When I first stumbled upon the brand RIYKA on Etsy, I fell in love with the brand's aesthetic. Their clothes are so comfortable, neat and stylish! As I read more about the brand, I discovered that they use a combination of reclaimed, locally made or organic materials. When they use organic materials it must be GOTS certified.
GOTS stands for the Global Organic Textile Standard. GOTS strives to create one international standard for organic fabric, which ensures that the entire production process of the textile is ecological and sustainable. They even go a step further, ensuring that participating farmers and factories treat their employees fairly.
Rebecca Johnson is the co-owner and creative driving force behind RIYKA. She explains, in the interview below, that even though these fabrics are difficult to come by, they drive her passion to create timeless collections which survive fleeting trends. RIYKA's clothes dress your body and your conscience. It is an honor to feature this interview and her AW15 Collection, which will be available in shops in September. Read more below:
Tell us about your background.
RIYKA is run by Rebecca and Vedran, husband and wife. Rebecca Studied fashion in Israel, and vedran has an MA in business. They moved back to the UK in 2008 and set up RIYKA in 2011, with the idea of creating something they truly believed in and loved. Rebecca is the creative side of the business, and Vedran runs all the admin and logistics.
What made you take the leap and start your business?
We both felt that we needed an outlet to express ourselves, and also felt that we did not want to work for someone else. RIYKA is an expression of all the things we believe in-sustainability, timeless creation, quality and a simple fun and playful approach to fashion.
Why is making and shopping handmade so important?
It is a response to the fast over manufactured high street industry, people are turning back to the old way of creating and consuming as a back lash to an industry that has no exclusivity or individuality, people don't want to walk down the street and see another 10 people wearing the same shirt, bag as them.
I feel that eventually with time, people will get bored of all buying the same things, the process has started, and the exclusive hand made industry is where people are turning to, also because it is more transparent, and you can see who made what, and where it comes from.
Tell us about your creative process.
The area that we live in, east London is a constant inspiration for our collections, the creative process usually starts with music and leads me to look at the whole culture that surrounds it, I don't tend to look much at trend forecast, because the idea is to create timeless pieces that can be warn for a very long time.
Because we aim to work with sustainable fabrics, I source the fabrics first, with a colorway in mind, and design the collection around what I can find, as sourcing sustainable fabrics is much more limited, I have to work to what I can find, but I like the challenge, as it makes me create under pressure, which is really good for me!
We usually design a range based on successful previous season pieces, all samples are cut and made in our hackney studio, together with our lovely seamstress, which is a process I really like, because I learn so much from her experience re fitting, pattern cutting and sewing.
What is your studio space like?
We share the space with another 7 creative ladies, all in the beginning, or established there own businesses in fashion, textiles or illustration, the studio is just above a busy fruit and veg market, and the area is very dynamic and colourful, exactly all the things you need to stay inspired.
Who are your favorite makers and artists?
Fashion-Christopher Raeburn , Marimekko and Beaumont Organic
Current favourite artists- Lynnie Zolo (who I share my studio with) local amazing artists- Camille Walala and Lakwena Maciver, and I recently discovered Marie Rime a very inspiring artist that combines photography and collage-amazing!
Thank you Rebecca for sharing your story!