When it comes to fashion, designers emphatically claim that women from Texas know how to work it best. From the distinctively bold to the conservatively quaint, the women of Texas, and especially Dallas, have attracted the upper echelon of the fashion industry for decades. The same attraction can account for the magnetic pull that our fair city has on up-and-coming designer Tyler Lewis. Inspired by her great grandfather, the architect Jan Ruhtenberg, her luxury designer handbag label bears the name Von Ruhtenberg.
We sat down with the young and talented designer, who opened up about her commitment to philanthropy and being inspired by the Dallas woman.
Without hesitation, Lewis is able to define why the Dallas market is essential for her brand. “I find women in Texas have a unique culture around dressing that is almost ceremonial,” she explains. “They honor the art of dressing, the time that it takes to dress, and the amount of choices one ought to have when doing so. I’m drawn to the women in Dallas, and Texas overall, because it feels like they still honor the age-old ritual of dressing. I want clients who value the art of building a look, piece by piece.”
As for those pieces, from gazelle adorned clutches to python embossed handbags, the Von Ruhtenberg collection exudes luxury and individual style. With prices ranging from $200 to upwards of $5,000, there’s something unique for every woman. Of special interest, customers are also encouraged to create custom handbags from a virtually endless array of python prints and dyes, and other textured materials. Adding more appeal to the array, Lewis has plans to introduce vegan leather into her collection very soon.
Along with the development of visually stimulating accessories, Von Ruhtenberg is heavily entrenched in philanthropy. Lewis continuously seeks new ways to develop charitable partnerships through the brand, as with her recent collaboration with the United Nations campaign Stop Rape Now.
The effort gained Hollywood momentum when spearheaded by A-list celebrity spokeswomen Charlize Theron and Nicole Kidman. Lewis partnered with the U.N. by personally meeting with representatives, and pledging profits from the sales of her Fall 2014 Collection. With each bag sold, the recipient received information on the campaign and how their purchase directly impacted the cause. Following the success of this recent partnership, Lewis plans to release a capsule jewelry collection that will inspire similar awareness.
As for plans to expand in Dallas, the Von Ruhtenberg collection will be introduced through private trunk shows, charity partnerships, and eventually into some of Dallas’ more popular boutiques. “Our intent is to have Von Ruhtenberg grow in a way that infuses our mission with spirit by connecting tastemakers, influencers, and entrepreneurs who have the power to make a difference,” Lewis concludes. “We want Von Ruhtenberg women to feel empowered by the spirit of a passionate mission and their own ability to provoke change.”
All images via Von Ruhtenberg. For more information, visit VonRuhtenberg.com.