Diversity and Creative Entrepreneurship at the BMA

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An Interview with Keisha Ransome, Fashion Designer and Vendor at the BMA’s Creativity Exchange by Cara Ober

Keisha Ransome is a Fashion Designer and the founder of 2live2love, a business she founded to develop her own fashion aesthetic and to share it with others. Ransome will participate on February 11 at the first ever Creativity Exchange at the Baltimore Museum of Art, an event featuring black artists and black-owned creative businesses based in Baltimore.

After hearing about this new event, we reached out to Ransome to find out more about her ideas, business, and participation in the Creativity Exchange.

Can you talk about your background and how it relates to your career as a fashion designer? 

I was born, raised, and reside in Baltimore City. I am a super Baltimorean, lol. I attended Baltimore City College High School, where I modeled and made clothes for proms and fashion shows. My family and friends were sure I’d go to fashion school, but instead I chose to attend Morgan State University and received a Bachelor of Science in Civil Engineering and a Masters of City and Regional Planning.

After high school, I rarely sewed. As the years passed, my yearning to create grew stronger and in 2012 I decided to invest in my natural talent and began designing full-time.

Tell me about what you make and why. Tell me about how you make it and how you came to be a clothing designer.

I started 2live2love as a t-shirt company and a few months in I dusted off my sewing machine and began sewing clutch bags to add diversity to the brand. 2live2love gave me permission to create again and one creation soon led to another. Currently, I design tulle skirts, also known as “tutus.” My skirts are made with tulle and satin and are available in various styles, including ready-to-wear and custom skirts.

I made my first tulle skirt for my birthday and received a lot of compliments. A few weeks later, I decided to place it online with my t-shirts, in one size and one color. I honestly wasn’t sure if anyone would want it, so I didn’t have a strategy for offering variations beyond the size and color I made for myself.

The response was amazing! Customers from all over the country were requesting that I offer additional sizes, colors, and lengths. I didn’t expect to fall in love with tulle, but I did; the versatility of the fabric continues to amaze me.

In your opinion, what is the power and allure of fashion? What does it mean to you and how does it impact our daily lives?

Fashion is transformative! It arouses emotion. I love to express myself through what I’m wearing. My personal style covers the spectrum. You can become whoever you want to be simply by adorning yourself with fashion. It is a mighty form of self-expression. We wear it on the outside, but it can often tell a silent story about the person on the inside.

You will be one of five vendors at the BMA’s first Creativity Exchange featuring “Intersections Between Black Artists and Black-Owned Businesses.” How did you come to be involved in this project and why did you want to participate? What do you think the impact will be?

The museum’s educator contacted me to participate in the event. I was very excited to accept the invitation. Something felt progressive about the BMA and MICA shining a light on black artists and black businesses. I believe a lot can be achieved from an open and honest dialogue. I anticipate this event will bring forth a new mix of networking, education and awareness to black artists in Baltimore’s entrepreneurial and creative scene.

Can you talk about your own experience as a black woman, creative maker, and entrepreneur? What are your opinions on this and what are the pros and cons of your role?

In my past life, within the private sector, I experienced several situations that were fueled by prejudice. I left that world pretty frustrated. It took some time and self-reflection to let go of those emotions and embrace the incredible amount of support that I continually receive, since becoming a creative entrepreneur. My work speaks for itself and customers purchase 2live2love because they value the love and craftsmanship that is placed into each piece.

Is Baltimore a fashionable city? How would you describe Baltimore’s fashion aesthetic and how would you like to change it?

As I become older this question becomes more complicated to answer. In general, I believe Baltimore is a fashionable city. We pick up mainstream trends and make them our own. Evolution is inevitable and I personally would like to see a little more drama in the Baltimore fashion scene. More risk taking, perhaps a touch of avant-garde.

Who are your favorite local fashion designers? Is there a community around fashion in Baltimore? What does Baltimore need to do to support more local fashion designers?

There is an emerging fashion community in Baltimore, however it is segmented. I would like to see a fashion district re-emerge in Baltimore City, supported by an incubator that provides education, maker space, and a platform to sell. Honestly, I haven’t identified a favorite local designer yet. However, I’m always looking for designers to collaborate with, so I will able to answer that question soon.


Author Cara Ober is Founding Editor at BmoreArt.

The Creativity Exchange: Intersections Between Black Artists and Black-Owned Businesses is happening at the BMA on February 11 · 12:00pm – 5:00pm and is free to attend. 

Photo Credits: Photo 1 & 2:  Kimberly Fenner, Photo 3, 4, 5: Keisha Ransome, and Photo 6: Syranno

More Information on the BMA’s Creativity Exchange:
Participate in a lively discussion with Baltimore-based artists and entrepreneurs. Chat with panelists, network during a reception and vendor fair, and participate in a free workshop to strengthen your business skills creatively.

Vendor Fair Noon–5 p.m.

Finding Your Niche: Storytelling Workshop 12:30–1:45 p.m.

Explore storytelling using archetypes and learn how to develop an authentic story that communicates your brand and connects to customer’s purchasing decisions and brand loyalty. Space is limited. To RSVP, contact Jessica Braiterman at [email protected] or 443-573-1836.

Panel Discussion & Reception 2–3 p.m.

Hear from Myrtis Bedolla of Galerie MyrtisPierre and Jamyla Bennu of Exit the Apple and Oyin Handmade, and Jay Jacksonrao, CEO of TNP Studios on the unique ways they develop innovative projects.

The panel will be moderated by Jessica Solomon of Art in Praxis. After the panel discussion, there will be a reception catered by Dovecote Café.

This event has been generously sponsored by the Joshua Johnson Coucil and MICA’s Business of Art and Design MPS Program.

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