Ryan Seacrest has noticed a considerable change in the way men dress on the red carpet and it’s this appreciation for fashion that he’s hoping to capitalize on with his Ryan Seacrest Distinction label.
The television host and entrepreneur said that since launching his own line three years ago, he’s developed a more critical eye when it comes to men’s wear.
“Do I think I’m an expert? No,” he said. “But I do find myself looking at their clothes when they’re answering a question and saying to my other self: ‘You need to pay attention to what they’re saying because this is a live broadcast and you’ve got to respond.’ I think I’ve become more attention-oriented to what people are wearing and how they’re wearing it and generally they pull it off pretty well.”
His favorites are “the guys who play Bond [because they] always look fantastic, so when I close my eyes and dream of who I want to be, it’s one of those guys. But I’ve actually been impressed with how men on the red carpet are really paying close attention to the way they look. You’re seeing navy, red velvet, gray, brown — you’re not just seeing the standard black tuxedo. That makes the job much more fun.”
Seacrest said that although he’s had an appreciation for fashion for years, he wasn’t always the fashion plate that he is today. He showed some photos of himself as a chubby pre-teen with braces and said he had gotten “very familiar with husky acid-washed jeans.”
Even so, he said that he “really loved getting dressed up” as a young man and “looked forward to back-to-school shopping. That’s when I realized I liked to dress for occasions.”
When he got the job as host of “American Idol,” he started working with professional stylists, but much of what he wore in the early days was unflattering and ill-fitting. He joked that some of the looks that he walked out in front of 30 million people wearing included a pinstripe suit that was three sizes too big and an ensemble that looked like “Siegfried and Roy’s luggage got mixed up with mine.”
Eventually, he realized that he “wanted to establish more of a uniform for ‘American Idol.’”
“When this show started, I had not done a lot of live television and frankly, I was nervous before the shows. But then, I was introduced to a gentleman named Christopher Bailey and he and I became friends. I was a fan of his brand, Burberry, and I had asked if he would make some great suits, suits that would fit me right and that when I would put them on in the back of the stage, I would get the confidence I needed to come out and attempt to host the show as well as I could.”
Bailey agreed and Seacrest wore Burberry outfits for close to a decade on the show.
It was during that time that the host started thinking about his own line — one that “paid attention to detail, was tailored and that was also accessible.”
Together with Randa, PVH, Peerless and now Itochi, the Ryan Seacrest Distinction label was created and an exclusive was negotiated with Macy’s. The collection started with tailored clothing and furnishings, but for fall, will extend into sportswear. This addition, Seacrest said, addresses how he, and other modern guys, dress when they’re not wearing the “uniform” of a suit and tie.
“For us in Los Angeles, you’ve got to plan for your day and you do that with your look. You’ve got to work, it’s Friday and if you’re a single guy, you’ve got your lucky underwear on, you throw a blazer in the trunk and you put everything together and maybe you change it up, but you don’t really have a chance to go home and change what you want to wear for the evening.
“That was the impetus for how we wanted to grow Ryan Seacrest Distinction.”
He decided to invest by adding a creative director to design the new pieces and turned to Matteo Gottardi of Wrkshop Studio and the Wrk label.
“This is a business that we take very seriously,” Seacrest said. “We want to be successful. We want it to be liked, we want it to be sold. Without me having to tee it up, [Matteo] knew exactly where we wanted to take this line and how we wanted to do it.”
Gottardi added: “There isn’t this separation between day and night, between how a man buys his traditional clothing for work and how he wears his casual clothing.”
And Seacrest is “the perfect avenue to express this new step in men’s wear. By mixing sportswear pieces with traditional clothing, we created a new collection that we call Lifewear. And the idea is that you should always feel sophisticated, put together and when you walk outside of your house, you should feel proud of what you’re wearing.”
Lifewear consists of such pieces as fine-gauge turtlenecks, woven shirts with updated trim details, knit bottoms that look like dress pants and suede motorcycle jackets. And it will be merchandised within the tailored clothing departments at Macy’s, next to Seacrest’s tailored clothing.
“If we were to have four racks that have all tailored clothing followed by four racks that have all sportswear, I don’t think we’re teaching this customer how to be able to merge these two product categories,” Gottardi said.
Looking beyond Lifewear, Seacrest said he hopes to continue to grow his brand “at a strong pace, but a smart pace. I certainly don’t want to grow so fast and do so many things that we’re not doing it well. I take a lot of pride in this business, it has my name on it.”