If you ask Ryland Hilbert about trends for this season, he’ll tell you the term is an archaic view of fashion. Sure, there are those seasonal passersby in the way of style, quickly shifting from fashion fame’s purview to a forgotten corner of the closet. But it is timeless basics and a few fun statement pieces that the self-described pan-Hamptons local aims to bring to his new Sag Harbor store, Ryland Life Equipment, outfitting men and the home.
Sharing stories of his grandfather’s life growing up in Sag Harbor, serving in World War II, building a home in Southampton, serving as a firefighter for more than 50 years and a sweet memory of how he would bring flowers to his wife’s grave every Sunday, Hilbert is proud of his local history. He grew up in Southampton himself, and after school would break down boxes at a local shop when he was 12. This was his start in retail.
“It stuck and I dedicated and crafted a skill working with different brands to grow their platform and stores,” Hilbert, a graduate of the Fashion Institute of Technology. “I have taken everything I have learned with my years in retail in the Hamptons, New York City and Los Angeles and coupled it with my education.”
His investor and partner, former president of PepsiCo Global Beverages Brad Jakeman, immigrated to the United States from Sydney, Australia, 23 years ago. Having had a Hamptons home for nearly two decades, he made the full-time move to Bridgehampton last year. His résumé includes serving as the chief marketing officer at Activision and executive vice president of marketing at Macy’s. Together, Hilbert and Jakeman are combining their various expertise with a focused concept, social media marketing and a thoughtful selection of brands that tell a story.
Calling their curation a mix of attributes and considerations, Hilbert and Jakeman look at a brand’s quality and social impact, and they get particularly excited if a brand has a unique view of a category. Primarily making their selections on instinct, more than 60 brands are offered in men’s apparel, apothecary and home accessories. Hilbert takes a hands-on approach as well, collaborating with designers and producers to create various lines, like handmade pottery from a generations-old family business in the Cotswolds in the United Kingdom or high-quality cashmere produced at the same factory as some of the most exclusive cashmere brands in the world.
“I have always loved cashmere and have seen how clients in the Hamptons love it, too,” Hilbert explains. “But there’s always been a trade-off between high quality and reasonable price. So, we decided to collaborate with designers, cashmere experts and local producers in Inner-Mongolia to solve that.”
The warm and inviting space takes advantage of the inventory to display various wares and clothing, offering a unique physical experience that will change weekly. For the home, it’s more about what will work in the Hamptons rather than what’s trending. Understanding the Hamptons vibe is a complementary blend of casual, beachy, and luxury, the curated selection of home goods runs the gamut while touching on the area’s famed aesthetic.
“Bright colors, fun prints, like our awesome Missoni collection, and a strong sense of artisanship are what you’ll find in the home collection,” Hilbert shares. “We know though that entertaining and dinner parties are a big part of the Hamptons lifestyle, so there’s a highly curated selection of Baccarat and some vintage pieces that we have collected in our travels.”
With a tagline of “equipping men everywhere for whatever life throws at them,” Ryland Life Equipment looks forward to being part of and adding to the year-round community. The shop is open daily at 26 Madison Street in Sag Harbor. Learn more at rylandlife.com.