1989 to 2019, #30yearsofstyle

Facebook told me that local designer Ronchie de Cuba is hosting an open casting on Monday, calling all Knockout later Koma Agency models, past and present, to present at Cas Di Cultura and try out for the upcoming 30th anniversary show, unfolding at the Hilton Aruba Caribbean Resort & Casino, Morris Lapidus Ballroom, September 14th.

This will sell out fast, with just 500 seats, so get your tickets early, at Trash boutique.

The Facebook invitation looked interesting. I personally know many of these models from almost 20- years of fashion editorials in Island Temptations Magazine. But my exercise schedule got in the way, #Fitnessfirst, and I called Ronchi instead. We go back a very long time.

We met for coffee and Panini at the Aruba Experience Café.

What should we expect at the show?

Titled Back to Life, it will be a retrospect of 30 years in fashion, gleaning the best of more than 150 big past productions with about 100 models, two dizzying hours of runway and theatrical presentations, featuring three distinct collections Solo by Ronchi, So Very Me and a Tribal, Women Empowerment line, a total of 400 looks, including décor, hair, makeup, music, the works. “I grew up among powerful women, so expect that to reflect in the show,” Ronchi adds. The show will also have a contemporary No Waste aspect with fashion made from left-overs and recycled fabric.

With your regular crew?

Yes, Julio, Andrew, Gareth, Bruce, Jairo, Nicole and Sharine, each in charge of one aspect of the show. We created some big production for the International Male & Female Model Searches, six seasons, the Aruba Male & Female Model Searches and the Aruba Fashion Week, in past years, with guests such as RuPaul & Mario Lopez, with E-Entertainment, HBO, and Showtime on island, in Guatemala and in Curacao. We have been practicing for that upcoming show for 30 years.

Looking back do you love all past shows?

We have some clippings and footage. It’s a large body of work. Some I admire, and some I ask myself what was I thinking.

How big is Koma agency today

We keep it relatively small, 35 female models 25 male models, and we enjoy a list of regular local clients

Trash, did you ever regret calling your fashion store TRASH?

Yes. No. Those were my rebellious days, a bit nihilistic, and I wanted to state that fashion is fluff and what’s INSIDE is important. I might still change the name one day.

Congratulation Ronchi, I am an appreciative fan and I admire the fact that for over 30 years you have been recruiting young people into your organization, for the purpose of polishing their personalities and refining their presentations. You show many success stories along the way, females and males who graduated your ‘finishing school,’ and went on to enjoy flourishing careers. All of Aruba fashion boutiques are owned by former models who got their fashion start at Koma.   

30 years, what is the difference between today’s, and yesterday’s recruits?

When we started, our models wanted to compete and fought for the spotlight. They were fearless and determined to leave a mark. Today, with all the scrutiny of social media, our recruits shy away from the limelight, while they crave it, they fear it, and the criticism it brings.

While on the surface people are more willing to go on display, they are in fact hiding. Especially women, and we encourage them to show their feathers, and overcome the pull-down effect of their social circle. I try to get them away from labels and judgements, focus on the here & now, and pursue their passions. Basically, become shamelessly optimistic.


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July 11, 2019
Rona Coster
Bati Bleki by Rona Coster
Bati Bleki by Rona Coster
Bati Bleki by Rona Coster
Bati Bleki by Rona Coster
Bati Bleki by Rona Coster
Bati Bleki by Rona Coster
Bati Bleki by Rona Coster
Bati Bleki by Rona Coster