We all know that most creative people in New York have a hyphen in their job title: Creative Director-Editor, Writer-Publicist, Agent-Publisher. So It was no surprise when I heard about Ryan Lobo, Stylist-Designer. Even though everyone in Manhattan has more on their plate they can handle, we add more.
And for almost three seasons now he has been designing TOME, a womenswear line that is getting a great response from retailers around the world as well as kudos from the press.
We sat down in his charming little studio on the Lower East Side to discuss his move to New York, his love for flashy styling, and American sportswear.
What brought you to the States?
My business partner, Ramon Martin, was already here. We met at fashion college 15 years ago and always promised that if we were to have a line we would do it together. In late 2010 he was considering just that and gave me a ring. I didn’t hesitate moving here to work on this venture with him.
We also always saw our line as an American line. American sportswear is so great and totally our focus so it makes sense to design it from New York.
What is Ramon’s background?
Most recently he was at Derek Lam as Design Director for three years. Before that he was at J. Mendel, Gaultier and Ferretti, always working for very high end lines.
Tell us how you became a stylist.
I started off as a buyer out of college and did that for six years; that put me in touch with lots of young designers in Australia. I would help them put together look books and shows. At some point someone from a magazine asked me to style a story and six months later I left my job and have been a stylist for eight years now.
I still very much enjoy working with young designers in Australia and am slowly meeting more here.
Where did you meet young designers here?
Through the showroom where we have TOME, and I now share my studio with one of them. But I have been working on getting the foundation of design in place before I get out and meet loads of new people.
What does TOME stand for?
We have so many chapters in our careers but collectively this is our first volume to the next book. Tome is a very sober word which preempts the mood of the label - sober and quite pure and hopefully intellectual. We are always inspired by writers, artists and performers.
How do you describe your styling inspiration? It seems so much more aggressive than your design work.
It is probably a lot more glamourous and flashy. Tome is much more understated. When you are working for editorial or shooting advertising you can really push things and have lighting, hair, makeup and gorgeous models. But when dealing with selling clothes for people to live their lives in, and you are asking people to fork out money for that privilege, the suggestion has to be a bit more subtle, earthy, realistic.
So styling is a bit more fantasy but design work is grounded in selling clothes.
Are you a social media person?
I have a blog, and I feature previews of work I have done, beauty secrets, restaurants I like or a show I have been to see. It’s not too personal, more work related.
TOME has Twitter and FaceBook that I update and we follow everyone else's.
Is social media big in Australia?
Yes! Especially because of the distance Australia has from everyone else. They were an early embracer so they can keep in touch with what everyone is doing globally.
Tell us where we will find you when not working?
In bed! Honestly, that’s about it. We are here 7 days a week.
Ryan Lobo is represented by @FordArtists