Aw man! It feels so good to be writing these Original Stories again. I took a little break to gather my thoughts on the direction of the series. Although we live in a digital age where content is consumed like fast food, I wanted to allow (sort of forced, honestly) you guys to fully digest and enjoy the existing tales of the talented individuals I am blessed to know. Quality over quantity is my strategy.
With that said, allow me to present my latest interviewee, Ryan Mulry aka Monsieur Mulry. As you may have guessed, Ryan and I met at my old office in BAPE (yes, I'm talking about the second floor of the shop). In A$AP Rocky's single "A$AP Forever," the self-proclaimed PMF proudly boasted he had "Goyard by the sack," but I can personally attest that Ryan had it by the boatloads about a decade before the bags were a much sought-out accessory in the Rap world.
The New Jersey-native and I clicked instantly simply because we share the same, chill vibes. As fashionable as he was (and still is), he didn't have any sense of entitlement or cockiness and treated those around him with absolute respect. It was all love whenever he stopped by to cop our latest threads, but we never actually kicked it outside of the shop. This is why it's such a pleasure to finally have a sit-down with him after all these years to find out more about his life beyond the lavish aesthetics.
Check out our dialogue below:
FRENDY: Ryan, the man! Thanks for taking the time to chat. It's been a minute since we actually saw or spoke to each other so I'm excited to know what you've been up to.
RYAN: What's up Frendy! It's an honor to have this discussion with you so many years later. So much has happened for both of us—I think we are two examples of people really living what we do and look forward to talking about that.
FRENDY: Amen! It's all about authenticity at the end of the day. So, let's get right to it—how'd you afford all that Goyard back in the day? *Laughs*. Nah, I'm just playing. What initially drew you to the French trunk and leather goods luxury brand?
RYAN: *Laughs*. That's always peoples first thought like, "How did you afford this or that?" *Laughs*. I could lie to you and front like I worked hard for all my pieces, but the truth is that I was just really blessed to work at Barneys New York during the time I did. I got a huge discount, not to mention the fact that Goyard used to be about 50% price of what it is today, so it was easier to purchase—yet still very expensive.
It was always more [pricey] than Louis Vuitton, which is why some people immediately saw it as an elitist brand based off that alone. One day I was having a discussion with Lupe Fiasco about it and I believe he was an example of that mentality. His exact words to me were, "it's an elitist thing." While that may be true, I never looked at it like that. To me, it was the fact of how the canvas was printed and the materials being used that really captured me. Mixed with the fact that people didn't really know what it was back then—I was in love! I prefer things that are under-the-radar and don't draw too much attention for my everyday uniform. A subtle stunt, rather than everything all in your face. Less is more, you know?
FRENDY: Beautifully said! I totally agree. Furthermore, once you deeply know that "you're the shit," you can rock virtually anything and it's praised by the masses. It's energy more than anything, but that's for another story. Oh ok, so you actually worked for the brand. Were you at its New York store location or corporate offices?
RYAN: It's funny you mention energy—I'm a firm believer of manifestation and the powers we all hold within ourselves. Confidence is definitely key. Style is subjective and really boils down to what makes you feel good personally. As far as Goyard, I did indeed work for the brand. The corporate offices in New York are actually located above the store within the townhouse.
The Goyard home in New York is truly beautiful and one of a kind. I am grateful I got to open that to the public and be a part of the experience. All love for all my Goyard family in France, they have showed me love from day one when I just had a cardholder and a dream *Laughs*. Now I'm on to new projects with business partners I was fortunate enough to meet during my time with the brand. I have to say Goyard has been very good to me for the 10 years it has been involved in my life—it has done nothing but attract like minded friends and family. Interestingly enough, the brand has shaped a major part of my life and I couldn't be more grateful for it. Shout out Goyard man!
FRENDY: Damn, that's whats up! It must be nice to be appreciated by such a huge brand *Laughs*. Let's take it back a bit before all the fashion happenings. Earlier you mentioned that you grew up in New Jersey. Where exactly?
RYAN: *Laughs* Yeah for sure! I am extremely grateful for that, but I also worked hard to earn it. I know you can say the same for one of many people's dream company as well! In a way, BAPE and Goyard both share the same mysterious beginnings. Definitely two cult brands—severely different spectrums, but both have undeniable similarities in the culture of the companies.
I did grow up in New Jersey, another thing I'm grateful for. My father is fully Irish, catholic born and raised in the Bronx. My mother was born and raised in Barranquilla, Colombia. The two met in North Jersey at work and the rest is history *Laughs*. We lived about 25 miles outside of Manhattan so getting to the city was very easy for me via public transportation. I never really connected to the town I grew up in and felt like the city gave me an escape out of the differences I felt in High School. I connected with people who cared about art and fashion through my Saturday Live classes at FIT. I would take the bus on Saturday mornings to attend my weekend school there. It was there I learned how to screen print—my life changed after that!
