At the most recent fashion week, our co-founder Joe Lupo was photographed by Ryan Clark, founder of the wildly popular Instagram @highfashionmen and blog, www.highfashionmen.co. Similarly to Joe, who left a career in finance to pursue fashion, Ryan gave up medical school to pursue High Fashion Men full time. Here’s Ryan’s inspiring story.
When did you first discover that you had an interest in fashion?
My interest in fashion started at a very young age – my mother is a fashionista in her own right. She helped to further my passion for fashion by keeping me well dressed and stylish from a very young age. Once I was able to dress myself, I would go into my closet and concoct the most outlandish outfits (I’ve come a long way since then).
You were in medical school when High Fashion Men really started taking off, and not long after that you decided to focus your forces on the blog full time. Was there an ‘a-ha’ moment that gave you the courage to make this life-changing decision?
I remember being in Structural Anatomy Lab (A cadaver based lab), and learning about the brachial plexus. While all my classmates were observing the various specimens and were engaged with the professor’s lecture over the intricacies of this complex nerve network, I found myself wondering what I would post next on my blog. It was at that moment that I realized my focus/ passion had shifted from medicine to fashion.
[quote type=”center”] Do well, live well, and dress really well. [/quote]
You recently moved to NYC. How has that affected your style and what you cover on High Fashion Men?
My style is just that “my style”, I don’t think it has changed since I moved here. Perhaps it is because I have only been here for a very short period of time, and I have yet to experience a style transformation. I will admit that being in NYC has exposed me to a plethora of different styles and trends, and I appreciate how the city as whole expresses itself through fashion.
What challenges have you encountered after turning the hobby that you love into a career?
One challenge was moving from Texas to New York. I love Texas and I am very close to my family, but I knew that moving would really help turn my hobby into a career. Also being the “new guy” in a new city is never easy, but I’ve been very fortunate to find people who share my same passion and vision that has helped mitigate my transition.
Your Instagram has a whopping 850K + followers. What tips for success can you share?
I will say the most important thing I’ve learned is to be true to you (I know it sounds very cliché and quite cringe worthy). Initially I posted images of the outfits I wore daily, products I liked, and runway looks I admired. I found that people liked what I wore and my follower count grew. I will say that content is “King” on Instagram, make sure that you post content that exemplifies you, your brand or company, in a positive light. Basically, don’t post just for the sake of posting! Also make sure to use high quality, high-resolution images that tell a story and relay a message.
You secretly told us that you’re working on a product line. Tell us more!
High Fashion Men is in the early stages of developing a men’s accessory line, and we are working to create a line that is hopefully fresh but yet still very classic. Stay tuned!
Expansion into women’s fashion is on the horizon. What is that going to be like?
Yes the rumor is true, High Fashion Men will soon have a sister! We received so many messages and emails in request for a women’s counterpart, and we have taken note. We are hoping to launch a women’s fashion platform early next year. Once again, stay tuned… [quote type=”center”] Being in NYC has exposed me to a plethora of different styles and trends, and I appreciate how the city as whole expresses itself through fashion. [/quote]
What’s your go-to look?
I love the polished business casual look! There is something about a well-tailored blazer, button down shirt, fitted trousers (khakis, or jeans) and a loafer or lace-up. It is a look that can transition easily from day to night.
Must-have piece this fall?
Being a gentleman is a holistic term, it goes much further than opening doors, throwing your coat over a puddle, or picking up the tab after dinner. I believe it is a lifestyle, a manner in which one carries themselves, and treats those around them.
Words you live by?