Founded by Vancouver Canada based artist and fashion designer Cydney Eva, PatternNation is a collaborative and inclusive platform aimed at connecting artists who embrace bold color and pattern globally. In this feature, Cydney shares about their recent one-of-a-kind piece and interviews Belizean artist and model Ronz Li.
By Cydney Eva
I couldn’t have been more overjoyed to meet the immensely talented Ronz Li, who vibed with my designs and PatternNation’s mission to celebrate colorful self-expression globally. We instantly hit it off and spoke about how as lovers of fashion we can’t fit into an industry where body, size, and gender are so strongly enforced as standards of beauty. Ronz spent time in Mexico devoting his career to the oppressive and sizest fashion and modeling industry. This photo series is Ronz’s first time modeling since his time in Mexico and we spoke about how that experience shaped his life creatively but also how we both want to celebrate who we are through fashion without having to fit industry and media standards of beauty.
Daily life as an androgynist person in Belize is not easy. Ronz is constantly faced with discrimination just for being himself. In Belize, homosexuality was only legalized in 2016 and the general public doesn’t have a large understanding for any type of self-expression outside of largely Christian heterosexual beliefs. I asked Ronz some questions about his inspirations and experiences.
How did you first become interested in Fashion and Beauty?
I recall being a baby and seeing my grandmother, whose nickname is Barbie, create amazing outfits. She’s a great seamstress! She would have her daily beauty routine and it was so inspiring to see her get ready. I would recall her feeling and looking so beautiful after her makeup application. I would say my grandmother indirectly inspired me to be into fashion and beauty at a young age.
What inspired you explore dressing androgynous and how is this received in Belize?
I believe that we should express how we feel. I express my feelings by using myself as a canvas and dress androgynous. I don’t believe in labels and won’t limit myself from wearing any fashionable attire just to fit in our society. Belize is a growing country whose beliefs are not as open as it should be. It’s very difficult to dress androgynous but I will keep being my true self and I hope to inspire others to be their true selves too.
During our shoot we spoke a lot about body positivity and self-acceptance. Can you speak to your journey with self-love and self-expression?
I have suffered eating disorders since I was around eight/nine years old. Being part of the fashion and beauty industry has been hard because of the harsh executives who would tell me I wasn’t good enough or didn’t fit a standard look. Last year I had gained so much weight and was unhappy. But this shoot helped me and motivated me to accept my body and to start making healthy changes. My journey hasn’t been easy. I don’t dress or look how society wants me to, however, I now love who I am and feel happy expressing myself. I hope to inspire the youth to express themselves and never to lose their essence and to love who they are! Never let anyone dictate your life!”
How do you feel PatternNation's clothing and ideology vibes with your personal creative expression?
First of all, I personally love Cydney who’s an amazing designer and a beautiful spirit. I think more fashion houses should cater to all body types-and be more inclusive. I feel PatternNation unifies everyone! You can be your true self at any size or gender while looking fabulous. Explosion of colors with beautiful designs. I am edgy, fierce and I am PatternNation!
Makeup Artist and Model: Ronz Li @ronzli4
Fashion/ Jewelry Designer and Photographer: Cyd Eva of PatternNation: @pattern.nation @cydeva
Project Assistant and Transportation: Lindy Sisson: @lindydance
Location: San Pedro Belize