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Carolina STYLE Magazine

Gone Too Soon : Celebrating the Life of Josh Ratliff


Gone Too Soon : Celebrating the Life of Josh Ratliff

He was hip. He was cool. He was a pure talent that is gone too soon.  Josh Ratliff was a revered STYLE Icon in Charleston and quickly making a name for himself in Miami and New York.

Friends, colleagues and those who knew Josh learned Monday morning of his passing and quickly took to social media to say their farewells.

Camille K of Charleston After Dark posted photos of her and Josh on Instagram with the message “RIP Fabulous @JoshRatliff. You were a ray of sunshine and were taken from us too soon. You will be dearly missed my friend.”


Celebrated Wardrobe Stylist and Creator of Charleston Fashion Week, Ayoka Luckas posted to Josh’s Facebook page “Life can be short but he lived the fashion life to the fullest.”

Fashion Photographer Jonathan Balliet posted on his Facebook and Twitter pages “I remember the first time I met Josh Ratliff back in 2011.  So sweet and kind. Never pretentious nor judgmental – a caring soul. So full of life. You’ll be missed.”

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One of Josh’s humorous posts on Instagram reads “I eat cake in the morning wearing @sbshades”
Photo: Instagram @TheJoshRatliff

A native of Blythewood, SC Josh graduated from the prestigious Art Institute of Charleston with a degree in Fashion and Retail Management and was the first African American male to graduate from the institution with the respected degree.

Instagram @TheJoshRatliff "tbt: Judging the USC Emerging Designer Fashion Competition with @HunterBellNYC"

Instagram @TheJoshRatliff “tbt: Judging the USC Emerging Designer Fashion Competition with @HunterBellNYC”

By the time he was 19 years old, Josh was working with the likes of  IMG, the producer of Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week, Vera Wang, Roberto Cavalli and True Religion.

We first met Josh in 2012. Our team was scheduled to spend the week attending Charleston Fashion Week and decided to use our free time during the day to shoot our first editorial in the south’s now very popular fashion destination.  After several phone calls and interviews with other wardrobe stylists it was obvious who we wanted for this shoot. This is still one of our most popular and most featured editorials to date.

Charleston Shoot - Web Size

“Charming Charleston” was featured in the Spring 2012 Issue of STYLE.
Styled by : Josh Ratiff
Photographed by: Erin L. Hubbs


We caught up with Josh again during Charleston Fashion Week this March and discussed a new story, featuring him in an upcoming issue of STYLE. The story, Catching up with Josh, would detail the whirlwind months since leaving Charleston and moving to Miami, FL. Josh recently posted on social media that he just finished a shoot with model Kate Upton and was also asked to join other high profile photo shoots and events in Miami and New York. Josh was scheduled as one of the featured speakers  at this year’s Columbia Fashion Week later this month.

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“Putting in work on set during a shot. #tbt when I was a blonde! I miss my blonde.”
Photo: Instagram @TheJoshRatliff


Josh’s family has not made the details of his death public at the time of publishing this article.

In addition to his family and close friends, the fashion and style community of the Carolinas has truly lost an iconic fashion legend in the making, one who is a great representative for the growing fashion industry in the south.  His personality, like his talent, is unique – no one like him. Josh was a designer original.


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One of the many photos posted by various friends on Facebook.


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Carolina STYLE Magazine is a fashion – based lifestyle publication highlighting the essence of fashion & style in North and South Carolina. Designed to enrich the lives of our readers through fashion-based lifestyle editorial, it is our mission to inspire our readers to look, feel and live their best.

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