R Ryan Mcghee is a fashion designer and talented craftsman. She can create the most amazing and beautiful outfits – overnight!
She makes clothes, silk scarves and felted kimonos. Her work is unique, colorful and stands over the trends. Ryan also loves to have fun with vintage items; from old pieces of clothes, she can design the most modern, fun and fashionable outfits. Her personal style is amazing: playful, creative and very organic.
I have always been very much an individual and have used fashion as a way to express myself, all the way back to middle school. Growing up, I was extremely, painfully shy and used my sense of fashion as my way to stand out. Creating fashion has constantly been my major creative outlet.
I have never been satisfied with something off the rack or a clothing pattern from the pattern book. Anything I might purchase would be taken home and altered to become mine. This actually got me into trouble on my first job out of college. I worked at a small fabric shop, where we were encouraged to use patterns and fabric from the shop to make something and place it on display to encourage sales. Every time I made an outfit, I was determined to make it exactly as shown on the pattern. But it never worked out that way. My finished product was distinctly my design and not the pattern. I always put it on display anyway and took the scolding.
The AHA moment that I might really be good at this was when I worked at the small fabric shop and a regular customer approached me, asking if I would design and sew something for her. She went on to explain she had, until recently, worked for the designer Betsy Johnson; but had to take early retirement, due to severe arthritis in her hands. She still went to fashion week and attended the shows and parties. She wanted a couple of one-of-a-kind dresses to wear and had seen what I had placed on display. I designed and sewed two dresses she loved. She then asked me to go with her, so she could introduce me around and get me a job in the business. (I was young, stupid and in love, so I said thanks, but I can’t go).
My favorite artists are Raphael Kirchner, Monet and Japanese artists from the 1800. Monet and Kirchner, because of their use of color — the softness. Especially Monet, I can stare into his painting and see it as a whole; but then peer at each brush stroke and see something different. Japanese artists picture the simple… the singular. And they reflect the calm… peacefulness and complex. The fashion designers I keep an eye on are Betsy Johnson, because of her fabulous use of color and anything over-the-top designs. The other designer I love is the Japanese designer, Issey Miyake. He takes traditional Japanese style and brings it to now with his unique twist. He has clean lines that are simple at first glance, but as you study the design, you notice the hidden complexities. His designs remind me of Japanese artwork and I love anything having to do with Japanese culture/style.
When I hand dye or felt scarves, the designs and colors aren’t planned. I put out all of my supplies and start with one color that just leads to the next color and to the next. Its all very spontaneous.
My favorite changes constantly, depending on what I just created. Right now, it’s the felt wrap with the burgundy flower vine. I love the colors and simplicity of the design. But if you look closely, you can see the details in the flowers and the vine.
I look for simplicity: clean lines, softness, minimalist – I have a Japanese view of life – of my surroundings, my home. I can’t live in clutter, excess or complexity.
Felted clothing, including vests and dresses, is what I am working on presently. I am planning on creating surface designs on vintage kimono for everyday wear, and vests made from vintage kimono and other fabrics. The surface designs will include hand painting, beading and stenciling. And of course, more hand dyed and felted scarves and wraps.