THE ENSIGN DISCUSSES YOUNG & SEXY STYLE
WITH STYLIST & IDOL MAGAZINE EDITOR AT LARGE RYAN DAVIS
WHERE ARE YOU FROM ORIGINALLY & WHAT IS YOUR BACKGROUND?
I was born in New York and raised in a Puerto Rican household (mom’s Puerto Rican and dad’s African American). I grew up in the hood in the Lower East Side, not far from Seaport, in the 80’s/90’s, so I’m talking pre-gentrification here. There were no posh hotels or many gorgeous converted lofts and penthouses in the area that’s for sure. It was a very different New York then. Around 13 we moved to suburbs in New Jersey. Total culture shock!
HOW DID YOU BEGIN YOUR CAREER AS A FASHION STYLIST?
WHAT DREW YOU TO FASHION?
I always had a general interest in fashion especially in high school when Tom Ford was killing shit at Gucci. I’d watch his shows on fashion tv and just salivate at all that cool, sexy, chicness he turned out. I also loved watching House of Style on MTV, when MTV was the shit. Yet, I never went to fashion school! I always wanted to be a teacher and while in college I did additional internships that were not part of my major and one of them was at OUT Magazine. That’s where I fell in love with putting a book together. Once I figured fashion was it, I told my counselor, "I need to get out of here yesterday!" I graduated with a degree in Family and Child Studies two years later.
IN ADDITION TO BEING A STYLIST, YOU ARE ALSO THE CO-FOUNDER AND EDITOR OF IDOL MAGAZINE.
WHAT INSPIRED YOU TO START YOUR OWN FASHION BOOK AND INVEST IN PUBLISHING?
A year after college I worked at Gilt Groupe assisting on e-comm shoots while working on IDOL with Rebecca Moore on the side. We were just online then and there weren’t nearly as many indie publications out - print or online. So, we created a platform that covers fashion, arts, and culture and features young creatives with a voice.
After our ninth issue we wanted to print something more special than just a glossy paged magazine and started printing hard cover. For our very first coffee table book, titled Forever Young, it was a celebration of youth culture and featured Luka Sabbat and Barbie Ferreira on the cover. What I love most about IDOL is the freedom I have to create and am entrusted to do whatever I want creatively. It allows me to do things I cannot get away with at other publications. Like styling our current cover boy, Yves Mathieu aka @the_yvesdropper, who’s an openly gay black punk rocker that’s bringing awareness to LQBTQ issues and tatted from head to ankles, literally, and turning him into a wickedly handsome male bride wearing couture with a tiara. For me that’s fashion! Our job as editors should be to push and give people shit they didn’t know they wanted.
WHAT IS THE BIGGEST GOAL YOU’D LIKE TO ACCOMPLISH WITH IDOL MAGAZINE?
I always wanted to create something that I could leave behind. To be able to print coffee table books and see it at specialty boutiques like Faith Connexion in Soho, who stocks our latest book, Freedom ‘17, is a dream and we’ve printed two now, on our own terms. I’m super proud of that! As far as what’s next for IDOL, I’m super excited to work on more collaborative projects. We have something in the works that I’m super excited about.
HOW DO YOU DEFINE, OR COMMUNICATE, YOUR OWN PERSONAL SENSE OF STYLE?
WHAT ARE YOUR STYLE INSPIRATIONS?
My personal sense of style isn’t too flashy as far as prints and color is concerned. I wear a lot of neutrals: grey, white, navy, and a lot of black. I always feel cool and sexy when I wear black. I’m obsessed with leather and suede apparel; they’re closet staples. I don’t like to spend hours deciding what to wear and for sure have a uniform. I admire people who turn out fun and thoughtful looks everyday it really makes my eyes happy. I personally just can’t be bothered! Styling myself isn’t nearly as fun as styling someone else.
My inspiration will always be late 70’s and early 80’s. I love Claude Montana at his height. Love how sexy Guns and Roses styled themselves when they were young and wild on stage. If I could raid any closet it would be Lenny Kravitz hands down! He only gets better with age and no one does rock n roll quite like Lenny. I also love Olivier Rousting of Balmain, Peter Berlin, Jimmy Hendrix, young Marlon Brando and I’m obsessed with Mapplethorpe’s sense of style and his photography. I love looking at pictures when he was young and galavanting with Patti Smith.
WHAT ARE YOU EXCITED ABOUT IN FASHION RIGHT NOW?
I’m very excited about the visible representation of black people in top positions in fashion with the appointments of Edward Enninful at British Vogue and Virgil Abloh at Louis Vuitton. I also enjoyed Virgil’s debut. I’m looking forward in seeing how Ricardo Tisci reinvigorates Burberry and Heidi Slimane’s version of Céline.
Also, what I’m finding exciting or rather fascinating is the success of Instagram brands and how they have taken power in their own hands to speak directly to their consumer. I think what The Arrivals have done is absolutely brilliant. It’s a very modern way to approach retail.
WHAT ARE YOU LISTENING TO RIGHT NOW?
WHAT MUSIC ARE YOU CURRENTLY BUMPING?
This Is the hardest question because I’m just not feeling anything popular at the moment. I’d rather have a 90’s playlist going and I now sound like somebody’s Uncle– way older than I should.
AS A MODERN GUY JUGGLING MANY CREATIVE PROJECTS,
WHAT DO YOU DO TO KEEP YOURSELF ORGANIZED & GROUNDED?
Haha. Apparently, I’m doing a terrible job judging by how long it’s taken me to get this interview back to you. My mind is always wondering and in two places at any given time. I have to write and jot things down or I’ll just be a mess. I keep grounded by surrounding myself with good people and friends that have known me forever.