A Center City tailor aims to heal our ailing wardrobes


Photo: Kirston Jae Bethel

Photo: Kirston Jae Bethel

A Perfect Fit

By Ogbonna Hagins

As the old saying goes, what goes around comes around, and in the fashion industry, that is definitely true. If you are over 40, you see the same styles of clothing that you wore as a teenager being worn by today’s adolescents. Ron Wilch, Philadelphia fashion designer—and stepfather of hip-hop legend Eve—is taking full advantage of returning trends by providing a valuable service.

“People’s wardrobes need to be fixed!” exclaims Wilch. “I wanted to put a new twist on it. I didn’t want to just call it ‘alterations.’ We’re doing clothing surgery.”

With more and more clothing being purchased online, without the benefit of stepping into a changing room, tailoring has never seemed more relevant. Wilch says, “The alteration business is the modern-day partnership with online shopping.” 

Wilch graduated from Edison High School in 1979, where he studied fashion design for three years. After working at various clothing factories, Wilch decided to open his first tailoring shop in 1991 at 15th and Lombard Streets. In 1994 he relocated his business to Germantown. 

“I had a desire to either get a contract to mass-produce something or to make clothing for individuals,” Wilch says. 

According to Wilch, his initial plan never worked as well as he wanted, partially due to poor business planning, but also because people weren’t getting dressed up as much anymore. Even on the day of our interview, Wilch points out that both of us are wearing jeans and T-shirts.

Wilch opened his Center City–based studio in November 2015 with a different approach. Rather than creating clothing from scratch, he was going to be a doctor tending to people’s “sick” wardrobes. “The Wardrobe Clinic is where sick clothing comes to get well,” Wilch says.

While he admits that protecting the environment was not his primary motivation when he started The Wardrobe Clinic, he is glad that, in a small way, what he’s doing slows the tide of the 13 million tons of textiles being discarded nationwide every year.

“The Wardrobe Clinic is the ultimate in recycling of clothing that’s outdated,” he says. “We rebirth the old!” 

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