The Creators: Ryan Roche

Ryan Roche photographed by Mark Seliger for BlackBook

The fashion designer Ryan Roche lives on 12 acres in the town of Hurley, about 100 miles from New York. Her studio is in the barn. Despite the distance from the city, she’s managed to integrate herself into New York’s fashion elite–she’s a CFDA/Vogue Fashion Fund finalist and was nominated for this year’s LVMH Prize for young designers. It’s her deft touch at creating cozy knits for the cool chick that first brought international attention to her designs. Her inventive sweaters envelope the body in ultrasoft crocheted cashmere, and each is charmingly personal from the start. It takes the knitters in Nepal (from the fair trade women’s cooperative Roche works with) eight days to complete just one.

“There’s some magic between me and the head knitters in Nepal who know my work so well, because we’ve worked together for so long,” Roche says.

Roche maintains a high standard of social responsibility in her manufacturing processes, and as her customer base and product lines grow, Roche plans to continue this consciously elevated approach. The shearling Roche introduced for spring is a rescued byproduct of the industry, colored with natural dyes. She’s headed to Peru soon to scout for another knitting cooperative–as her brand grows, she’ll need more hands on deck. These skilled knitters and seamstresses don’t exist only in far-flung locales; there are, as Ryan says, “incredible small factories [in New York] that are holes in the wall.…I love the idea of supporting New York manufacturing as well.”

Don’t think that these small operations will limit the designer. The relationships she has with her manufacturers are built on trust, a quality that allows her creative endeavors to thrive. She’s also looking to learn from the successes of industry greats like the socially and ecologically conscious Stella McCartney, whose company Roche looks to in admiration as she expands business.

Rather than creating fault lines between her brand and the pulse of the world’s fashion capital, the fresh air surrounding Roche in upstate New York allows space for innovation. In her secluded studio, away from the distractions of the city, originality blooms.

This article appears in the spring 2015 issue of BlackBook on stands now.

First Day of Spring Shopping: 6 Looks for Dreamy New Season Perfection

Don’t let the errant snowflake or sudden dips into freezing temps fool you; Friday is the first day of spring, and that means the first day of spring shopping has arrived.

Whether or not the weather is ready for it, we’re moving into the new season — even if it takes some time to come out of cozy hibernation.

Go ahead and take the fuzzy layers — in pale lavender and soft blush — from winter with you, just be sure to add some new warmer weather favorites (like these breezy dresses from Wes Gordon, Kaelen, Tibi, and Karolyn Pho), too. Lijie (Marilyn) models the best spring looks to wear now. Photographed by Robert Johnson, styled by Alyssa Shapiro.

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Wes Gordon gray melange strapless dress; Tibi trench coat; Karen Gallo Stevie sneaker; Stylist’s own belt      

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Creatures of the Wind Jenna parka; Kaelen iridescent cowl-back slip dress

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Ryan Roche turtleneck; Ryan Roche shorts; Karolyn Pho hand painted Timberlands 

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Karolyn Pho
Slate slip dress; Wes Gordon ribbon tweed knit pullover (around waist); Ryan Roche lavender cardigan; Karen Gallo Carter sneakers

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Wes Gordon blush stretch crepe long sleeved wrap dress; Ryan Roche cardigan

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Tibi Maritime dress; Ryan Roche turtleneck; Karen Gallo Carter sneaker

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Photographed by Robert Johnson
Styled by Alyssa Shapiro
Hair and makeup by Ashley Rebecca
Model: Lijie Liu (Marilyn)

Wes Gordon available at Net-a-Porter
Kaelen available here
Tibi available here
Ryan Roche available here

Creatures of the Wind available at Ikram
For Karolyn Pho, email sales@karolynpho.com
Karen Gallo available here

CFDA Fashion Fund Finalist Ryan Roche’s Can’t-Live-Without NYFW Guide

Photo: Matteo Prandoni/BFAnyc.com

“You know I live upstate, right?” asks designer Ryan Roche when prompted to share her absolute favorite spots to frequent in NYC.

I do. And it sounds so lovely to be able to leave this crowded, bustling, dirty city behind for greener pastures — perhaps that’s why the colors Roche uses in her collections are so clean, dreamy, soft… (Her fall/winter 2015 collection, by the way, was no exception. Monochromatic layering, and sensual, graceful knits reigned. It was lovely.)

