Style Files

Two local trendsetters are putting their imprint on fashion in Orlando and beyond.


When Renee Tobias created a tribal necklace for a Halloween costume, she didn’t realize it would be the beginning of a successful business.

“I liked the necklace so much that I started wearing it out and people would stop and ask, ‘Where’d you get that?’’ Tobias says.

Realizing that positive attention could mean profit, the Maitland resident created Love+Leather in 2012. After designing several different versions of her trademark long leather necklace, she began posting photos on social media and, within a year, Tobias’ boho-meets-rock aesthetic started garnering praise from around the country. Celebrities like singer Juliet Simms of The Voice, pro surfer Alana Blanchard, reality TV star Jacqueline Laurita of The Real Housewives of New Jersey, and countless celebrated fashion bloggers have donned her necklaces.

“I buy all my beads online so they’re never something you can just find at an art store,” says Tobias, 37. “Once I get everything, I play around with the pieces and let designs sit for days. I’ll eventually revisit what I created and change it around until I find that it’s cohesive. And then I start putting it together.”

Tobias currently works alone “cutting the leather, hole punching the leather, braiding the leather, stringing it, beading it. It’s a process.” A single piece can take hours to create, even with the large amount of prep that goes into every jewelry-making session; and she’s recently expanded her work to include metal pieces.

Her latest success was being discovered by Urban Outfitters—she may be creating an exclusive collection for them—at Magic Market Week in Las Vegas this past February. Tobias was one of 14 emerging designers, out of 500 applicants, invited to host a booth at the accessories convention.

“Instagram is my bread and butter. Everything that I’ve gotten, all the attention I’ve received, is from there. And I’ve been aggressive. That’s the key to all my success.”

Follow Love+Leather on Twitter and Instagram at @loveandleather, and find them online at


Cloak and Dapper

“There’s a Brooklyn undercurrent here that’s starting to change the way people want Orlando to look, and there’s nothing here commerce-wise that appeals to that demographic,” says Calvin Cearley, the 34-year-old owner of the e-commerce shop Cloak and Dapper. “But some of these new restaurants and bars and speakeasies are creating a culture here that we want to tap into. We’re not offering things thousands of people can wear. We’re offering things that are accessible, but much more unique.”

By that, Cearley means classic, chambray denim shirts, American-made jeans, graphic tees, retro leather goods, and grooming provisions that will take his shoppers through a general-store-like experience. Though the menswear shop is currently online, Cearley hopes to move Cloak and Dapper into a storefront in Winter Park this year. In March, the company celebrated its one-year-anniversary with a spring 2014 collection runway show at Orange Studio in the Mills 50 District.

“People are ordering from us around the world,” says Cearley. “We’ve sent things to Australia, Paris, Canada, India. And I really want Winter Park to be our flagship.

The Cloak and Dapper team creates the general-store experience online with a streamlined, rustic website design and other small touches, including handwritten thank you notes with every purchase.

“We provide men with a high quality, highly curated one-stop American shop. We’ll eventually offer stuff made in other countries, but right now everything is made in the U.S.”

Cearley says style in Orlando is heading in a positive direction, and he hopes that Cloak and Dapper will influence that change.
“Sometimes I feel like people here are stuck in a time capsule from 10 years ago. Orlando isn’t with the trends the same way a California or a New York are, or even like Austin, or Atlanta. But culturally we are improving and creating places that are offering better style opportunities.”

Follow Cloak and Dapper on Twitter and Instagram at @cloakanddapper, and find them online at




Categories: Fashion & Shopping