Interview: Riyka for Supplementaire

In Blog, Interviews
RIYKA fledgling label based in London, UK and the brainchild of Rebecca & husband Vedran and is a product of: love, attention to detail, simplicity comfort, quality, and sustainability. It transcends the seasons; instead embodying quality & designs for life.  RIYKA designs combine materials of the highest quality in jersey, denim, and leather, to create garments in geometrical shapes with vibrant, contrasting colors. The collection is inspired by the culture of East London’s Art, Jazz, photography and design scenes. Choosing the highest quality materials manufactured in the EU. RIYKA support fair wage environment with, some materials reclaimed, some off cuts, and some British made. The potential and possibilities are endless as, for RIYKA.
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Above: Image credit www.veernyc.com
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Talk us through the launch of the brand, where did the idea come from and what’s the story behind it?
Riyka was born in 2010, after me and vedran moved to London, I spent a year doing internships for different fashion brands, and then I realized that I didnt want to work for anybody else. Vedran had studied his MA in business admin, and fully supported and helped me through the first stages of developing our own label. I designed a SS11 collection, but we didnt sell it, it was more like an experiment, and took it to different shops, and buyers, and listened to what they had to say, after a year of developing and researching,  RIYKA was properly born with the first collection that went into the shops in AW12.  The idea was to create a timeless style, that represented what we both truly believe in, simplicity, comfort and fun.

Androgyny plays a huge part in your label, why is this?
I have always been a little bit of a tom boy, I like to be comfortable and practical in my clothes, and maybe because we are a man and wife duo, it effects how I design?!

How important do you think it is for women to be feminine?
It is important, but its important how you do it. We personally think that women look more attractive/feminine when they are not trying to be sexy, and use subtle sophistication to style their wardrobe, its about creating that look that does not say “look at me” that is femininity to us.

How did you get into design?
I have always been interested in fashion, I studied it in school, then college, and then my degree. My husband did his MA in business administration, and he gave me the encouragement to pursue our own business, but it felt like a completely natural step, as we wanted to do something together, that we both loved doing.

What was your inspiration for your new collection?
I have been admiring the images of Vivian Sassen for a very long time, specifically the Flamboya series, and of course the jazz queens Ella Fitzgerald and Nina Simone, it felt like a right combination, beautiful vibrant colours, and the dynamic jazz beat

Why ethical, Why geometry?
Because that’s the kind of people we are, we try and be as ethical as much as we can with everything we do in our life, and because we hate the idea of someone suffering while creating our pieces, we want to make “happy” clothes, and today there is a lack of awareness in the process of creating garments. I would not want to wear anything that had a negative impact on the environment, or a person. And geometric, well, we like things simple, visually and practically, geometric shapes give us that, its about the essence of the shape really, and also how different geometric shapes create a sort of rhythm when they are all put together.

How do you work?
Everything starts from music, and then we just match the right colours and fabrics to that initial feeling. We are constantly trying to build on what we have made so far, which is also a sustainable approach to design, and we have this same approach towards fabric sourcing, as we try and work, or re work what we have into something new. Vedran works on the more financial side of the business, planing out production, sorting out monies, and taking care of my sanity, and I work on the more creative side. I quite like to get his approval, as he see things in a very technical and practical way, and can usually spot if I am being to extravagant with my ideas.

Who would you most like to see in your clothes?
Chloe Sevigny and Charlotte Gainsbourg

Tell us about what a day in your life would consist of?
We both drink a load of coffee, and start the day early, I usually work in the studio, where I mostly do the designing and technical work, while Vedran works from home, I spend a lot of my time on my bicycle as well, running errands in East London, meetings, visiting stockists, picking up fabrics, or sending out post. Vedran works on the brand admin, and more financial side of things, and mostly, keeps me sane.

As a couple working together, does this add any strains to your relationship?
No, we sometimes have disagreements on things, but we never bring them in to the relationship, its a huge privilege to work with your favourite person 

Outside of work, what do you like to do to have time out?
We are quite homy, and relaxed, but we like a good night out in hackney once in a while, the kind of night that you need a whole week to recover from. We love our Tate membership and we cycle a lot around London together – its free, healthy, and you discover many things about London that way

What have you got planned for the brand in 2014?
We plan to continue creating timeless pieces, and expand on the sustainability front, which we are already working with, using more ethical fabrics, and ethical practices.

For any aspiring designers wanting to break out in to the fashion industry, what advice would you offer?
If you love doing something, and it makes you happy, then you should try to make it happen. Don’t give up when you are disappointed, or someone has disappointed you. There is always a good reason when something bad happens, work hard and have a lot of patience.

What’s the best piece of advice anyone has ever given you?
My husband; whenever I am discouraged and fed up, he always says to me, “You are doing what you love, that is the biggest privilege you can have.”

You can find out more at riyka.com and the www.thecools.com. Riyka’s collection and this interview features in the next issue of Supplementaire.

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