From his Wynwood studio, Aldhair Ramirez is overseeing the production of his “Finessing” hats.
“Está cosiendo bien la cosa esa?”
A towering, gray machine fills the studio with a constant hum, reminiscent of the Garment Districts in major fashion retail hubs like New York and Los Angeles. Here, in a shared Miami workspace overlooking the surrounding warehouses (and a clandestine fetish club), Aldhair’s mother works diligently to help her son complete the online orders that have been piling up since a recent surge of business. She sits on a high chair and inspects a freshly-embroidered hat with intense focus.
If Aldhair is the driving force behind buzzy brand Finessing Miami – producing the apparel, getting his gear in the right hands and orchestrating collaborations with streetwear up-and-comers – his mother remains his supreme motivation, the constant reminder of why he does what he does.
Born in Venezuela, Aldhair moved to Miami with his family when he was just two years old. In a streetwear landscape flooded with pseudo-designers pumping out dad hats, Aldhair’s story deviates from the regular tropes. The twenty-two year old has fashion entrepreneurship in his blood, as evidenced by the now-defunct swimwear line his parents owned and operated while still in Los Teques, Venezuela.
Ramirez carefully engineered a business at an age when many are still preparing to graduate from four-year universities. While toiling away at a Miami law firm, he started making hats as an ode to the life of leisure he aspires to some day attain. Once he learned the tricks of the trade, he eventually bought the means of production – the towering gray embroidery machine – and now runs a full-scale operation from his Wynwood studio.
But dreams of the good life aside, Ramirez’s real motivation is a better life for his family. “My ultimate goal with clothes is to have my mom quit her job and just work with me, hopefully managing my staff. I don’t want her working for someone else for the rest of her life.”
As many first-generation Latinos in the United States can attest to, there is a powerful incentive and sense of obligation to make good on the sacrifices our parents made to provide us with better opportunities. Ramirez has turned that weight on his shoulders into an opportunity to carry the hopes and aspirations of his family on his back.
So far, things are looking good. Even before the most recent wave of interest in Finessing, Aldhair leveraged his relationships with social media mavens YesJulz and NormaNow to bring the 305’s trademark lifestyle to a global audience.
By fate and circumstance – circumstances including Drake’s OVO Calabasas palace and Odell Beckham Jr.’s sleight of hand – a one-of-a-kind Camel Suede Finessing hat made its way into the star NFL wide receiver’s wardrobe. Featured prominently in both a post-game meltdown and ringside at UFC 205, Beckham’s affinity for the hat has accelerated the trajectory of the young entrepreneur’s five year plan.
“I’ve been getting orders from Denmark, Switzerland, everywhere.”
Never content or complacent, Aldhair’s recent success has helped propel him forward, teaming up with Miami brands for capsule collections and producing an event with proceeds benefiting Hurricane Matthew relief efforts in Haiti during Art Basel.
Instead of letting the recent success get to his head, Ramirez remains focused.
“Lo hiciste bien, mami. Lo hiciste bien.”
A smile curls over her face.