Meet Shyan Ranje: The Stylist-Turned-Model Determined to Do It His Own Ways

Meet Shyan Ranje: The Stylist-Turned-Model Determined to Do It His Own Ways

Ranje talks getting back in the game, style inspiration, signing with Ford Models, and avoiding mediocrity.

Ranje talks getting back in the game, style inspiration, signing with Ford Models, and avoiding mediocrity.

Photography: Mat Abad

Styling: Shyan Ranje

Text: Adair Smith

RIGHT: TOP BOND VAULT NECKLACE CHROME HEARTS JEANS KSUBI LEFT: SHIRT DIOR (CUSTOM BLACKFIST PATCHWORK) JEANS KSUBI SHOES T.U.K

Let’s start out with the basics—how old are you, where are you from, and what do you do?

I’m 20. I was born in Los Angeles, and later moved to Maryland, then back out to LA after a short time in the UK. What do I do? I don’t want to define myself because I don’t want to limit myself with a label. But, I started off as a stylist because I wanted to bring art to life. Now I’m transitioning into modeling and creative directing, which is something I've been doing forever just on a smaller scale. I’m into direction of all sorts—a secret project I’m doing now is designing the interior for a couple restaurants.

How did you start styling and what made you want to do it?

I never envisioned I’d be a “stylist,” but people always trusted my creative knowledge and judgment. I was placed in situations where I could start learning the politics of the fashion world. Because a few important people believed in me, I started to gain recognition. The power of trust is insane.

I knew I wanted to have some sort of involvement in fashion from a young age, which is super ironic because I used to get made fun of at school for cutting out inspiration from The Face, old i-Ds and Franca Sozzani’s iconic Italian Vogue stories.

You just signed with Ford, how did that come about and how was the transition from behind the camera to in front of it?

I’ve known my agent Jesse Simon for nearly a year and a half. We've been in serious talks for two months now, and it was the perfect time. As for the transition, it’s amazing—I’ve had the pleasure to work with a few really great photographers I admired. But I’m really not trying to work with everyone. I have a really specific vision of what I want to be, so now that I’m a model, I have to make sure everything I do is in line with what I want to become.

The video you made for us you starred in, creative directed and styled it. How is it working both sides of a project?

Working on both sides of a project is super intense—and I think that taking that additional step and that extra mile is what differentiates me from any other models today. I could make the shoot fit my personality and my look, instead of fitting into someone else’s idea. For this specific project, I had to send requests to brands, get the clothes, set the looks to fit the story, which is definitely the most important part, bring my team together, send call sheets, make sure everyone showed up, get location permits, etc. It was a lot, but I didn’t care. I would do it again, 100%.

The project is all about "youths in the age of malcontent," how did the idea for the project come about and what made you want to do a project on malcontent?

Like I’ve said before, I'm not trying to put myself in a box. I think that people around us try to force us to become what they want us to be, or at least limit what we can become. I think the only way to stop that and the only way to make sure you can control your own future is to rebel against norms and limits that you think exist. I guess you could say the norm is limiting yourself and my rebellion is against that belief.

Especially right now, art has such a big influence and reach on political and social issues. What do you think about the relationship of art to political and social issues? And how do you think your work translates into it?

Politics are ubiquitous now. I mean, they're really everywhere. We’re all swamped with political messages and I think it takes a toll on us because political topics are so divisive. Art and fashion will always have a strong link to politics—they’re all ways of expressing your beliefs and being heard. Since the Obey’s Hope poster back in 2008, millennials were shown this connection. Everyone needs an outlet, no matter if it’s creating clothing or whatever it is that you do in the creative industry.

But, because of how prominent and exhausting politics are, I have actually tried to separate my work from any political messages. Yeah, what I’m showing is rebellion, but not against the “establishment” in some crazy political way. My message is a rebellion against anything that needs rebellion—anything that people want to rebel against.

You have such a badass sense of style—very streetwear, rocker, but also incorporate a lot of classic pieces. How would you describe it and how did you find your sense of style? What are your biggest influences for both style and your work?

I wear a lot of original Santiag boots and some cool low-key brands. But I do mix and create outfits based on mood. I acknowledge trends and appreciate them, but don't follow them. I found my sense of style through solo traveling in Europe and New York. The different cultures and ways about everyday dress is what inspired to build the current me.

"Always keep your eyes open. Keep watching. Because whatever you see can inspire you," Grace Coddington said that— it's my favorite line in the September Issue. My biggest influences for style and work stem from all my friends, to be honest. Kids like Luka (Sabbat), Anwar (Hadid), and Jaden (Smith). Actually two others I can think of but I don't know personally are G-Dragon & Gary Armstrong, who’s the fashion editor at British GQ.

Do you think you had a leg up that you have created a brand for yourself before starting to model? Did being a stylist before modeling help you?

Oh most definitely. I have relationships with editors and many people through my prior work. It gives a client more interest because I have a unique perspective that not many people can offer. I think the asset that’s been most valuable for me is the image I have of what I’ll become.

What is the best styling or creative advice that anyone has ever given you and one piece of advice you want people to know?

Avoid mediocrity and be true to yourself. One piece of advice: understand that our brains are all created differently, so don't ever be ashamed of your ideas. If it's something you believe in, put all of your effort into it. Don't doubt your vision, and don’t doubt yourself.

What's are you going to do next?

I’m actually currently working with my guy Jaden and all of the MSFTSrep boys. Just made this crazy video. Besides that, my agent, Jesse and I have a master plan that's been set up and ready to be put into play. I took a 3-month hiatus from Instagram and now I’m back with a vault full of work and new dreams.

Credits:
Creative Direction Shyan Ranje Production Visivo Film Film Direction/Edit Dustin Stanek Assistant DP Zach Burnett Fashion Shyan Ranje Model Shyan Ranje @ Ford Models Barber Preki @ Debonair Music Poter Elvinger - Ghosts

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