Ryan Knew Is The Houston-Born Fashion Brand You Need To Know
Courtesy of Brand

Since launching in 2017, Ryan Grant’s fashion brand, Ryan New, has garnered a devout following and been spotted on celebrities like Travis Scott, Lucky Daye, Young Thug, Coi Leray and many more. For the young designer, 2021 has been quite a progressive year for his business. “I went from moving low units to selling out back-to-back drops and the notoriety and familiarity with the brand has grown,” Grant tells ESSENCE. The brand’s logo is a spin on Mountain Dew’s classic emblem, which usually sparks conversation and has led to more people discovering and becoming familiar with Ryan Knew. Grant continues, “People are really catching on and that’s been my biggest thing this year, like just solidifying the name to where people understand the patterns and the cuts without having to scream it everywhere.”

Grant embraces being very hands on with his business. Any time Ryan Knew is mentioned on social media, he is never too far behind with a prompt response. Aside from the fashion-forward designs, Ryan Knew is also known to deliver exceptional customer service and quick delivery times. But you would be surprised to find out that Grant’s well-oiled machine is actually a one-man band.

“It’s crazy because I am a one man everything—I do the patterns, I send out to manufacturers, I handle the sales and all the press you see for Ryan Knew,” Grant tells ESSENCE. “Since 2017, it’s been ups and downs, it’s been shows canceled, it’s been press blowing up, it’s been great things and it’s been low things, but it’s taught me as a designer to be patient and trust the process.” As Grant continues to build his empire and reach new heights, like most recently being stocked on Black Fashion Fair, he hopes to build and grow with a team that truly understands the brand’s mission and its impact. 

During one of Grant’s first interviews and the first year of running Ryan Knew, he mentioned how the clothes he designs are for “those kids in the corner who have the power to change the world.” Four years later, he reflects on that statement. “That statement spoke to the person I am,” he shares. “I’m a very reserved person, I don’t party, I don’t club, I’m not really a social person,” Grant shared. “I’m social online because that represents the brand, but I’m not really a social person, so when I said that it’s because I usually am the kid in the corner. I’ve always said all the kids that were to themselves or working in the dark usually brought the light. I say to change the world, you have to first change yourself and your surroundings.”

One of the most admirable elements about Grant is that he decided to remain in Houston and run his fashion brand—even though most folks that pursue the industry think it’s necessary to move to one of the fashion capitals. However, Grant is disproving that mindset while his fashion brand reaches far beyond the state of Texas. He continues to inspire the creatives in his hometown by showing them that they can accomplish their dreams from wherever. According to Grant, the foundation of Ryan Knew is partly due to Houston and surrounding communities supporting him.

Ryan Knew’s denim can be compared to the modern-day version of what the aftermath of Balmain’s biker jeans turned out to be—you may not have a pair just yet, but they will make their way into your closet. He embraces references from the past, his culture and applies his design knowledge to create a fresh perspective. “I think that’s what all fashion is, we’re all building off past ideas that we’re putting our own spin to,” says Grant.

Most recently, Grant hosted a fashion show in his city for Ryan Knew’s latest collection titled Congo. Though the young designer is not Congolese, he was inspired by the story of a close friend. “I had a friend, who is a Congolese artist, help me with this, and I’m just basically telling his story from my perspective,” he shares. “I’m telling the story of the honey of the country being looted. And when I say honey I don’t mean physical honey, I just mean that Congo is big in resources.”

Most times when the country of Congo is in the media, it’s displayed with a narrative of war, despite the country’s rich resources like oil and a multitude of minerals. “I’m telling the story of the regrowth of a beautiful country,” says Grant. “And I just wanted to make it clear that no I’m not Congolese, but I am telling a Congolese story because I wanted to highlight the beauty of Congo.”

Grant’s fashion show received over 1,500 RSVPs from supporters within and outside the state of Texas—his village was present proving that his support system is strong. “I’ve failed in the city, I’ve won in the city, I’ve just been a staple of putting out quality products and a story and I think that’s what they’re supporting,” Grant says. “They are seeing a kid that was just in Vogue and CFDA, and it’s like if this kid with these limited resources that I got too can do it, then let me put something behind myself and do it too. I think that is what more people support about the Ryan Knew thing right now.”

Shop Ryan Knew’s most recent collection, available now, on ryanknew.com.

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