Our Favorite Instagrammers – @ryancascarano
Name: Ryan Cascarano
Instagram Name: @ryancascarano
Amount of followers: 16.7 K
Residence: from Kenosha, Wisconsin; currently reside in Kalamazoo, Michigan
Occupation: Hydrogeology Graduate Student and Graduate Teaching Assistant at Western Michigan University
I have a lot of passions in life besides raw denim (and clothing), but clothing just happens to be one of the easier things for me to share through social media. For most of my life, I’ve been very passionate about music and attending live shows, and I believe that this has really influenced who I am and the aesthetic that I gravitate towards. I grew up listening to a lot of punk and hardcore music, although I’ve shifted away from those genres over recent years. I’ve been to more concerts than I can count/remember. I’m also passionate about the outdoors and would rather be roughing it in the wilderness of just about any national park than be inside any day of the week. I love to be active and I do my best to do so everyday. Photography has really helped motivate me to get outside when I otherwise might not feel so inclined to do so. However, being a full-time graduate student definitely limits my ability to get out to shoot, especially since I am both the photographer and the subject 99% of the time. If you’ve been following me, you’ve probably read a post or two expressing my wish to have a legitimate photographer to shoot me, or have some willing subjects for me to shoot myself. Nonetheless, Instagram has definitely been a life changing experience so far.
- Why do you share your outfits? And why Instagram?
If you go back far enough, you’ll see that my Instagram was at one time a very standard, “personal” Instagram. It wasn’t well-curated, there wasn’t much of a theme, and there would be really no reason to follow me if you didn’t know me in real life. I would post the occasional outfit or picture of my denim, but it wasn’t until about 2 years ago that I started posting clothing more consistently. It started with mostly just pictures of my raw denim and showing the progress on them as they faded. It evolved into more clothing pictures in general, as well as some outdoor/nature photography, and as my following grew, so did the quality of my feed. Ultimately, I think everybody needs a creative outlet, and Instagram has been mine for the past few years.
- What makes your Instagram feed so special?
I think one of my favorite things about my Instagram feed is the progression it has undergone. Like I said in the last question, it started out as nothing too special. I shot everything on a pretty worthless Android phone, and to be honest, I think it was all pretty awful. Around the time I upgraded to iPhone (which was a major upgrade in photo quality, for me), I started taking Instagram a bit more “seriously.” That naturally led to me wanting to get my first camera, and in the year I’ve had that, I think things have improved substantially. I think what makes my feed special is that you can really watch the progression of my personal style and photography over a relatively short period of time—and, at least to me, that is pretty cool. I am looking forward to seeing where Instagram continues to take me.
- Where does your inspiration come from?
I’m inspired by a lot, notably other Instagrammers and various clothing brands. However, I think I draw most of my inspiration from my own personal experiences and people in my life. Despite my inherent interest in clothing, I find more of my inspiration comes from sources that aren’t directly related to fashion. My father and grandfather are both big influences in my life, especially from an aesthetic standpoint. My grandfather was an art teacher for over 30 years, and my father spent a lot of time when he was around my age working as a professional photographer for various newspapers (this was in the analog age, of course). My dad’s wardrobe is basically an L.L. Bean lookbook and my grandfather had quite the style in his prime, too. I also draw loads of inspiration from nature and the places I’ve been, music, architecture (my mother is the biggest Frank Lloyd Wright fan and it’s grown on me over the years), and really just any aspect of design.
- Where does your love for denim come from? When did it start?
I’ve always been a blue jeans kind of guy. I wore pretty crappy skateboard brands throughout middle school and most of high school until Levis popped onto my radar, and I started wearing the 511s in “rigid dragon” for a couple of years. I was still by no means that into denim, and I’d wash them pretty much after every wear and it wasn’t until the concept of raw denim popped onto my radar that I started treating my Levis as though they were raw. I quickly decided to take the leap into raw denim after doing a lot of research on the internet (notably Reddit). In Fall of 2013 I went down to Chicago and tried on dozens of different pairs of raw denim at Mildblend Supply Co…I ultimately settled on a pair from United Stock Dry Goods, the 12.5 oz indigo narrow, in part due to their reasonable price point, but mostly because they just fit and felt great. My interest in raw denim has just grown from there, and it has evolved into a passion for well-made clothing and goods in general.
- Your top 3 favorite (denim)brands? And why?
United Stock Dry Goods- My first pair of raw denim was from United (purchased at Mildbend Supply Co. just over 3 years ago). The price/quality ratio is probably the best I’ve come across and I generally recommend the brand to anyone looking to get into raw denim without spending too much money.
3sixteen- Probably my favorite denim brand. They fit me great. Their shadow selvedge fabric was hands down the first fabric I saw that I truly fell in love with. A lot of people have probably seen my ST-120x denim that has over 300 wears. I’ve been wearing the black/black ST-220x denim lately, and I’m looking forward to seeing how they’re looking in a year’s time.
Shockoe Atelier- I’ve only recently started wearing Shockoe. I have a lightweight pair (10 oz) that I wore all summer and I like them a lot. I also have some denim tops/outerwear from them that I’ve been enjoying lately. Shockoe makes some really interesting pieces and I can’t wait to see what they continue to put out in the future.
6. What is your favorite accessory?
I don’t have too many accessories that I use daily. If I had to pick one, it would probably be my waxed briefcase from my friends, Oak Street Bootmakers. This thing is built like a tank, looks great, carries everything I need, and will surely last me a lifetime. I also just got my first “fashion scarf” from Kiriko Made in Portland, and I’ve been wearing it almost everyday. I definitely need more scarves in my life.
7. What items do you wear the most at the moment? Why?
This has been fluctuating a lot lately, since the weather here in the Midwest can’t make up its mind. I’ve been wearing my Oak Street Bootmakers trench boots a lot, rotating between my 3sixteen ST-100x and ST-220x denim, along with one of my many shirts from Taylor Stitch. They make some of the best fitting shirts. I’ve been wearing their chamois Yosemite shirts lately, although my go-to is my denim Glacier shirt, which has been a real stubborn fader, but is finally starting to show some age.
- What is your favorite shop? And what is your favorite webstore?
Independence in downtown Chicago is probably my favorite shop. They have a great selection of brands ranging from Engineered Garments, to LVC, to Kapital, to Post Overalls, and lots more. It’s also the flagship store for Oak Street Bootmakers. I’m probably a bit biased because I am friends with the guys that run the place, but it really is a great location!
I don’t think I necessarily have a favorite webstore, as most of the places I would shop have a physical location!
- Do you care about the production process? Why (not)?
Absolutely. I’ve actually been to a handful of factories where things I wear are made. Seeing the production process and meeting the people who actually are responsible for making the items definitely adds to the experience and trust I put behind the brands I support.
- What are your dreams for the future?
I want to finish graduate school without losing my mind and while staying healthy. I don’t know what I’ll end up doing after I finish my master’s degree. I want to stay involved in menswear and Instagram. I want to travel more. I want to take more pictures. I want to fade more pants.
Follow along on my Instagram for the next few years and we’ll see how that all goes…