Sunday, January 29, 2012

Ryan M. Beshel: Chicago's Fashionable, New Imagemaker

Ryan M. Beshel
Public Relations Coordinator, 900 North Michigan Shops
Podcaster, Speaking of Fashion

Ryan M. Beshel is a man who’s come full circle. After graduating from the Illinois Institute of Art with a degree in Fashion Marketing and Management and armed with a handful of hard-won internships at Michigan Avenue magazine, Glass Communications, and The 900 Shops, the bowtie-loving bon vivant went on to take Chicago’s PR and modeling industries by storm.

Ryan with his mentor, Barbara Glass

Now, the 6’4” twenty-something has waved good-bye to the catwalk and is taking on his biggest challenge yet – handling publicity for the 900 North Michigan Shops, famed as one of the nation’s leading shopping and dining destinations.

Luxe File Chicago recently caught up with Ryan to talk about his new role and to dish on everything from getting lost in the great outdoors to his rebirth as the celebrated fashion designer, Tom Ford.

Luxe File Chicago: Your middle initial is “M”. What name does it stand for?

Ryan Beshel: Michael, my godfather’s name.        

Mr. Bowtie: The Talented Mr. Beshel
LFC: Everyone knows you by that stylish accessory you’re never without: a bowtie. You even named your blog, The Bowtie Memoirs, after this classic neckwear. What do you love about bowties and what do they say about your personality?

RB: When I first started wearing them, they were out-of-the-ordinary. What began as a way to distinguish myself from others soon transitioned into my trademark. There’s something very gentlemanly about bowties and I enjoy preserving the classic way of dressing that (men) lost awhile back.

 Ryan's dapper new work digs

LFC: You’ve nabbed an exciting, new gig - PR Coordinator for the 900 North Michigan Shops (pictured above). What excites you most about your new role and what do you anticipate will be your greatest challenge?

RB: I’m excited that I get to connect with new people and the amazing retailers, as well as to rekindle many of the friendships I made when I interned here. Since I’m the first in-house publicist, I have the opportunity to design a position that plays to my strengths and passions. The biggest challenge for me right now is getting settled in.

 Beshel's Babes: Agency Galatea models in Miriam Cecilia

LFC: You worked for one of the city’s top modeling management companies, Agency Galatea, as its Director of Runway. How did the experience shape you professionally and how close are we (Chicago) to becoming a fashion capital like London, Milan, New York, and Paris?

RB: Great questions. First, much like my current role at the 900 North Michigan Shops, my position at the agency was new to the company. After I obtained my agent’s license, I developed the Runway Division from scratch. The experience taught me to take chances and to reach out to the industry for support and business.

RB (cont.): As for Chicago becoming a fashion capital, we are much farther along than when I first moved here. Social media has really helped to spread the word about Chicago fashion around the world. Things take time but we have a plethora of creative minds helping to position Chicago as a top contender in the global fashion market.

LFC: You are well known for your bowties, tortoiseshell specs, and pompadour coif. What else can you tell us about your favorite style essentials that we haven’t seen yet?

 Chucks. Check! 

RB: I’m a huge fan of plaid. I have a crush on everything from J.Cheikh and I usually live in Chuck Taylors. Chucks are my go-to shoes, I can wear them with jeans or a suit. I could also wear suspenders everyday. If it’s nerdy, I’m into it.

LFC: You’ve just nabbed a seriously-coveted PR job. Tell us what’s next on your To Do list.

Cool Camping
RB: I have never been to New York City, which always surprises people. The next trip I take will be there. I also haven’t gone camping in years and I can’t wait to get back up to Tuck-A-Way (my childhood “Disneyland”) with some tents, a few friends, and some cheap beer.

LFC: As a publicist, you know that hashtags are a great tool to create buzz and build brand identity for your clients online. Some of Twitter’s top hashtags in 2011 were: "threewordstoliveby", “improudtosay”, and “tigersblood”. Create a hashtag that sums you up. 

RB: #whatyougiveyouget

Work uniform: Skinny slacks with a woven shirt, cardigan or vest, blazer, bowtie, and pocket square.

Play clothes: Dark denim jeans with a plaid or flannel shirt, tweed blazer, and a pair of Chuck Taylors.

 Ryan with J.Cheikh's Cheikh Lam (left) and Borris Powell (center)

Favorite designer(s): Tom Ford and Alexander McQueen. I like local designers J.CheikhNonnie ThreadsArtfully DisheveledBuckshot Sonny’s Sporting Goods (not a designer but they feature excellent collaborations); and Plank wooden bowties. AMAZING.

Spring/Summer 2012 must-have(s): There’s been a lot of cobalt blue on the runway and I’m obsessed with it. Checks have also made a strong return. Whether you prefer a more dramatic or minimalist look, checks are easy to incorporate into your wardrobe and always make a unique statement.

Signature scent: Gucci. Not the new one, the one that smells like campfire.

Describe yourself in three words: Reliable. Kind. Social.

 Graduation Daze 

Greatest achievement: Graduating college.

Greatest regret: Not sticking up for myself in high school.

Current state of mind: Excitedly stressed.

 Ryan and the Beshel Clan 

Happiest moment: When I came out and had the support of my entire family (pictured above). They’ve always stood by me, the way a family should.

Top New Year’s resolution: I like to let the Universe direct me to where I should be. This year, I’m going to continue to work hard and make my friends and family proud of me.

Three items in your Bucket List: Write a book. Buy my mom a log cabin. Have my own TV show.

iPhone or Blackberry: iPhone – all the way.

Song playing on your iPod: Video Games by Lana Del Rey.

 Beshel's blog - The Bowtie Memoirs 

Favorite blog(s): TrĂ©s AwesomeRefinery29, and Suri’s Burn Book. It’s hilarious and so well-written.

Most treasured possession: My step-mom’s father’s leisure suit coat and my red velvet J.Cheikh suit.

Quality you like most in men: Humor

Quality you like most in women: Sass

Favorite curse word: Fuck

What you love to do when you’re not working: Watching TV and eating pizza in bed.

If you could change one thing about yourself, it would be: To doubt myself less.

 Comeback Kid: Tom Ford

If you died and were reincarnated, who or what would you come back as: Tom Ford

Worst advice you were ever given: My big brother, Eric, once said, “I swear there are no bee-bees in this gun. Just let me shoot it at you. It’ll be fine!” Does that count as advice? Either way, it didn’t turn out well.

Luxe File Chicago has dedicated its site to the “love of living luxuriously”. Finish this sentence, “When it comes to living luxuriously, always…”: Be humble.

Photo of Ryan Beshel courtesy of Danielle Sanders

Posted by Kerry Shorr