His friends call him “Stitch”. Not because he is blue and from another world… Recreating costumes and props from familiar films and television shows went from a hobby to a job and a part-time career. Costuming has been a huge part of life for Ryan since high school but really took off in 2005. Ryan is a disabled veteran and 21 year retired U.S. Navy Aircrew Survival Equipmentman or better known as a Parachute Rigger.
Ryan’s Navy career took him all over the world and he has accomplished many of his dreams and goals with many awards and commendations, he even served in combat zones three times in Operation Northern Watch (ONW) and Operation Southern Watch (OSW) established in the wake of 1991 Gulf War in order to protect civilian populations of Iraq and enforce no fly zones.
Ryan attended boot camp in the summer of 1990 at Great Lakes, IL and his Navy Class “A” School was in Millington, TN that fall. After 14 weeks of intense training he successfully graduating 3rd out 14 in his class with 97.65% average, he was given orders to NAS Miramar, CA with VAW-88 a E-2C Hawkeye Airborne Early Warning squadron for the next four years. Next, he was sent few miles south to HS/HC-85 located at NAS North Island also in San Diego, CA where he became intricate part of his helicopter Search and Rescue unit that maintained H-3 Sea King’s for four more years. Getting his first taste of Hollywood he was asked to work on the (1995) Ron Howard Film “Apollo 13” because of his already vast knowledge of survival equipment…
Taking the leap to the east coast, Ryan was hand selected to supervise Flight Equipment (ALSS) shop of VAQ-209 at Andrews AFB / NAF Wash DC to work on EA-6B’s Electronic Warfare jammers. Placed in a position normally filled by a sailor one rank higher, Ryan traveled the world to the middle east 4 times before, during and after 9/11. He oversaw the flight equipment for over 45 pilots and ECMO’s and visited Turkey three times and the extreme temperatures of Saudi Arabia while participating in Operation Enduring Freedom and earned many awards and citations.
Looking for a change from the fast paced squadron life, Ryan then headed south to take over as Leading Petty Officer of the 800 Division at the NAS Atlanta Aircraft Intermediate Maintenance Department and was tasked with supervising sailors, marines and civilians running the entire base Paraloft/Lox Farm supporting 5 different squadrons. After being promoted again it was time to move on and after a request and many coordination emails Ryan had the pleasure of Amanda Tapping performing his final re-enlistment ceremony on March, 26, 2006 in Vancouver, BC.
During this weekend he also had the one in lifetime chance to tour BOTH sets of SG-1 and the Atlantis. Ryan had the pleasure of meeting many of the cast and crew and showing off his costume to Executive Produce N. John Smith who joking accused him of stealing it from the wardrobe department.
In November of 2006, Ryan was sent to the great white north for a brief year and half to NAS Brunswick, Maine to work on P-3 Orion’s until the decommission of VP-92 on 30 November 2007. Though short tour they made some great friends and will never forget their friend and the great food the State of Maine has to offer!
Ryan’s last position for 3.5 years as Leading Petty Officer of the Flight Equipment (ALSS) shop of VFA-204. This was no ordinary F-18 squadron. This was the famous New Orleans River Rattlers of VFA-204 an adversary squadron stationed at NAS JRB New Orleans with some the most skilled pilots in the world. Many had attended TOP GUN more than once and had earned their ADVERSARY tab.
On the road almost as much as the Blue Angels Ryan saw numerous trips to Key West, Fallon and his favorite of all over a month in Guam. Ryan then retired from the Navy on July 31st, 2010 with 20 years, 11 months and 22 days of service and moved back north to Western New York to Katie’s hometown to pursue his hobbies and business and to finish college. Which he did achieve in January of 2014 graduating from the University of Phoenix with Bachelor of Science with a steady 3.44 GPA in Organizational Security and Management.
As for his hobby that started to grow into much much more… Ryan was called back to New Orleans to work on “Enders Game” and maintains few contacts with Hollywood when he is called upon! Ryan often says “My father always told me to only do what you love, and you never have to work a day in your life!” So creating a business centered around his passion was one way he was able to do that. Katie and Ryan were blessed with a baby girl, Hollee, born in Aug of 2013. His dedication and time management is constantly challenged, but he always does his best to do so. Katie aka HothGirl both share this passion of costuming and have spent years and way too much time and money putting together authentic and very realistic prop and costumes. Ryan and Katie do a lot of charity work for children and events with their costumes and it can be very rewarding.
So how did they all get started? While in New Orleans Ryan was hired as a military prop consultant and then also became a costume adviser on the major motion picture Green Lantern staring Ryan Reynolds & (now wife) Blake Lively. The more talents the crew found out the more then began to use Ryan on set. Ryan was even chosen by Martin Campbell to help direct one small scene because of his expertise in parachute and ejection seats. As a thank you for Ryan’s hard work and efforts he was given small cameo in the film as UCAV technician #3 (uncredited).
Ryan worked for two of Hollywood’s best Prop Master and Costume Designers. It was a dream come true for Ryan to take his 20 years of military knowledge and his hobby and twist into a real job. After Ryan retired and they had wrapped on the movie it was time for the next step? Over the years of becoming a rigger the nickname of “Stitch” was a constant. The word “Loft” was taken from Paraloft where all the work was done! It only seemed the obvious choice was to create “Stitch’s Loft” and turn the hobby into a business that he could enjoy and help others achieve their dreams in costuming.
Now with over a decade of prop & costume knowledge, a reference database over 500GB with a staggering 82,000+ files, organized into 2,900+ folders, Ryan’s business has grown to a customer base in all 50 states and 118 countries worldwide. Stitch’s Loft humbly has becoming a household name with many gate fans. “I treat each order like you are one my personal friends and will do anything I can to ensure you are 100% satisfied with your costume, prop or product”. Ryan tries to work with anyone’s budget and advises and consults with them often for HOURS before single item is purchased. Some people can be very hesitant about sending large amounts of money to total stranger half way around the world, but Ryan can proudly say his feedback on his site and his eBay rating has been at 100% since Oct of 2000. Ryan personally has been shocked by the level trust some have for him and has no intentions of breaking those commitments to anyone. In May of 2013 Ryan was even featured as guest blogger on one of the real writers from gate series Joseph Mallozzi’s Blog.
Ryan and few close friends he considers part of his team are constantly working hard to roll out new and exciting products. Ryan has many projects he and his team are working on and excited to complete them for the fans around the world. Some of the current 2020-2021 projects are a screen accurate Desert Vest and a fully functional Atlantis Life Signs Detector with working graphic files. Now with SIX motion pictures one television show and a web mini series under his belt, Ryan takes those 30 years of experience in industrial sewing on survival & tac-equipment and gives you and his friends a chance to share his passion for prop and costuming. Have the Hollywood look without the Hollywood price tag Ryan always says!