It’s hardly rare for designers to hold down odd jobs to pursue their fashion goals, but Ryan DeBonville’s current gig takes the cake. “In 2009, I quit my men’s personal shopper job at J.Crew so I could work at my friend’s tanning salon and knit more,” chuckles the San Francisco native. “I was so embarrassed to tell J.Crew.”
But the time had come to focus more on his work—Ryan had been perfecting his craft for 25 years. “My Grandma used to pick me up from pre-school, and there wasn’t anything to play with other than my mom’s old dolls,” Ryan explains. “She tried to teach me to knit a few times. But that didn’t work out too well, so I made up a way.” This eventually led to his first apparel creation: an oversized sweater inspired by one of his mother’s Neiman Marcus pieces from the eighties.
Ryan’s current collection of infinity scarves and beanies is more timeless but just as thoughtful. “It is an amazing amount of work. About 100 to 200 hours goes into the design and development of each piece,” he notes. “I’d love to start doing sweaters and bags…and to start using knitting machines!” —jessie pascoe