FRENDY: That's awesome! Many kids in HS wouldn't even think about changing their environment for some new inspiration. They would rather wallow in their own sorrow of not being able to fit in. Did you actually end up attending FIT to obtain your Bachelor's degree?
RYAN: Not even wallow, but I would just say accept things. A lot of people would rather accept what's happening instead of making a change. It's hard for people to go through times of discomfort so many choose to avoid it. I prefer to explore and go outside, rather than remain in a box.
I ended up moving to Chicago to attend Columbia College for a year before I got accepted and transferred to FIT. I was happy to be in New York, but it wasn't the right place for me at the time so I ended up transferring to Parsons. I think Parsons was the best place for me to be, I met some of my best friends there and truly feel I learned a lot about my environment in the creative career world. I ended up dropping out of Parsons because I felt like I got everything I needed at the time and had to move on to the next venture.
FRENDY: What's the most important lesson you learned at Parsons?
RYAN: I learned so much there it's hard to say the most important thing, but if I really look back as a whole, my time spent at Parsons helped me continue going after my dreams. I met like minded people that turned into my actual network. The people I met are more valuable than any actual courses I took while studying there.
FRENDY: Hey, as the old saying goes: your network is your net worth. When were you initially conscious of your fashion sense? Did your parents put you on to brands at an early age?
RYAN: Yeah man, the saying is definitely true. I have learned you're only as strong as your weakest link. My parents didn't really put me on to brands, but my mom and her whole family gave me style for sure. My aunt was really the one into European designers and really knew how to shop. My aunt Vera is the flyest, [she] always had dope Chanel pieces, good Gucci *Laughs*. The best part, though, was that she knew how to get things when they were on sale or at outlets, and the real come ups she would always find. I learned that from her and my mom.
I really got into those things around my sophomore year when I could start saving for little sunglasses and small pieces, from places like Century 21 or the D&G store in Short Hills *Laughs*. That was D&G, not to be confused with main line Dolce at that time. I definitely was stretching for the sale D&G tees!! I truly found my style in HS toward senior year when I probably first met you at BAPE. It was before I was a regular customer. I really started to mix street, everyday style with denim and found my way. After I moved to New York, I started working at Barneys and I met one of my best friends and soulmates, Sheena. She put me on to Rick Owens and that changed my life for real! It was over *Laughs*. From then on, there was never another designer that I could eat so effortlessly and feel so comfortable in.
I love mixing Rick classics with my own tees, VLONE, M65 jeans with Rick leather! That's one of my favorite outfits. Anything made by Hedi Slimane to me is collectible. My Rick clothes are more wearable for everyday, but I like to archive any boots and piece of clothes from jackets to denim that Hedi has made—he was the first designer for me, before Rick even, back in his Dior days. I couldn't afford anything and didn't know how to get the pieces at the time, but I would stare at his Dior boots in Saks [Fith Avenue] and dream of owning a pair. He was the defining style for me and truly made wardrobes, uniforms, timeless pieces in the most incredible fits.
But yeah man, I have always been into fashion as a young kid, I was wearing Rage Against The Machine or Beastie Boys shirts. Always in some band shirts—Nirvana for sure. That was like first through eight grade forever. I started dying my hair blue in the sixth grade and was wearing ball chain necklaces back then even, which is a huge trend today *Laughs*. A lot of the things I was doing then I still do today. So in terms of style, you could say I always had that, I was always, even at a young age, aware of that. I started gaining knowledge of the fashion greats and just getting to know the world in general as I got older. I think style is something you're born with.
FRENDY: You're absolutely right! A lot of your style choices back then are still prevalent today. It just goes to show that you dressed according to your innate feelings, rather then following the herd. Speaking of VLONE, I know that you're close with the ASAP Mob, especially ASAP Bari. How did that friendship come about?
RYAN: *Laughs* Yeah, I have love for the entire mob and will always be grateful for them showing me love as well. I am very proud of all of them and how far they have truly come. You can really look at each individual member and see them doing things that really inspire today's culture, in terms of fashion, music and overall style. They are true leaders and I am extremely grateful to have been around their energy. I have Bari to thank for that, of course. He's like a brother to me and I couldn't be more proud of VLONE and everything it has accomplished thus far.
I really met them all in 2012 at Venice Beach after Coachella on some universal planning shit *Laughs*. Bari and I just clicked over some style and ideas that people didn't really embrace like us at that time, and the rest is history. I live in Harlem and have a home today because of him, I'm grateful to say the least. Shout out to Sheena as well, she gave me a home in the East Village when I didn't have my own place. I have been blessed to have the best people come to me and go from friends to family. I have a lot friends, but family are the ones I truly live for and love to death. Shout out to Alex, Shaun and Ashley as well.
