NYUnique: Ryan Karczag: Minimal, but Experimental
“Rather than throwing the shirt away, I decided to cut and distress it. They sell things like that at All Saints for $75, so I figured why not do it myself”
Maisha: Explain your style in a word.
Maisha: Are there any designers or celebrities whose styles you admire?
Ryan: As far as designers, I really love Rick Owens and Acne Studios. Rick Owens is great at creating clean, minimalist pieces in a neutral color palate. I enjoy the way he experiments with different fabrics and fits. He did some dresses for his last collection where he draped and twisted linen to mimic a whirlpool. I found that pretty cool.
Oh god, there are so many celebrities whose style I look up to. Mitch Grassi is always on the cutting edge with what’s being worn on the runway. He has great style. I also really love ASAP Rocky and Tinashe, they really know how to take streetwear and elevate it to something sexy and sophisticated. They’re also just beautiful people.
Maisha: What is your most prized possession?
Ryan: I’d probably say my leather Saint Laurent wallet. I bought it over two years ago with a friend back home in LA and almost returned it because I felt weird about spending so much on a small accessory. But I’m glad I kept it. There’s such utility in a wallet, I’m always shuffling through it for something. It’s a dark navy blue leather canvas with “Saint Laurent Paris” engraved on the front in small silver letters. It’s such a clean, timeless design and that’s why I love it.
Maisha: If you were to make a quick fashion purchase tomorrow, what would it be?
Ryan: Maybe a pair of white Common Projects sneakers. But of course, I don’t have the funds for that! I’m pretty happy with what’s in my closet right now.
Maisha: What, according to you, is currently the silliest trend?
Ryan: Oversized Yeezy sweatshirts. I can appreciate a nice oversized pastel sweatshirt, but I don’t think most of the pieces in his collection merit the price charged. It’s kind of nuts, but he’s been smart in capitalizing on his fame and celebrity.
Maisha: What would you say makes for a good statement piece?
Ryan: Certainly a nice overcoat or cape would make a great statement piece, especially in a more vibrant color. But I think an understated wardrobe of solid, neutral colors can make just as much of a statement. My black Chelsea boots are one of my favorite possessions right now.
Maisha: Guide me through your ensemble selection for the day. What’s the process?
Ryan: Honestly, it really depends on the day of the week and the occasion I’m dressing for. When I’m just going to class, especially in the blistering cold we’ve had lately, I dress for comfort. I might wear a sweater, black jeans and my Stan Smith sneakers, along with a black or camel overcoat. When I’m going out on weekends, I’ll spend more time pairing colors and textures. I often enjoy wearing my vintage leather jacket with a mockneck sweater, jeans, and boots. I try to switch it up and experiment by pairing different pieces.
Maisha: What makes for the best combo look?
Ryan: Being from LA, my go-to outfit is this denim jacket I bought from ASOS, paired with a solid white or striped cotton t-shirt. That, along with skinny jeans and boots or sneakers is such a nice, classic look. I also love pairing a turtleneck or oversized sweater with wide leg trousers and white sneakers. I think I first saw that combination at Acne and I’ve been in love ever since.
Maisha: Have you had any experience working in fashion?
Ryan: I had always wondered what it’d be like to work retail, so last semester I applied around and ended up getting an interview at All Saints. I was really shook because I didn’t have retail experience. I did my research on the brand and went in to interview. The lady who interviewed me was literally Miranda Priestly, I kid you not. She looked me up and down and was like, “So what are you doing here? You don’t have any experience” and I got so nervous. I gave really strong answers to all of her questions but she seemed unimpressed. After telling her this five minute story about a customer service experience, I remember she just stared at me and said “Okay, well we’ll be in touch.” She ended up hiring me and told me she loved me, which obviously came as a shock. I just think it’s funny how seriously some people in higher end retail take their jobs. It’s a bit ridiculous.
Maisha: I know there is a story behind this white t-shirt. Would you like to tell us about it?
Ryan: Oh my god (laughter). Last summer I was seeing this guy in LA and I realized I didn’t have a plain white shirt to wear with my denim jacket. So of course I bought an incredibly overpriced one at James Perse. We ended up going to this arcade in Hollywood one night and I began sweating while playing Dance Dance Revolution. Forgetting that I had makeup on, I wiped my face onto the shirt and stained it. When we went back to his apartment that night, I washed it and hung it on the balcony to dry. When I checked it the next morning, there was a dotted line of rust down the center. Rather than throwing the shirt away, I decided to cut and distress it. They sell things like that at All Saints for $75, so I figured why not do it myself. It ended up becoming a really cute addition to my closet.