Syracuse designer Ron Funderburg, 27, is making a name for himself in the worlds of hip-hop and fashion. His Unico Re’ clothing line, which began in 2009, draws inspiration from the hip-hop lifestyle, with the motto, “Pay to See My Face.”
In 2006 Funderburg created The Franchise, a hip-hop/rhythm’n’blues outfit that played throughout Central New York. He also worked as a promoter for WWHT-FM 107.9 radio personality DJ Maestro. In 2007, he founded Love & Loyalty Records with his friend Christopher “Oxburg” Leonard, who still runs the label today. From there, he worked as an intern for several years at Bad Boy Worldwide, the record label founded in 1993 by rap artist Sean “Diddy” Combs.
“I’ve always had the passion for fashion, my whole life,” Funderburg said. “My mom, she always pushed me to go on the route I wanted.”
His mother encouraged him to pursue arts and crafts activities at a young age. “When I was younger my mom ran a program in the library,” he recalls. “We would all do different types of projects. With T-shirts, we’d rip them up and cut them; I really got into that. I always wanted to one day start my own line.”
Funderburg works for a local rental car company to provide funding for Unico Re. He is also seeking support for his line via a GoFundMe page. Funderburg’s products, which retail from $15 to $350, can be purchased by emailing: [email protected]. Some Unico Re’ items are handmade by Funderburg, but he also works with manufacturers in Syracuse and New Jersey.
Social media has also part of the success of Unico Re’, with the brand maintaining a presence on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and YouTube. Funderburg has plans to target urban centers such as Miami and Los Angeles. He hopes to transform the image of Unico Re’ from “an urban sort of line to something a little more upscale.”
His long-term goals also include kickstarting the careers of others: “I want to provide for my community and other people around the world, to create jobs where people can get to work and provide for their family.”
Even with his growing success, Funderburg sometimes is in disbelief of the attention he has received. “I never like to toot my own horn, but I never thought I’d make it this far,” he said. “I put a picture up last night on Facebook, and I had over a hundred people liking and commenting on one picture, supporting me. It’s just amazing to me. I’m in shock.”
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