FRENDY: Real friends make the world go 'round. The universe works in wondrous ways for real—I know all about that *Laughs*.
RYAN: Yeah, real friends and family indeed!
FRENDY: You said that Bari and yourself instantly clicked due to having similar taste in style. What was your first fashion talk with him?
RYAN: Honestly, I couldn't tell you what that was exactly, but I could tell you our mutual love of Ksubi brought us together. Another brand I learned about at Barneys. Ksubi, in my eyes, was the best denim company era. They had the most amazing skinny jeans that were the best fits and washes you could find. No one was really making skinny jeans like Ksubi. Not even close!
FRENDY: Yeah, some of my boys from down under knew the guys behind the brand—they definitely had the denim game on lock! I saw some BTS photos of you, Bari and Rocky at the VLONE Paris fashion show. Were you helping them out with their presentation?
RYAN: I was lucky enough to be the assistant stylist to Bari who was the director and head stylist. That was a dream come true—fuck everybody, we put on a fashion show in Paris! Men's Fashion Week! The day prior was a Kim Jones LV show, Rick show, etc. and none of those drew excitement or fresh energy the way "Black History" did, that was the genius title of the show. The name itself is self explanatory, it is powerful and is in fact now a monumental piece of history.
That really meant alot for me. I didn't do that show for Instagram, I didn't go to Paris so we could take pictures with people. Everyone wants to see me post on Instagram and all that. We went there to put on the best possible show we could and make history. That's the difference between me and a lot of people in today's world. Shout out to Du, my partner-in-crime that week for real. He is one of a kind. Shout out to Brick and BStroy as well. Du was on that trip with me. He too could give a fuck about Instagram or what anyone is thinking. We were there to do our job, and at the end of the day we did an amazing one! People want to criticize, this and that, but none of us graduated Central Saint Martins, none of us worked for any major fashion houses or came from fashion families. We're just kids with a dream that couldn't be told "no." That's what we went to Paris to show the world. I think the mission was accomplished, but of course there's much more work to be done *Smiles*.
FRENDY: Shout out to you and the entire mob for pulling that off. What were your duties as Bari's assistant stylist for the show?
RYAN: Shout out to the mob always, but big ups to Bari for that! His genius is still unfolding and I look forward to watching the story continue just as the world is watching Virgil for now. My duties were a little bit of everything really, from just making sure Bari was good to making sure the clothes were organized, steamed, getting shot for our mood boards and everything. I just did everything I could. It was like, "ok, you see that needs to get pinned just do that," or "pass that to the atelier for finishing." Perhaps just organizing looks into categories and playing with the clothes to find the best outcomes. It was really about feeling the mood and making the world of VLONE come to life. It was about putting our whole energy on the runway and showing that through incredible garments. Few people have ever got to look at how well the garments actually are, but don't be surprised when I tell you some of the factories crafting your favorite Balenciaga in Italy, or say N(N) in Japan, all had a hand in manufacturing some of the VLONE pieces.
FRENDY: Damn, that was dope of Bari to bring you along. It's a true testament of how much he trusts you and your work ethic.
RYAN: Exactly! Not even just about the trust part, but the loyalty—that's real to me. I was there before Paris and I'll be there after. For life, regardless! To find real people is so few and far between and that's why we must cherish those that cherish and love us as well. It's important to be your friends fan and not just the people who are popping. Support your homies the same way you would support Beyoncé and the support will come back tenfold from your family. People are quick to support major celebs but they might not be quick to support their best friend who may be lesser known. You see a lot of people just trying to come up in all the wrong ways, and that never interested me. I am always in everything I've invested in mentally and emotionally for the long haul.
FRENDY: Amen! Most people won't even support their "homies." It's truly a shame. Are you currently working n the fashion industry?
RYAN: It is a shame, but if your people don't support you, those aren't your people! I am lucky enough to be working on things I enjoy and really love. Recently, I was working on Prada campaigns with one of my best friends Ashley, [whom] I mentioned earlier. Working with your best friends is highly underrated. You grow up being told that you will have to work with people you don't like, which sometimes may be true, but if you do it right, that doesn't have to be the case always. Anyway, Ashley is a producer and has had me on as her assistant to some of the biggest artists like Karl Temper, Pat McGrath, Guido Palau. Iconic photographers like Patrick Demarchelier and Steven Meisel. This past week, I felt so fortunate to work on a shoot with Fabien Baron and the widow of Steve Jobs, Laurene Powell. That energy was incredible. Real world visionaries and changers. That's inspiring to me. I couldn't be more grateful for the people she's brought me around and the world she has showed me. I can't express my gratitude enough!
