As the owner of the Wardrobe Clinic, Ron Wilch enjoys helping people look fashionable.
Whether it’s a professional who needs a suit altered, or a hotel concerige whose guest is seeking last-minute clothing repairs, many have turned to Wilch for assistance. He offers same and next-day services for emergencies.
“I’m known as the wardrobe doctor and our main service here at the Wardrobe Clinic is fixing and repairing fashion,“ Wilch said.
He caters to online shoppers and people that frequent local boutiques who are seeking a customized fit for their fashions.
“My focus is dressing people who want to be ready for the season,“ said Wilch. “People are shopping now for that spring and summer look but it just doesn’t fit right. They bring it to me to make it look right.“
The longtime designer and tailor has experienced significant business growth since he opened the Wardrobe Clinic at 1500 Walnut St. He now serves more than 630 clients.
Wilch turned what was formerly a psychiatrist’s office into a studio where he designs fashions and repairs clothing. He designs an array of custom made clothing ranging from wedding and bridesmaid gowns and prom dresses to corporate looks for women.
Part of the proceeds from each alteration job goes toward his nonprofit organization, Boys to Bosses, which provides entrepreneurial training for young men ages 12 to 19.
“Boys to Bosses is an entrepreneurial think tank where we give young men all the skills and the know-how to find the need of their community and make it a business,“ said Wilch.
Through Boys to Bosses, which was founded in 2009, participating young men attend summer workshops led by business, marketing and law professionals.
Wilch wants to see a resurgence of the tailoring trade.
“My longtime goal for the Wardrobe Clinic is to create jobs,“ he said. “If I could get the support, I would like to teach the tailoring trade and bring it back. I would like to teach young men and young women the art of tailoring.“
Through Boys to Bosses, Wilch aspires to purchase the former Botany 500 factory located at Broad and Lehigh Sts. in North Philadelphia and turn it into a job training center for high school students that would focus on the trades.
Wilch, who is also the step-father of recording artist Eve, has been tailoring and designing clothing for 36 years. His love for fashion started while studying tailoring at Thomas A. Edison High School in the 1970s. He referred to Christopher Ramsey, who taught tailoring at Edison, as his mentor.
“He was one of the best tailoring teachers in the public school system,“ Wilch said.
He convinced his mother to buy him his first Singer sewing machine when he was 11th grade.
“I said, ‘Mom once you buy me a sewing machine, you won’t have to buy me no more clothes.’ She said ’Good deal, let’s go get you a sewing machine’,“ he recalled.
Wilch still has his first sewing machine. He prefers working on older equipment as opposed to the newer, computerized sewing machines. His studio is outfitted with old Brother and Singer machines that have been around for more than 60 years.
“Every time I sit at these machines, I think of the old tailors and and the old seamstresses,“ he reflected.
After graduating from Thomas A. Edison High School in 1979, Wilch worked for various clothing manufacturers in Philadelphia including Botany 500.
When he was laid off from his last factory, Wilch decided to open his first tailoring shop in 1991 at 15th and Lombard Sts. He later relocated his business to Germantown in 1994. He opened his Center City-based studio in November 2015.