‘Fashion is a place where my unusual ideas are not only accepted but encouraged.’
22-year-old fashion stylist Ryan Graham, a graduate from the University of Sunderland, is the creator and editor of menswear magazine ‘Man-Kind’. From conflicting stereotypical images of benefit claimants to futuristic styling, Ryan creates a magazine for the evolving face of menswear. He removes ‘the usual celebrity fluff’ for content ‘actually worth your time’. You can contact Ryan at firstname.lastname@example.org or via twitter at @ManKindMag. Check out Ryan Graham’s magazine ‘Man-Kind’.
What is the background of the work you submitted?
The work submitted is editorial styling work I created for my final major project at University. I created a menswear magazine that places emphasis on creative styling and innovative designers. Throughout, I thought of interesting concepts that would lend themselves to creative visuals.
So tell us about the first image you submitted.
There is a lot of focus on benefits within the UK. Shows such as the Channel 4 TV series ‘Benefits Street’ spark debate and frequently portray benefit claimants as scroungers. These people are often shown in dilapidated areas yet still possess luxury items such as iPhones. I wanted to tap into this media portrayal and tell it as a tongue in cheek fashion story. iPhones were replaced with luxury fashion. The concept behind the styling is to make viewers feel uncomfortable when presented with someone who aesthetically fits the media’s portrayal of a benefits claimant, yet is dressed in designer clothing.
What is the story behind this image?
There was a real authentic sportswear/street wear feel, alongside a strong “chav” influence. There is a pinch of irony included, given that the media’s portrayal is hardly representative of those who claim benefits. It’s a theme that tells a real story. It is also an issue that is increasingly more prevalent given the announcement that a further £12bn will be cut from the welfare budget.
Tell us about the other two images you have submitted
As a race, humans have always had a fascination with space. Today, there is much talk of colonising Mars. I wanted to tell the fashion story of what future fashion may look like when we leave Earth.
How did you create this look?
Photography was taken under gel lighting to reflect the warm hues of Mars. These contrasted with stark black and white imagery, in which most mid tones were completely blown out. This gives a bright aesthetic to represent the brightness an astronaut would experience when leaving their shuttles and taking their first steps into space. With the styling, I focused on materials, textures and shape; Neoprene, PVC, reflective fabrics and metallics were prominent throughout.
What inspires you creatively?
I’m inspired by events that are happening within the world. An idea can’t come from nothing! It’s always interesting to form a narrative or commentary on a contemporary issue.
What is your favourite film of all time?
I love anything sci-fi, end-of-the-world, fantasy or horror. My favourite? It’s such a hard choice… Anything ‘Lord of The Rings’!
What is your favourite music track or album right now?
My favourite music track is Baz Luhrmann’s ‘Everybody’s Free To Wear Sunscreen’. I first heard this song a few years ago. We live in such a busy time and there’s so much pressure on everyone at every moment. This song completely chills me out. It has a message that everyone can draw from.
What is your favourite on-line Video?
My favourite online video is Vivienne Westwood’s conversation with Shami Chakrabarti at the Southbank Centre. Vivienne Westwood is so intelligent and inspiring; she challenges people to think. I could listen to her talk for hours.
What is your favourite website for inspiration?
My favourite website is the inspirational platform ‘Fucking Young’ Magazine. It features new and innovative designers, interesting articles and awe-inspiring editorials. I love it! I also love their print editions. I’m a big fan of Dazed Digital too!
What is hot or new in the world and/or where you live?
What is ‘hot’ to me is dark androgyny; men embracing new silhouettes and new fashion, with layers, textures and experimental proportions. Rick Owens, Julius, Thamanyah and InAisce are a few of my favourites.
What does Fashion mean to you?
Since I was young, I’ve always thought differently from others. I’ve always been visually led and creative. To me, fashion is a place where my unusual ideas are not only accepted but encouraged. Fashion is a place of beauty, creativity and aspirations.
What would be your ideal Fashion Project?
My ideal fashion project would be anything involving styling and editorial work. I’d also love a project involving branding and creating packaging – anything involving graphic design. I immerse myself in any project because it’s always a chance to further myself creatively. I see it as a chance to grow.
What would be your ideal collaboration?
If I was to collaborate with someone, they would be passionate, hardworking and easy to get along with. In my final major project, I collaborated with my friend Emma Wearden, a fine art photographer. The whole experience was great. It was amazing to collaborate with someone as creative as she is.
How do you imagine your future?
My ideal career would be as an art editor or stylist for a fashion magazine. I’ve always wanted to work for a fashion magazine for as long as I can remember. Outside of my career, I want to live in a cottage in the middle of nowhere, where I can grow my own vegetables and go hiking.
What would be your ideal internship?
I would love to intern at a fashion magazine. Anything behind the scenes that involves makeup, styling, photoshoots and post production work would be fantastic. I’m also open to similar work outside of a magazine context.
I wonder how I can successfully attain an internship and how to turn that into a full-time career.
What do you think? Why not tell us in the comment section below.
Ryan Graham is a finalist for Modeconnect’s #YourView15 fashion competition sponsored by Bloomsbury Publishing. The support of our sponsor extends to all our readers: until the end of July 2015 they can benefit from 20% off ALL Bloomsbury’s fashion and design books! Just use the code YOURVIEW2015 at the checkout on www.bloomsbury.com.
Voting open 11th – 19th July 2015.