I have my passion project with my Goyard brother from Paris Pierre Tzenkoff, the mastermind himself. We are bringing something to the world of cannabis that only we could. Check it out at Devambez.com and soon in fine cannabis retailers throughout the U.S. I am also working on my own ongoing concept project titled, "11:11." I want to focus on wellness and expanding the knowledge of how important our well-being is. Physically as well as mentally, and how we can harbor that well-being through meditation and self care. Those are things that are really on my mind and what I'm trying to work on.
FRENDY: A man of many hats, that's what's up! What do you think abut the mélange of streetwear and luxury that's taking place in fashion right now?
RYAN: That's a great question. When I worked at Goyard, I had to wear a suit and I couldn't stand it. They gave me a uniform that was made of polyester but I used to wear my own Dior suit because I didn't like the fabric of our uniforms. To me, it was very poorly made and cheap fabrics couldn't empower me to promote expensive products. If you want to feel a certain way, you will usually dress to that occasion. I love the saying about how you have to dress the part to be it, or however that saying goes. I find it very true. If you want people to look at you a certain way it's easily attainable through the way you dress. The same is said for our personal feelings. We can dress they way we feel or the way we dress. I think a lot of people are interested in living a life that involves luxury culture and finer goods, higher standard of living than previous generations. A natural evolution if you will. In that evolution, we have decided to be comfortable and to dress in our comforts. We have taken casual garments and changed them into high end uniforms.
Customizing the idea of high end to match what makes us feel good empowers us personally. So I feel like it's a good thing. It's modern. It's real. There is something to be said for a beautiful bespoke suit from Savile Row, of course, but I don't really feel comfortable in a suit. I want to wear fabrics that move and make sense for running around the city or going to the gym. Just as much as those fabrics make sense in casual settings, I want them to transfer me into whatever I see fit, maybe that's the Mercer [hotel] for dinner, or the juice press in Equinox. But whatever's the location, I think the one constant factor remains that we desire to dress nicely in both scenarios to feel comfortable and confident. To me, the mix truly represents our way of living in the city, running around daily and maintaining our sense of style within that comfort.
FRENDY: Equally great answer. Thank goodness comfortability is in! You've always been surfing your own wave when it comes to fashion. Which brands are currently on your radar?
RYAN: Thank God is right! Vans checkerboard slip ons are my favorite shoes of all time. I wear those every year. My favorite is still Rick, honestly, and I pair his pants with tees I make generally or my V tees and anything from M65 gives me. He is probably my biggest inspiration forever! Since I've moved to the city he has been inspiring me, I knew he would be special. He was in Japanese Vogue at a young age and he has put me in Vogue for my very first time with M65!
My brands are definitely consistent, man. I love Hermès, Rick Owens, I still wear my Saint Laurent, but nothing new, only from Hedi *Laughs*. I really like classic pieces that will last forever, like anything from Dries [Van Noten] is incredible or Prada is always classic but fun. I don't buy pieces constantly, but the things I will shell out on usually are pieces that I will wear for years to come. I don't like to buy into trends that I won't keep in my closer forever. I did buy the Triple S sneaker, but that was a moment in time *Laughs*. I really think in 20 years I will show my child that sneaker like it's a sculpture. Just because it is, in fact, a sculpture. The Italian version of the shoe weighs more than many sculptures I've seen. It truly is a workout shoe *Laughs*.
But besides that, I like hippie culture and vintage shops in San Francisco, stuff like Patagonia or Pendleton, North Face—things that are utility based and actually make sense. clothes that do their job. For instance, a jacket that actually keeps you or your clothing underneath dry. Weather appropriate garments are important and I appreciate designers that take those technicalities into consideration. I like things that make sense, but still look good and are made well.
FRENDY: Man, this conversation is so dope that I don't want it to end. We'll definitely have to do a part 2. But before I go, I have to know who would you want to work with in the industry (dead or alive)? And why?
RYAN: Man, this is a great conversation and good vibes with you always! Positive energy. You're an authentic person and I'm glad we were able to meet so long ago and collaborate, finally. A first of many to come. I can't wait to see all the things you have to bring to the table through your writing and exploring. Never stop creating and exploring!
I am grateful to have worked around a lot of people and companies that are my top choices, but If I could choose someone dead or alive, it would have to be Andy Warhol. I would love to exchange energy with him and have his knowledge of art coming to commerce. Turning art into money. He was good at turning art into money, but also good at turning objects into art. I really find that concept very modern and mesmerizing even today. I think that is groundbreaking to have that mentality during his years so I would love to experience that.