DPTR sat down with Ryan Beshel to talk fashion, life, and how to excel at what you love. The man with the bowtie has been seen on air with FOX, NBC and ABC showcasing his thought leadership on style and trends.
Were you always fashionable, even as a young kid?
God no, I was wearing my brothers and uncles hand me downs. Clothes were being passed around my big Polish family. I never thought I was cool enough to be fashionable.
When were you turned onto fashion?
- 2005, I'm still learning as I go. I was working at P.F Changs for a month taking film classes at Columbia,but, I decided to drop out before my last class, it just wasn't right for me. While waiting tables at P.F. Changs, I met the district manager for French Connection. He took a liking to me and told me I should go into his store and meet with the manager about a job with them. I started working as an associate and figuring how to put looks together, something I always had a thing for, but never put to use. I quickly worked up to Visual Merchandising Manager, which was a position they created for me. I was interning, serving tables, going to school.. sleeping 4 hours a night. Just meeting Michael from French Connection changed the course of my entire life. I would love to get a hold of him and tell him how much he influenced me. I have a lot of those types of moments, you need to pay attention to them.
Were you always this social butterfly?
- Definitely not! When I was in high school I didn't say a word. I watched people interact with one another and just observed more than anything. I was treated really badly through those years. Once I got out of high school I just exploded to this person that wanted to be heard. Those 4 years of not sticking up for myself or voicing my opinion just erupted out of me. I literally just flipped personalities and once I began finding out who I was, I was able to really come out of my shell.
If you met the Ryan that you were at the Art Institute of Chicago, what would you say to him about the course your professional life has taken you?
- Don't take it to seriously, don't stress myself out too much and give myself more credit. I have a fear of failure, but, you need to learn to use your personality traits (even the negative ones) to help/motivate you... All in all just to chill out and take a deep breath.
Take me through a work day?
- Everything I do is correspondence. I’m connecting people with places, things, stories, images. Constantly emailing, facebooking, staying up to date in the social scene. Last week I was busy booking models and pulling clothes for a segment on WCIU. The next day, I ran to do the show at 7:45a.m. and had to be at FOX for another segment at 8:40a.m. After the segments, I was back at the office to return the clothes and greet an editor who was doing a pull for a celebrity who is in town. Lunch comes whenever I can swing it - and often after 2p.m. I'm sending emails as I go and I always love some time to actually sit at my desk and collect my thoughts, take notes and fill in my Outlook Calendar. I would be nothing without my Outlook Calendar!
Are you ever not on your phone?
No, I’m always connecting. 2013 Im going to start changing the way I’m being Ryan Beshel and balance a bit better.
Favorite Event you've been to this year?
- Just this past week, I got to work with one of my very best friends, Ricardo Sebastian (of Luxury Management), for his 3rd Annual #Midsummer2013 event that raised funds and awareness for the Center for Gender, Sexuality & HIV Prevention at the Ann & Robert H. Lurie Children’s Memorial Hospital. The fashion show took place at the Waldorf Astoria and I was thrilled to involve 900 North Michigan Shops as the exclusive retailer for the show. Getting to work with someone I care for so much - and working with a very worthy beneficiary - made this event one of my favorites of 2013.
How would you describe the Chicago fashion scene?
- First random word that comes to mind is talent. Chicago as a whole is deserving of attention for what people are creating. The problem is exposure, designers make beautiful things then they go to New York because Chicago doesn't have the support and materials. You can't source fabric here or manufacture cost effectively, we don't have the industry here - but, we do have a community. I've seen it since I've been in the city that its here. Some of the designs are lacking, however. Designers need to look outside of Chicago more often to help hone their eye. Finally - be loud that you're from this city and are making clothes!
What do you love most about your job and what you do?
- Getting to work with people makes me happy. My job is always changing and always a challenge and I like that excitement. My favorite days are when I get to do TV. There's something so thrilling - and equally terrifying - about being live on-air. You always have to be a thought ahead of yourself and as prepared as you can be.
What pissed you off most about fashion/industry?
- People that haven't earned their place and just go to all the parties with a sense of entitlement. People who are mean - and who propel the negative stereotypes of fashion - drive me crazy. There's no need to be an asshole, its only fashion.
What are you listening to now?
- It may sound stupid or make perfect sense but I can't stop listening to Justin Timberlake "Suit & Tie". It’s made for me. I have solo dance parties in my house to this, the fact that him and Tom Ford are together on this makes me want to fall off a chair. Also love Adele and Florence and the Machine. Oh - and my girl, Gaga? Yes, please. "Applause" is on repeat right now. - right after "Blurred Lines", of course. Shout out to Robin Thicke! #swoon
Favorite item in your closet?
- Black and silk paisley pattern bow tie, first one I ever bought. I also have a tux coat a friend gave me from a show, fits like a glove, I wear it with black jeans. Ialso have a mint blazer that I got from one of my best friends that always seems to get attention. I honestly have a lot less clothes than people think I do.
Favorite Chicago restaurant?
- Glenn's Diner on Montrose, I used to live near there. Sienna Tavern is amazing. Girl on the Goat.. duh.
Favorite hangout spot?
- For calm drinks: Downtown Bar. For dancing like a maniac: Scarlet Bar (love the entire team there.) Though I am often out at swanky bars for events and such - I really love a good hole in the wall bar. Give me a whiskey/ginger - and consider me smiling.
What does your style say about you?
- If you dress like the CEO people will think you are. I like to dress as Mad Men as possible - and I appreciate a grownup masculinity when I dress. On the other hand - I always appreciate the opportunity to show off my tattoos - so, if you catch me in a tank top, don't be too shocked. We all have our "off" days! You can persuade so many people by what you're wearing, it says everything about you. The way you dress makes you able to show which person you want to be that day.
What do you do to keep current in the PR industry?
- Keep an eye on what my competition is doing. Always looking to social media and maintaining all my relationships. Being able to sit across from someone is priceless.
Front row at the Oscars what are you wearing?
- Easy, Tom Ford, his brand is amazing, impeccable. He is so controlled and confident - and it shows in everything he does.
Where do you get your drive to be this entrepreneur?
- I never had this planned. I always have chatter inside my head, but there is a certain voice that I have heard only twice. One day, I woke in the morning and heard a voice say "it's time to go to college" and I did. The next time I heard that same voice, it said "you're going to be on TV" and I was. I don't know how this all happened, I can't tell you how to do it, but I can tell you how to be when you're doing it. Be well dressed, be prepared, be nice, meet as many people as possible. Bust your ass, you can sleep when you're 60 ... or when you're rich.