I met Ryan awhile ago on Twitter and immediately recognized his passion for shoes. I learned that Ryan has been sketching and designing shoes, preparing for his own collection launching in 2011. I was curious to learn how someone breaks into designing shoes, where the inspiration comes from and how designs are created. Here’s a look at Ryan’s story past the 140 character limit:
I’ve always had a passion for fashion, yes as cliche as that may sound. I didn’t get into fashion until later in my college career after I was inspired to become an architect. I attended a few different schools, from Kent State to Ohio State and finally at The Cleveland Institute of Art. I changed majors 6 times and career paths 7 times. I studied business, industrial design, architecture and finally found interior design which I will have my degree in. I loved working in architecture but realized that I just wasn’t happy in that industry. I knew I could be a better designer working in the fashion world and decided to put together a portfolio of shoes.
“Shoes to me are more than an accessory, they are a masterpiece created by the mind and a pen. They can be displayed in an art gallery on a pedestal, they are structural pieces that can stand alone or stand under you.”
I’ve never taken a footwear class. Not one. During my second year at The Cleveland Institute of Art I would head over to Caribou Coffee with a sketch pad, pens and start drawing shoes. This was my calling, my niche. I began looking for internships and sent out my resume along with my portfolio of shoe designs. I got an offer to intern for Steve Madden over the summer and then with BCBG women’s footwear line. Both of these internships only helped validate my feelings about heading in the footwear industry.
My designs are inspired by things I see in everyday occurrences from nature to fashion. I’m constantly surrounded by influences through life, this keeps me moving everyday. I also take a lot of what I learned from architecture such as material choices & construction techniques and incorporate them into my designs.
I look up to many designers: Nicholas Kirkwood, Christian Louboutin, Ruthie Davis and my favorite, Gianmarco Lorenzi. These are the people I inspire to be one day, people I envy and it’s their hard work and determination that has gotten them to the top of the shoe empire.
“Women make the fashion world possible, and shoes are a girls best friend. Believe me, it’s the shoes that are the quickest way to a woman’s heart.”
When I sit down at my drafting table and start getting my creative juices flowing, there is no stopping me. I get in the zone; the floodgates open up, the ink flows like water and the designs fly out like a printing press. My motivation is the fabulous woman. Without women, there would be no excitement in my work. I design for the sexy, classy, flaunt-it-because-you-got-it chick female. The greatest satisfaction is when I see a woman spot a pair of shoes and watch her face light up. I can tell by her smile just how much she loves the shoe. I design to create this emotion of happiness, love and the confidence a woman feels when she slips on the shoe.
“You can tell a lot about a woman by the shoes on her feet.”
My designs are sexy, elegant and forward thinking. They’re shoes that you want people to notice and conversational pieces. I understand that shoes are the focal point of a woman’s outfit. Shoes are the attention grabber and most important accessory. Design has also become much more than just function. The function of shoes is past protecting the foot – it’s about making it look hot! Designs are more fun and flirtier than ever. I agree with Louboutin, the higher the heel, the sexier the shoe!
An Inside Look
I just received the first photos of the Queen sent from the factory! I’m still waiting to see it in person, she comes in black and red too.