Designer/Owner: Ron Finley
Since: 1985
Product: Custom clothing, denim, athletic wear
Address: PO Box 3664 Beverly Hills, CA 90212
Telephone: 323.737.3337 Fax: 323.737.1743
"I see fashion without gimmicks or hype. My designs are innovative classics that are versatile and fashion forward. To design for the human form you must have an understanding of the architecture of the body and, above all, your customer."

Straightforward and smoldering with creative energy, Finley has established a line that garners attention for its distinctive style and custom tailoring. By cleverly balancing raw, urban flair and classic traditional lines, Finley brings edge and flawless craftsmanship to his line, creating denim designs that are as beautifully constructed as his couture garments.

Not the usual design school graduate, Finley's training originated in his own South Central neighborhood where the bold 70s film fashions at the local theaters first sparked his interest and impressed the masses. "Superfly, The Mack, Cleopatra Jones .... were like icons," recalls Finley. "[And] the clothes in Coffy, Cotton Comes to Harlem - we wanted to emulate that... But to get the true essence of it all it had to be tailor made."

Too young to afford the services of a tailor, Finley set out to make his own clothes. After a night school class at Los Angeles Trade Technical School, Finley was soon designing clothes for himself and friends to wear to their formals, parties and senior breakfasts. Then as a high school senior he won a scholarship to study tailoring at Trade Tech.

After studying at Trade Tech, Finley worked "more jobs than the Fugitive," gaining experience "doing everything from sample cutting, to designing, to making patterns at companies like Organically Grown, Barco Uniform, Frankenstein Shirts." This would ultimately be the training ground for DROPDEAD. Collecxcion - teaching him what to do and what not to do. While working, Finley cultivated his custom clientele, which had originated in his high school days. This would often entail him leaving his 9 to 5 to complete garments for his personal customers. "I would literally sew the stuff myself. A lot of people who call themselves designers think it's beneath them. I took pride in knowing that I could sew." It is precisely this hands-on approach that has earned Finley a reputation for quality craftsmanship and an ability to design clothing that fits the African¬American physique and women with curves.

In the 80s Finley introduced a commercial mail-order line of sportswear.
Its success enabled him to finance the first DROPDEAD. couture collection and soon after DROPDEAD. Collecxion was selling to select department stores and boutiques Neiman Marcus, Nordstrom's, Saks Fifth Avenue and Cache.