Ryan Seacrest: From American Idol Host To Menswear Tycoon

American Idol may be where Seacrest rose to prominence, but he has also worked tirelessly toward other endeavors.

His current schedule has him taping a live show in New York, where he recently moved. He is also now the co-host of the popular talk show Live with Kelly and Ryan, alongside Kelly Ripa. After taping Live, Seacrest makes his way downstairs to a newly-built recording studio. Here he narrates the morning commute in Los Angeles while he records his syndicated radio show, which reaches a total of 20 million listeners each week.

The return of American Idol, but this time on ABC, puts even more pressure on Seacrest. Once the live shows begin, he will record Idol in Los Angeles on Sunday nights and then have to take a red-eye back to New York for the live taping with Ripa at 9am ET on Monday mornings.

In addition to everything else he’s doing, Seacrest also hosts various other events throughout the year, including Jingle Ball, ABC’s New Year’s Eve show and the iHeart Radio Music Awards. Don’t forget that he also executive produces 12 television shows, including Keeping Up with the Kardashians, and all of the show’s spinoffs.

This tight schedule may seem busy to most but as Seacrest told Business of Fashion, “The busyness of it keeps me on my toes, there is no room for error. Since I’ve moved to the East Coast, I actually get more sleep than I’ve ever gotten before.”

After hosting many red-carpet events over the years, Ryan Seacrest is using that red carpet as a marketing tool. Ryan Seacrest Distinction, the menswear brand he launched four years ago, is sold exclusively at Macy’s, and Seacrest has been wearing it proudly during award show season. That has helped him with his bottom line, as his menswear line is on track to hit $50 million in retail sales in 2018.

His love for fashion seems to date back to his hosting days on the original American Idol run. Ryan developed a formal relationship with Burberry’s Christopher Bailey, who designed his suits for the red carpet and New Year’s Eve starting in 2009 and American Idol in 2010. Bailey inspired Seacrest, as Ryan said, “That was part of what gave me the comfort to host a live show, so that's where the interest began.”

While it was nice to be able to call Bailey whenever he needed him, Seacrest knew that most of his fans could not do the same thing. Ryan became known for his close-fitting suit style, which he wanted his fans to have access to. “I wanted to [create] something that provided that same sort of feeling to people when they would put it on. Something that was accessible in its price point, that really was made of great quality, for the guy who had an eye for detail.”

After being mentored by Bailey, Seacrest has made his mark in the menswear arena. Ryan wanted his line to appeal to the modern man whose schedule may be very similar to his own. He said, “My life involves velocity and moving from one thing to the next… whether that be professional or social. Because that is part of our DNA, it perhaps appeals to a younger customer that's living this lifestyle.”

But the launch wasn’t without hurdles. Not long after, Seacrest realized the line’s ultra-slim and tapered look was alienating a segment of men.

“It was a real material issue and it was also something that was perceptual,” he says. “The combination of those two things had us go back to change the fit and make it more mainstream and broader.”

Taking the position on Live with Kelly and Ryan was perfect timing for Seacrest. Ryan Seacrest Distinction launched four months after he took over as co-host, allowing him the opportunity to showcase what his line offers to fans tuning in every morning. This is likely a major reason why the clothing and sportswear collections are now available at 150 Macy’s.
Ryan Seacrest Distinction remains loyal to Macy’s, but Seacrest is always keeping tabs on how things are going. Department stores have been in decline over the past few years, as online shopping has taken over the world. With the popularity of Amazon, it does make Seacrest question how to move forward. However, he listens to what Macy’s tells him. He said, “I obviously defer to their expertise, but it’s something we think about and look at. We try to stay in our lane of what we know how to do and what our partners know how to do.”

While he remains loyal to Macy’s, that does not mean he will not sell elsewhere. Ryan Seacrest Distinction does plan on expanding its distribution channels in 2018 with new partnerships, including the possibility of Stitch Fix. Ryan said, “We don’t want to cannibalize anything. But at the same time, we want to try to make ourselves accessible to the customer wherever the customer may be.”

Time will tell what Seacrest’s next move will be in his menswear endeavors. However, we have to remember his roots and know that this media and fashion mogul has gone American Idol host to man of many trades, including a $50 million menswear line.

Follow Ryan Seacrest on Twitter and Instagram @Ryanseacrest. For more information on Ryan Seacrest's clothing line visit http://www.mr-mag.com/ryan-seacrest-talks-style-and-his-move-into-menswear-and-skincare/

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