Wednesday, 5 August 2015

Designer on the Rise: Rivay's Jon Ruti

Men have it so easy during the work week. All they need for an acceptable office outfit is a clean dress shirt, pair of pants and shoes. No jewelry, no makeup, no hair. But over the weekend, it appears that the sartorial tables have turned. While women have an assortment of apparel and accessories to choose from, what are men supposed to wear to create that fashion-forward, off duty weekend style? Enter Rivay by prosecutor-turned-creative director Jon Ruti, 37. Consider the menswear brand what your (future) boyfriend should wear: masculine, tailored and stylish sans Yeezus's pretentiousness. With traditional field jackets and graphic tees, Rivay is sure to be your next go-to company. Read on to learn more about the brand, designer and the future of menswear.

The Trendologist: Congratulations on the wonderful line! What was your inspiration behind Rivay?

Jon Ruti: Thank you!  I wore a suit everyday to work for seven years.  I began to notice how hard it was to find a good outerwear piece that could go from work to my weekend hobbies.  I recall a good friend of mine picking me up from work to go ice climbing in the Adirondacks for the weekend.  The only piece of outerwear I could wear after I got out of my suit was a technical piece from Patagonia.  It just looked off leaving the office like that.  That’s when I started really thinking about the gap between fashion and technical outerwear.

TT: What is the design process for creating a menswear line?

JR: Menswear isn’t about reinventing the wheel.  It’s about evolving pieces to fit the current time period, cultures and lifestyles of today.  We get inspired and evolve pieces to suit the lifestyles of our customer and the culture of Rivay.

TT: Can you tell me more about your target audience?

JR: He’s career-driven and puts a lot thought into how he wants to fill his down time.  He takes care of himself, dresses well Monday through Friday, but is missing a brand that understands his weekend passions.  From traveling, to riding his vintage motorcycle to surf trips with friends, he does a lot of interesting things in his time away from career.  The only thing missing is a brand with the same passions. 

Larkin Crew Neck Sweatshirt, $148

TT: Where did the name Rivay come from?

JR: Growing up, I was always fascinated with rivets and how they looked on airplanes, cars and other machines.  A good French buddy of mine were talking over drinks and he pronounced the word rivet as Frenchman would.  It stuck from there.  I reworked the spelling and Rivay was born.

TT: I know playing favorites is nearly impossible, but what is one piece from your collection that all fashion-forward men should own?

JR: I’ll play!  The Delaney waxed cotton field jacket.  It will take you from work to adventure and back again without missing a beat.  It looks natural in any situation, which is the hallmark of any good menswear piece.

Enfield Waxed Cotton Series Jacket, $325

TT: I would love to hear more about your work experience prior to founding Rivay. Can you please elaborate?

JR: I was a New York City prosecutor in the South Bronx for five years, handling everything from DWI’s to homicides.  I spent the last two years of my career at the Office of Special Narcotics in downtown Manhattan investigating and prosecuting large-scale narcotics enterprises.  It’s been one long episode of The Wire for me, but Rivay is the new chapter.  I couldn’t be more excited.

TT:  Has your former career in law helped with Rivay? How so?

JR: It taught me how to be a good storyteller and know who your audience is.  That’s half the battle.

Galvin Moto Sweatpants, $148
TT: From the New York Times launching a men’s style section to the debut of Men’s New York Fashion Week last month, there has been an extra emphasis on menswear recently. How do you think Rivay will contribute to this movement?

JR: I think it’s great: men are more fashion savvy than ever.  This presents Rivay with an opportunity to give the well informed man an exciting brand to turn to.  When he pursues his passions, Rivay will be there to make sure he looks as smart as ever.

TT:Where do you see the brand in five years?

JR: The growth in menswear and e-commerce in general has given unique opportunities to small brands, but the first five years are always tough.  We’ll continue to grow our collection and look for strategic partnerships and collaborations.  We’re interested in making Rivay a lifestyle brand as opposed to simply producing great pieces season to season.  Stay tuned, we have a lot of exciting things on the horizon!

TT: What is your advice for emerging designers?

JR: Know your brand identity.  Stick to it, no matter what. 

Can't get enough of Rivay? Follow the brand on Instagram.
Photos courtesy of Rivay


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