Few people have their fingers in as many pies as Ryan Barrett. He’s a professional model some of the time. Other times, he’s a textile designer, creating prints and patterns over at sustainable fabrics brand Hide the Label. He’s a motorcycle enthusiast, an avid traveller — and a dab hand behind the camera, too.
But Barrett’s first love is pottery. In fact, you’re so hard-pushed to pull him away from his ceramics studio that it’s a wonder he gets anything else done. But, somehow, he manages it — even if he does get those other pies covered in clay as a result…
However, the one thing Barrett really struggles to find time for, he tells me, is shopping for clothes. Hopping from business to business, meeting to meeting, country to country, there’s really never enough time for him to spend hours on the city streets in pursuit of his perfect outfit. And that’s exactly why we decided to set him up with Stitch Fix.
A personal styling service for the modern professional, Barrett signed up to Stitch Fix and completed an online profile — during which he selected his sartorial preferences and explored a range of different looks. After he’d revealed what he did and didn’t like, Barrett’s personal Stitch Fix stylist picked out five items of clothing specifically suited to his tastes. He’s wearing them today in an exceedingly empty London — and looks very pleased with the results.
“One thing I really loved about the profile,” says Barrett, “was that I could click through pages of entire styles that I didn’t like, or would never even consider wearing. To be able to do that, with full outfits, really made it more accurate and channelled what I wanted into the final results.”
It’s a nifty system. Once your personal stylist can see all of the information you’ve input, they will set about curating you a collection of new clothes — possibly even from brands you’ve never heard of, or would not usually consider buying from. They’ll parcel up your new threads, send them out and your Stitch Fix will be delivered to your door before you know it. So what did Barrett unbox?
“In my box, I got a light denim jacket,” he starts. “That was great, because one of my favourite fabrics is denim, so I really do love a denim jacket. I also received a grey flannel button-down shirt, a simple white T-shirt, navy chinos and a pair of white pump trainers. And those white trainers are really versatile. They’ll go with anything! A smart suit, casual jeans…”
Barrett adds that Stitch Fix has been a great way for him to build his wardrobe without wholly changing his style. It has nudged him to discover new looks and saved his personal style from repeating itself. “We always get stuck,” Barrett explains. “We always end up buying the same styles over and over. In that way, Stitch Fix shakes things up. And not only that, it’s also very thought-out and the profile is really easy to complete!”
In Barrett’s existing wardrobe, there is one item that he’d never get rid of. It spans dress codes, seasons and each and every one of his disparate business dealings and interests.
“It’s my Burberry trench coat!” laughs Barrett. “Definitely one of my favourite things in my wardrobe — and something I would, or could never give up. It’s traditional, it’s well-made and it’s iconic. Not to mention that it goes with absolutely everything.”
For someone with such eclectic interests, you’d be forgiven for thinking that Barrett’s own sense of personal style might be just as daring and idiosyncratic. Kooky, even. But instead, the model-designer-potter seems to shop for clothes with an eye to their practicality. After all, there aren’t many garments that could be worn for a quick motorcycle ride in the morning, survive an afternoon in the ceramics studio and then walk straight into a high-end restaurant for dinner. But if there are, you can guarantee they’re hanging in Barrett’s wardrobe.
“Yes!” he agrees. “That’s right. My day-to-day style is very smart casual. There are a lot of denim jeans, a lot of boots. I guess, if I had to describe my style, it would probably be ‘smart biker chic’? Just a few upper layers, with jeans and trainers on the bottom half. Sometimes I even go for a double-denim look.”
It’s strikingly singular. But hasn’t Barrett’s day job (admittedly one of many) as a model ever influenced what he wears? “As a model,” he begins, “you get to wear many brands and many styles, all put together by a team of stylists. And, while you sometimes think, ‘that’s totally me’, sometimes it’s ‘I would never wear this at all’.”
So what other style challenges has Barrett had to overcome? Other than not having enough time to shop, how else has everyday life conspired against his wardrobe?
“I’d say that one of my harder styles to pull off would be the spring/summer look,” admits Barrett. “You see, I’m usually all about the layers and dark tones — so winter is great for me. But the warmer months can be trickier. I also really love to dress formally, but the occasions just never seem to come round often enough!”
Ah, the lack of black tie invitations — a pain we all feel. But what we really want to know is how Barrett’s clothes survive when he sits them so close to his potter’s wheel. “In my pottery studio, it gets very messy, very quickly!” he laughs. “To be honest, I mostly wear shorts and a t-shirt to make it easier to keep on top of the washing. I mean, I still have an apron, but the clay goes everywhere in the creative madness!”
We’re assured that Barrett’s new Stitch Fix threads won’t be going anywhere near his ceramics studio. But they will, he says, be making an appearance across every other facet of his multifaceted life.
“The main thing I loved about Stitch Fix,” Barrett concludes, explaining that users can set up regular, automatic deliveries or even schedule in one-off orders to fit busy schedules, “is that they did all the hard work for me. When you’re rushed off your feet and have no time to concentrate on a new look for a meeting next week or a party that’s coming up, they’ll send you a box of goodies in your flavour of style — and all the correct sizes, too!”
Save time shopping and broaden your wardrobe’s horizons when you try Stitch Fix. Tell them your tastes, fit and price preferences and a personal stylist will curate you 5 items of clothing and accessories from a selection of over 100 brands. You’ll receive them within days to try on and choose whether or not to buy. Styling costs just £10 and you don’t have to subscribe. Get started here…