Dallas swimsuit designer Ramiro Rodriguez is a hit with his RAMRODD line

RICH LOPEZ | Staff writer

Dallas designer Ramiro Rodriguez made a big splash at this year’s Texas Bear Roundup, appropriately enough, with his swimsuit line RAMRODD. With his custom designs and a focus on larger sizes, Rodriguez sold out his entire inventory that weekend. He and his designs were a perfect fit for the bears, and it all started a couple of years ago when his then-partner couldn’t find an affordable swimsuit in the right size.

“My partner at the time and I were going on vacation, and he could not find any cute swimwear. We shopped around locally and the sizes only went up to extra large,” amd he needed something larger, Rodriguez said by phone from his home studio.

When they finally did find a pair in his size, Rodriguez said, it set them back almost $100.

And Rodriguez realized he had discovered an opportunity.

He was working in women’s wear at the time, but after talking with his then-partner about the larger gay male and the limited options they had, Rodriguez came up with a plan.

“They struggle to find cute stuff that’s affordable,” he said of larger men. His plan was to ease that struggle. Two years later, he sold out TBRU.

Rodriguez’s line offers swimsuits up to 3XL in what he describes as cute and fun prints. He wants his clients to feel just as cute in their swimsuits as the smaller guys, and he wants them to be comfortable, too.

“My first year, I did ok, and there was some pick up at the beginning of the year. But RAMRODD really took off at TBRU,”

Rodriguez said, noting that he had already been hustling RAMRODD primarily through pop-up shops and at Bear Happy Hour at the Round-Up Saloon.

Now, his line and his brand are growing. But he’s also a one-man show. He is the one cutting patterns and buying fabrics and the one handling social media and advertising — the travails of being a small business owner.

“I don’t have time these days it seems,” he said. “I wake up and work until one or two in the morning. I’m doing the website. I do a lot of custom orders as well.”

One of RAMRODD’s more unique features — particularly with it just being Rodriguez — is that he creates one-of-a-kind suits for his clients. Locals can visit him directly for consultation and measurements. Distant clients contact Rodriguez to begin figuring out how to execute what the client wants.

Some want rhinestones; others want spikes. Maybe a client prefers a particular design on the fabric. Whatever it is, Rodriguez will create what his clients request. And he posts his creations often on TikTok.

“A lot of my work is those orders, and it takes a bit of time. But I have a commitment to clients,” he said.

Fashion was a big influence for Rodriguez from a young age. His grandmother was a seamstress in Mexico where he is from. He moved here 20 years ago, and in that time, he has taught himself how to sew, has received his bachelor’s degree in fashion from the Art Institute of Dallas and has been building and has started his own business.

He credits a long-time Oak Lawn tradition with his start in fashion: “The Halloween block party started all that for me. I created my own costumes every year and began creating costumes for other people,” he said.

Although he’s a one-man show for now, he’s increased his line to include socks, tees and tanks. It may put more on his plate, but Rodriguez is playing the long game.

“It’s a hard field to compete in, but I think I have some advantage by designing for the larger sizes,” he said. “I’d love for my brand to become well-known and be that designer for the community. I feel like I’m just steering this all in the right direction.”

Visit Rodriguez’s designs on RAMRODD.net. See some of his creations in our Swimsuits & Sun section on pages 15-22 in this issue.