ro saw the light in New York City in 1999.
Architect Gene Miao, a graduate of the Rhode Island School of Design in the U.S., partnered with an apparel designer to seize an opportunity in the personal accessories market. They decided to start a brand that could reflect the unique energy and distinctive character of the East Village in Manhattan, while actively adapting to the ever-changing expectations of metropolitan life.
Synonymous with clean silhouettes and quality workmanship, ro made an impact. Soon, its fine leather handbags could be found at prestigious stores in major international cities, including Saks Fifth Avenue, Takashimaya and Peter Herman in New York, and Estination, Isetan and Barneys in Tokyo.
Changes occurred in the company over the years, with both founders leaving at different times. Gene left ro in 2005 and established 1:1, an architecture and interior design practice in Hong Kong.
ro opened its first store in Hong Kong on Gage Street in June 2011. In 2012, Gene was invited to rejoin ro as the Design Director.
After witnessing the wasteful demolition of building and interior sites in his work for 1:1, Gene has developed a keen environmental awareness. The architect-designer is now a professional scavenger at project sites, identifying both raw materials and former fixtures to reclaim and recycle into reborn furniture. Similarly, ro handbags that become visibly worn from use can be refurbished, retouched and restored into timeless fashion items.