Dion Lattimore and Scott Torrellas have always had a flair for fashion. Now the two are sharing their gift with top superstars including NFL stars Emmitt Smith and Rodney Peete, NBA players Shaquille O’Neal and Penny Hardaway, and entertainers Arsenio Hall and Boyz II Men.
Lattimore, 36, and Torrellas, 31, are the owners of Dion Scott, a custom clothing design house in Beverly Hills, California. The two launched the company in 1994 and quickly built a house of style with 14 employees and more than $2.5 million in revenues.
Lattimore and Torrellas each own 38.5% of the company. TNT football analyst Sean Jones, who retired earlier this year from the Green Bay Packers, owns 14.5% and Troy McSwain, another partner, owns 8.5%. “We do custom-made suits and shirts, tuxedos, slacks, overcoats, smoking jackets, robes, pajamas and even boxing trunks,” says Lattimore. “We recently added a complete women’s line as well.”
While many of their clients are star athletes and Hollywood entertainers, the two also design apparel for business owners, corporate executives and high-profile lawyers.
“Our clients are perfectly dressed for any occasion,” says Torrellas. “Whether it’s for a Sunday brunch or a high-powered business meeting, we’re able to put our clients in the right clothing for the right situation,” he says.
Lattimore and Torrellas borrow their styles from the ’30s and ’40s. “We take a little bit from the old school, a little cutting edge, mix it together and put our own flavor into it,” explains Torrellas.
Prices range from $795 to $3,000, depending on the fabric.
Lattimore and Torrellas use a personalized service by meeting clients at their homes or businesses for fittings. They’ve even shown up at sports training camps with fabric swatches and measuring tape in hand.
Before starting Dion Scott, Lattimore worked as a model doing runway and print work for clothing designer Jonathon Behr. In 1990, he served a oneyear apprenticeship with Behr selling clothes. “He taught me how to measure and tailor. I learned textiles and how to put colors and patterns together,” says Lattimore. “But I also took a sewing class at a local college where I learned the mechanics of actually making a garment.”
In 1991, Lattimore started working for David Rickey & Co., a design house in Orange County. There, he met Torrellas, who was a salesman, and landed his first star athlete client, Magic Johnson. “Magic Johnson’s agent told us that Johnson was looking for a new tailor,” says Lattimore. “He invited me up to his home. I made a presentation and he picked out about 25 suits,” he says. Lattimore and Torrellas soon talked about venturing out to start their own businesses–perhaps a little too loudly. “One of the partners called me into a room and said there had been rumors that we were going out on our own. He said, `Before that happens we’re going to let you go,'” recalls Lattimore. It was all the impetus they needed.
The two launched their own design house, working out of Lattimore’s apartment. They had no credit, cash or tailors