At a young age, Baltimore native Bishme Cromartie had a knack for fashion and spent most of his time cutting up his own clothing to making miniature outfits for his G.I. Joes.
“Where I grew up it was weird for a 13-year-old to want a sewing machine,” Cromartie says. “My friends accepted me but it was just funny to see the things I got excited about versus the other guys in the neighborhood.”
While attending Reginald F. Lewis High School, he created popular hoodies and prom dresses for his classmates and dreamed of a career in fashion, but considered giving it all up when he was rejected by the prestigious Fashion Institute of Technology in New York City. It was his mother who snapped him back to reality.
“She sat me down and told me that you can’t always expect things to go your way and you have to learn to maneuver around problems,” Cromartie recalls.
Through much determination—and with a little help from his social media accounts—Cromartie landed one of his first designs on a Good Morning America segment. Since then, his accomplishments have been nothing short of remarkable, with his pieces gracing the pages of Vogue Italia and Elle Vietnam, and seen on celebrity clientele like Mel B and Andra Day, to name a few.
Though his talents have taken him to L.A. and New York and back again, Cromartie believes that relocating isn’t necessary if your designs are good enough. The majority of his collections have been inspired by Baltimore and he takes great joy in seeing how far the city has come.
“Exploring new places makes you realize that there really is no place like home,” Cromartie says. “It’s been amazing to be proud of coming from Baltimore.”