Home » GLOBAL DESIGNER SPOTLIGHT » Global Designer Spotlight: Salvador da Bahia

Global Designer Spotlight: Salvador da Bahia


Roney George with one of his artistic works

Roney George creating one of his artistic works



Feminine Brazil created by this designer’s fusion of artistic elegance and the gravitas of history. 

By: Sarah J. Montoro

Salvador da Bahia, Brazil



At the time I had met Roney George at a coffee shop in Salvador, my entire Portuguese lexicon consisted of “door”, “thank you”, “shut up” and “cobble stone road”. I was painfully foreign and knew almost nothing about the city I would be calling home for the next two months. So when Roney leaned over to my table and said, “You don’t look like you’re from around here,” I was excited to meet someone who spoke my language and, after a bit of chatting, also turned out to be a kick-ass fashion designer and visual artist.



Later, Roney took me to his studio to show me what he had been working on. His style, both in painting and design, embodies the feminine Brazil, the spirit and history of the Northeast, and the rhythm of Bahia.


A few years ago Roney teamed up with fashion designer Otávio Sampaio to create two conceptual collections that feature Bahia’s beach life and hinterlands using Northeastern folklore, native flora, and its history of banditry. The Cangaceiros, a group of social outlaws who roamed the Northeast in the late 19th and early 20th centuries, are featured heavily in Roney’s work. Their portraits are beautifully hand-painted and silkscreened on skirts, blouses, and swimsuit pieces in both collections.



The Cangaceiros

The Cangaceiros



His designs have taken him around the world, bringing a taste of Brazil to places as far as South Africa, Portugal, France, Slovenia, Italy, and, most recently, the United States.  Here, Roney takes some time to talk with RAMP1885 about his work and the artistic relationship he shares with his homeland.



From the runways

Roney's collaboration with Otávio Sampaio on the runways


When we first met you were telling me about the richness of the art scene in Salvador, and I remember you mentioning that the cemetery in Barra is an inspiring place to paint and write. Are there any other places in Salvador that inspire you?

The neighborhood of Santo Antonio… I love that place.


Gorgeous swimwear

Gorgeous swimwear



Have you always lived in Salvador? Are there other places in Brazil that have influenced the visuals of your clothing collections?

I’m from a city in the interior of Bahia called Itapetinga but I came to Salvador when I was 17 years old. Salvador has a lot of influence in my work, but it’s more like looking at the world from the perspective of Salvador and understanding what’s happening around it. I love pop art for example, and it has a lot of influence on my work.






Are there any Brazilian fashion designers that have influenced your work?

The Cangaceiros. They were a very special social group here in Brazil. They used to create their own costumes and colored clothes by themselves and they were really beautiful! Even Luiz Gonzaga [the musician] and most people from that part of Brazil used to be identified by them.



If you Google “Roney George” your work often comes up under the title artes plásticas, which literally translates to “plastic artist.” Does this have something to do with the kind of paint you use, or do you work with other plastic mediums?

Haha… no, not really. Artes plásticas is what they call visual artists here in Brazil, but I do try to discover possibilities for new materials, even plastic.



"Michael Cópia"

"Michael Cópia"


What came first, painting for fashion designing? 

The painting came first, during and over. Everything that I’m doing is painting. There’s no difference between my fashion designs and my canvas art.


What’s the process like when putting a collection together? What comes first?

I think about something that is very strong, something that influences society. Beauty, culture, an understanding of history, etc. And then I choose what comes first.



Sketches of his collection

Sketches of his collection



Are you working on anything new at the moment?

Yes! I’m thinking about making an exhibition about women, like I did in Italy. I’m thinking of using fashion and painting mediums together.


What’s your favorite place in the world to visit?

Last year I was in Cape Town, South Africa, and I just fell in love with that place.


Photography and artwork images courtesy of Roney George


*Born in Los Angeles California, Sarah is a writer, wonderer, and lover of shiny things. She currently lives and works in various cities throughout Brazil. Check out her thoughts at http://smontmonster.tumblr.com/

Here are more global fashion stories

Add Comment Register

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *


You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>