating through the fashion industry.
"I wanted him to learn from the many, many mistakes I made along the way, because everyone who starts any business is bound to make mistakes," Singh said. "I felt it was my duty to help him build a foundation of what I truly believe could become a super brand, his eponymously named brand."
Singh said he's not surprised by Cromartie's quick rise.
"Not only is he talented beyond his years, he is very disciplined, very humble, ambitious yet very pragmatic, and he sets short- and long-term goals for himself," Singh said. "I have no doubt that he will emerge as a major success story in the near future."
Bishme Rajiv Patrick Cromartie
Education: 2010 graduate of Reginald F. Lewis High School in Hamilton
How he got started: He started sketching at 7. He made clothes for his action figures from socks and shirt sleeves. At 9, his aunt taught him how to sew. He taught himself everything else from books.
Notable appearances: Featured in Vogue Italia and Elle Vietnam in 2011; his designs were worn by Ashanti and her backup dancers during her "Good Morning America" appearance in February.
Influences: Nina Ricci — "I love what she's able to do with fabrics." Alexander McQueen — "I have his logo tattooed on my arm. I love him. I've studied this man's work from when he was an intern."
Online: bishmercromartie.com and twitter.com/b_cromartie
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