Interview with Ryan Pabelona from Revolve Clothing and Fwrd.com
I have followed Ryan on Instagram for a while, and I have always loved his ability to change up his style and adapt new clothing into his wardrobe. I thought it was time to interview him because of his versatile style and inquire about his position with Revolve Clothing. Here is our interview with Ryan Pabelona aka @ry__sl.
Just to start - a brief bio about yourself- and what do you do for a living?
"My name is Ryan. I'm 27 and living in Long Beach, California.
I currently work in LA as Senior Manager of Marketing for REVOLVEclothing.com and FWRD.com. REVOLVE carries over 500 brands selling men's and women's clothing, leather goods, shoes and accessories. FWRD sells high end brands such as Saint Laurent, Rick Owens, Givenchy and Margiela."
That is so cool. How has working for a high fashion retailer affected your style?
"Well it has definitely gotten me try new things. Part of it is being around a lot of stylish people and drawing inspiration from them. The other part is getting exposed to a lot of brands and designers that I wouldn't have known about otherwise. Our buyers are great at identifying trends and breaking new brands. Plus it's nice having all the product right there at the office to look at, feel, try on, etc.
My favorite part about working in fashion is being able to wear whatever I want. I work in an office setting, but it's completely normal and acceptable to be wearing a leather biker jacket, destroyed jeans and fringed suede sneakers — gotta love that! Plus the discount on all the merchandise, that's definitely a great perk :) "
That is definitely a perk to be able to try on the clothes and get a feel for them. What is your most essential thing your wardrobe ? (could be more than one)
"I would say my Rick Owens leather baseball cap. I wear it almost every day. I like having a signature look and for me it's definitely my hats. I own a ton of caps, beanies, fedoras, etc. But I wear the Rick one most often.
As far as essentials go I think everyone needs to have a black leather jacket. I'm fond of the biker/perfecto style so I love my Saint Laurent L17 jacket. It's that classic punk style but with Hedi Slimane's updated silhouette.
I also never leave the house without a necklace on. I have quite a few in my rotation, but my favorite is one I actually made from some string and a pendant a friend gave me of the word hope. I think it's important to have accessories to keep outfits interesting, but also to have personal touches like this where it's one of a kind and you didn't just buy it from a store."
Jewelry is something I would like to expand into. What are some of your favorite sneakers out at the moment?
"My favorite sneakers right now would have to be my Saint Laurent fringe sneakers in the hazelnut colorway. The details on those are just so on point. The best sneaker to come out in a while in my opinion.
I also got my hands on a pair of the Yeezy Boost 350 lows ahead of the release date and they are pretty dope. I could see myself wearing them a lot. "
Very good picks, those are so dope.
Working for a retailer, what do you think about the re-sale game? - since you brought up the Yeezys.
"Personally, I think resellers hurt the game. I understand there's an opportunity to make money and I can't blame anyone for that, but at the same time, as a fan, it's disappointing missing out on releases because of resellers. And then there's kids out there paying resale prices which is just sad. I only ever buy stuff for me, never to resell. I wear everything I buy too. I think the last release I ever really tried to get were the Bred 1s a couple years back. After I missed out on those I gave up on hyped shoes. I don't mind paying higher prices for designer kicks if it means I don't have to go out of my way to get a pair. Luckily FWRD carries the Yeezys and I'm able to get them through work!
As a retailer I don't really care about resellers as long as the product is moving. Though most places should enforce a quantity limit to at least give everyone a fair chance. "
I have asked myself this question a lot, but do you think buying clothing constantly is considered a bad form of materialism?
"I think most people would say that it is, but I don't necessarily think that's a bad thing. Materialism is defined as being concerned with possessions and tangible things at the expense of personal interactions and the cultural, spiritual and intellectual areas of life.
I think if you're a well-balanced person who values friends, family, education, hard work, etc. then there's nothing wrong with liking nice things, whether it's clothes or cars or gadgets. Some people call it materialistic, but to me it's just appreciating beauty, design and craftsmanship. Different strokes, I suppose."
I agree. What do you think social media has brought to your businesses and your personal style? Do you like bloggers?
"Personally I love social media because it connects me with people with similar tastes and interests that I never would have met otherwise. I have good friends that I actually met through Instagram and Facebook groups.
When I first started getting into fashion 8 years ago it was all about online forums like Superfuture and Styleforum. Now with things like Instagram it's so much easier to just chop it up with people who are into the same aesthetic as you. I don't follow bloggers so much but I've definitely drawn inspiration from other people on social media.
From a business perspective it's super important as well because no one will take you seriously unless you have a social media presence. We have a great social media team that really connects with our fan base and provides a lot of unique and interesting content that resonates with our girl.
It's also interesting to be in this space right now as it's changing rapidly with all the ways companies are trying to monetize social media. Pretty soon there's going to be a way for people to buy products off Instagram which is pretty crazy and exciting."
There is so much that can be done through social media. I forgot to ask if you travel a lot for your job, and have you met any cool people through work?
"I don't get to travel too often, unless it's for a conference which I do a couple times a year. But we are doing some events in New York this summer in the Hamptons, so I'm hoping to get out there to check it out.
We collaborate with a lot of celebrities so it's fun seeing them around the office and at events. We've worked with Iggy Azalea, Emily Ratajkowski, Chrissy Teigen, Ciara, and even Kim Kardashian in the past."
That sounds exciting for sure! Does being based in California give you any advantage, or does it matter anymore with everyone's ability to connect?
"Being in LA I feel it's definitely easier to connect with people even in the internet age. There's just more people into fashion here, and you're able to be more adventurous with your fashion choices. A lot of people vacation or take trips here as well, so I've gotten to meet up with a lot of people from all over the place because they were going to be in town for a few days or whatever.
And it's hard to top the shopping in LA. You can find anything and everything here, no matter what look you're into. And the vintage/thrift scene is better here than anywhere else."
What is the best fashion advice and or life advice you have received ?
"I honestly haven't been given any meaningful fashion advice but if I had to give some, it would be this: Dress for yourself, not others. Fashion should be personal and fun and you should be comfortable in whatever you're wearing. Don't buy clothes just to fit into a certain aesthetic or be part of the hype machine. Don't be dressed by the internet!
Best life advice: “There is nothing noble in being superior to your fellow man; true nobility is being superior to your former self.” Hemingway said that, and it really resonated with me because I think humility is an important virtue to have. There's too much arrogance in fashion these days. Having designer clothes doesn't make you better than anyone. People who don't know me personally probably think I'm materialistic or spoiled but I actually grew up relatively poor and in a bad neighborhood where no one had much of anything. I never forget that. The only person I want to be better than is who I was yesterday."
Thank you so much to Ryan for the interview. Follow him on social media to keep up with his style! - @ry__sl.