Yarmouth High School graduate is designing his future

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YARMOUTH — Recent high school graduate Ryan Maguire envisions his future in a fashionable world, but it will be one staying close to his Maine roots.

“There are no runways in my future,” Maguire joked, before he earned his diploma June 10 at Yarmouth High School.

Beginning as a sophomore, Maguire has been sketching, cutting and stitching his way into the fashion industry, working with Cape Elizabeth resident and L.L. Bean designer Alex Carleton and taking summer courses at the Rhode Island School of Design.

Maguire created a line of T-shirts for Carleton’s independent Rogue’s Gallery and wants to create sturdy, durable fashions.

“The kind you can wear when you are shoveling your driveway in January,” he said. 

In the fall, he will study apparel design at the Pratt Institute in Brooklyn, a school he said puts him close to the center of the New York fashion world while allowing him to immediately immerse himself in design studies.

“Fashion is a glimpse into the mind of the consumers we are,” Maguire said.

What began for Maguire as a small internship in the school career exploration program developed quickly into a passion that Carleton and Yarmouth Principal Ted Hall said was readily evident.

“Everything he was putting on the table was really great stuff,” Carleton said. “He had a really strong eye for graphics, was  great editor and had a great sense of color.”

Just as critical was his willingness to research, Carleton added. Before designing his first T-shirt graphics, Maguire studied the fabric and fashions of clothing worn at Bath Iron Works and in other maritime industries.

“The process is almost academic because of the research and criticism,” Maguire said.

Getting to the stage with his class was a feat as Maguire spent about six weeks through February and March serving as a wardrobe design intern on the set of the movie “Blue Bird,” shot in Millinocket by Kennebunk native Lance Edmands.

Hall said Maguire’s enthusiasm and development made it easy to accommodate his schedule to work on the movie.

“I really couldn’t say no given that I knew how excited he was about the project. I was impressed with Ryan’s ability to get all of his work done and the faculty’s flexibility in making it work,” Hall said.

“Bluebird” is a story about a boy locked inside a school bus on a winter night and the aftermath of the accident, and Maguire recalled very cold days on the set that began early and ended late.

As a wardrobe intern, Maguire said he worked from Sundays through Wednesdays, often making adjustments to costumes on the fly.

“Things were being tweaked almost incessantly. You have to think how (characters) would dress and how their choices affect their wardrobe,” he said.

During production, Maguire would return to Yarmouth for classes on Thursdays and Fridays. He studied on the bus rides or during breaks in filming.

Maguire said he likes to work with denim and various types of canvas. Carleton said Maguire understands how to incorporate design into what appeals to consumers.

“He has a good sense of what was relevant in today’s market. Ryan gets that, where a lot of young kids who may focus on design school may be 100 percent focused on creative design. It took me into my 20s before I developed a sense of commercial skill,” Carleton said.

Before entering Pratt Institute, Maguire will spend the summer learning about the business and marketing aspects of the design industry from Carleton.

The son of Kathy Ray and Paul Maguire, his younger sister, Molly, just completed her sophomore year at Yarmouth High School. Ryan was also a standout soccer player and said Pratt Institute presented a difficult choice because there is no soccer team. After college, he said, he would like to work at L.L. Bean or Patagonia.

He said he draws from working-class influences, and his grandparents and their neighbors in Lubec for inspiration.

“It is genuine up there,” Maguire said. “You want to make something for a customer who is real.

David Harry can be reached at 781-3661 ext. 110 or dharry@theforecaster.net. Follow him on Twitter: @DavidHarry8.

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Ryan Maguire, who graduated this month from Yarmouth High School, is studying to design fashions that reflect Maine’s environment and lifestyles.

Portland City Hall reporter for The Forecaster. Baltimore native, lived in Maine since 1989. A journalist since 2005, covering much of Cumberland and York counties. I joined The Forecaster in 2012.