Glam and Graffiti Streetlight
Samii Ryan, Accessories Designer, BySamiiRyan.com
GG: Hi Samii! Thanks for joining me. We will warm-up with some basics. How old were you when you first started designing and what was your first piece?
I started By Samii Ryan shortly after I graduated high school in 2009. I started on my Etsy website making fascinator headbands and other accessories. Then I continued to work on the projects and expand my products. Now I have clothing and accessories. My favorite piece right now is the “Pentaheart Dress”.
GG: You have worked closely with Seventeen Magazine as a member of their Style Council. What have you learned through this experience that will help you in building your own career?
Working with Seventeen Magazine has been so much fun and I have enjoyed every experience so much with them. I have learned that it is good to be yourself. They choose to work with me because I am myself, I am different, and I don’t particularly follow the trends. I am hoping to work with Seventeen more in the future and continue our relationship.
“I have learned it is good to be yourself.”
GG: That’s really fantastic! The Style Council sounds great. Thinking in the future, where do you see By Samii Ryan in 3 years?
I would love to expand to have more accessories and clothing. Right now I am designing new products and I hope to get into more stores. I want to be a household name and I want people to see By Samii Ryan in department stores all through the country. I am always striving for more.
GG: It can take a lot of patience, creativity, and passion to start your own company at a young age. What advice do you have for a young entrepreneur?
Well, I would just say think outside the box. You need to find your own nitch, work around it, and try to expand. There are hundreds of clothing companies but it is what makes you different and unique that matters. Getting your stuff on celebrities helps too!
GG: What do you recommend to students interested in breaking into the fashion industry?
Be yourself and be unique. I have been trying to avoid fashion magazine lately so other things can inspire me, not just what is trending now. Buyers want to buy products from the trendsetters, not the trend followers. So I am working on new unique products, which I hope more stores will want to pick-up.
GG: That’s great advice. You seem to have a strong Native American influence in your design aesthetic. How does this culture inspire you to create such gorgeous statement pieces?
When I was aroung 14, my best friend was dancing in Pow Wow’s and was digging into her culture. I was so interested in the whole culture and she even taught me how to dance! Whenever I am around Native American people I feel a calming and soothing energy. I want to push that energy through my products.
GG: Recently, I have seen new t-shirts and merchandise hitting your site. Tell us about your latest ventures and some of the louder statements By Samii Ryan is standing for?
This time I decided to create a line of over-sized tees and unique dresses. I was trying to create stuff that I would wear on an everyday basis. I decided to create the “We Love Gays” tee because of all the media frenzy over the Chick-Fil-A’s saying how they don’t believe in gay marriage. I have a lot of gay people in my family and I believe there should be no law for love. I also donate to the HRC Campaign for each tee purchase. You can definitely make a statement with that one.
GG: What trends do you see this fall/ winter that GG readers should keep an eye on? Any Spring 13 trends we should keep in mind?
A trend for me in particular is 90’s grunge. Fashion always comes back in style one way or another. This fall I think that over-sized jean jackets, flannels, combat boots, and dark lipstick is super cute and I have seen a lot of people rocking that look. I am loving it! Trends for Spring 13’ that I think what I will be creating will be a fun trend. I am in the works of designing a new accessory that I think will be a hit with everyone.
Samii Ryan in the GG Hot Seat
Hometown: Bethlehem, PA
The perfect Friday night would include these three things…Chai, Hookah Lounge, Friends.
My role model is … I don’t really have a particular role model, but I love the Olsen twins. They are very inspiring to me.
Favorite place to get lost…I don’t like getting lost because I get anxiety, but I like getting lost in designing and libraries, haha!
When I was growing-up I always wanted to be a… I have always wanted to be a designer. I used to have a sketch book of drawings of what I loved. I also love shoes, so maybe I will start a shoe line one day!
The artist on repeat on my iPod right now is… David Bowie, The Beatles, The Decembrists.
The go-to item in my closet is… High-waisted jeans and massive heels.
I live by the quote…
“Enjoy the challenge, seek perspective.”
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So, what’s your favorite Samii Ryan piece?
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