From the Canadian-born Arnold Issacs, who transformed himself into Scassi by reversing his last name, and became designer-of-choice for First Ladies and other celebs...to the Bronx-born immigrant's son Ralph Rueben Lifshitz, who later recast himself as the embodiment of WASP-y Old Money under the name Ralph Lauren, self-reinvention has always been part of the game for aspiring fashion designers.
While currently working on a much smaller canvas--namely a tiny showroom just outside Pioneer Square--the man formerly known as Richard Wilfred Lartey Boye has heeded those lessons about the importance of a persona. Now known as Niilartey De Osu, he tries to woo a fleece-clad city to his eccentric couture with a turban, indeterminate accent, champagne, and models reading Hamlet. It's all about concepts and branding: De Osu himself cannot sew.
He may not be the most reliable business person in town either, as several former business partners and customers tell Vernal Coleman in this week's cover story. But hey, that too is just part of the industry.