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Photo via @alyssashapiro on Instagram

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Photo via @blackbookmag on Instagram

Though she spends the majority of her time upstate and away from all the New York City noise, Roche has to make the occasional trip into the big city — after all, the CFDA/Vogue Fashion Fund finalist has meetings with Anna Wintour, retailers, and a NYFW presentation to tend to. When she’s in town, these are her go to spots:

To eat: “I love Il Buco.” (47 Bond Street, NYC)

To indulge: “I love going to the Great Jones Spa — that’s amazing.” (29 Great Jones Street, NYC)

For fresh air: Central Park, where she can take her pet poodle. “It’s very gorgeous.”

13 Perfect Sweaters to Hide Your Thanksgiving Food Baby

Josilyn (DNA) photographed by Adeline Mai for this story. Styling: Alyssa Shapiro

As cooler temperatures arrive, I immediately find myself hoarding sweaters as though I’ve never seen one before…there are so. many. good. ones. If I could wear all of these tomorrow, I would.

J.CREW COLLECTION STRIPED SHEARLING SWEATER

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The kind of sweater your older relatives might not get, but you won’t care because you will be happily caressing your own shearling-covered self all night long.

SHOSH NYC JULIETTE SWEATER

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I’m gonna go ahead and dub this the “eating all night bc IDGAF sweater” because its silhouette, when on, is a beautiful flow-y thing that widens around the midsection. Also: pockets for an added bonus, and it’s a perfect autumn hue.

ONE BY NIGHTWALKER BUNKER FUR STRIPED SWEATER 

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This glorified ball of fluff will be in the mail to me by the time I publish this post. And that’s all I’ve got about that.

ACNE STUDIOS GAJA OVERSIZED SWEATER

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The ways I love Acne are beyond my counting abilities and this high-fashion teenage ninja turtle sweater is no exception. And, it’s most definitely something grandma can get behind.

RYAN ROCHE OVERSIZED FISHERMAN SWEATER

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One of this year’s CFDA runners-up, Ryan Roche is majorly girl-crushable. This knit, in her beloved pink hue, is 100% cashmere and hand-knit in Nepal.

RAG & BONE COWICHAN CARDIGAN

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The kind of sweater you’ll wear to Thanksgiving by default because you haven’t taken it off in 10 days.

VINCE PAINTED CREW SWEATER

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A knit for the sophisticate in all of us.

THE ROW CARRINGTON CABLE-KNIT SWEATER

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The Row brings their usual luxury in the form of this cable turtleneck in cashmere/silk.

VALENTINO INTARSIA SWEATER

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If the conversation grows tense, you can always turn the topic of conversation back to your own sweater.

COS WOOL COCOON CARDIGAN

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This chunky boucle wool looks almost like shearling and will make you feel like you brought a blanket to the table.

ZARA CABLEKNIT CASHMERE SWEATER

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Zara brings us more affordable cashmere in the prettiest seasonless blue.

3.1 PHILLIP LIM MOCK TURTLENECK ZIPPER-DETAIL SWEATER

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Another perfect autumnal hue, though you may wanna scrunch up those sleeves before serving any spoonfuls of gravy.

ZARA V-NECK SWEATER WITH COLORED PIPING

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For the trendy-prepster who feels nostalgic for pep rallies when visiting home.

Happy shopping Thanksgiving.

Catch Anna Wintour and a New Crop of CFDA Incubator Designers TONIGHT

Between the glamour, the glitz, and the glossy pages of Vogue hides a realm of fashion less frequently seen. It’s the realm where blood and tears accumulate alongside the perspiration Anna Wintour’s presence surely causes. That’s right, the second season s of The Fashion Fund premieres tonight, providing a second season of a truly unprecedented look at the pure and unique emotion that comes with birthing a brand. Design is an industry like rock ‘n’ roll–a “many will enter, few will win” kinda game.

The CFDA picks ten designers, many of whom fashion followers will already feel acquainted with (Tanya Taylor’s signature painted prints, Wes Gordon’s minimal cuts, Grey Ant’s sleek shades, Edie Parker’s bloggerati clutches, and Gigi Burris’s youthful millinery, to name a few)–the first episode will track the initial application process. You’ll laugh, cry, and imagine that you too, are BFFs with Ms. Wintour, just gently sparring over which designers you feel have the most potential, and share the thrill as the accepted candidates race to call their moms and relay the news.

Season two of The Fashion Fund premieres on Ovation on Wednesday, November 5th at 10 p.m. ET.