Interview: Riyka

Charlie talks to Riyka about Lego men, doing a jig, and Sister Act.

What’s your favourite colour?

Rebecca Blue

Vedran Red

What’s your favorite crisps?

Vedran I didn’t have crisps, I chewed tobacco

Rebecca Salt and vinegar for me please!

The press release mentions Lego Men. Amazing. Tell me a little more about Lego, your childhood, Lego some more, and how your immersion in fashion started. Was it influenced by Lego?

I have always seen myself as making clothes, from a very young age, as far back as I can remember. I was not into Lego as a kid, but I have two brothers who where always building crazy things out of it. For the S/S13 collection I was looking at the simplicity of the Lego Men. It’s kinda funny, they are so basic looking, and it makes me want to be a kid again! The bright colors and the easy shapes, it’s perfect!

Your press release mentions redefining urban style; would you say it’s been misinterpreted then on occasions, or kept too stereotypical? What aspect of ‘urban’ did you focus on; the colour, the lifestyle, the materials? 

I think it gets used a lot regarding fashion trends, but to me urban means comfort first, but not in a outdoorsy way; more afunctionality. It’s comfortable, easy to wear, but we have not compromised the style, and that to me is urban! I guess it’s about a perception.

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So this ‘jig’, what’s it all about, how did the mods feel while listening to R&B, and how did you magic this music mash-up into a collection?

I guess the mods felt like they where part of a revolution, which is understandable. I have been listening to a lot of R&B and soul for the last six months, and I really get that feeling of making a change and moving forward. To me the connection is completely organic, I am influenced by this rhythm and the clothes are a result of this, they are easy, simple bright and fun to look at, and that is what it’s all about.

What’s the Memphis trend, where did this inspiration come from, and how did you play it into the designs? 

It comes from the Memphis design group (Italian interior and architecture design group) that where around in the 80s. I saw one of their works of art at the Tate Liverpool last year, and was so inspired. They where all about the simple shapes, functionality and vibrant colors, and there was also something quite jazzy about the way they put together shapes and colors… almost like a dynamic piece of music to me.

I took a look at your previous/current Autumn/Winter collection. And I LOVE how you blended together leather and denim so effortlessly and subtly. Do you look to patchwork and colour block materials together like this a lot?

Indeed, that is what RIYKA is all about, surprising you with the unexpected combos, and there is definitely more of that coming!

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I also noticed how you opt away from heels in the lookbook in exchange for sugary blue brogues. What’s the story behind this decision?

It’s a personal decision! I am that kind of girl, I don’t feel comfortable in heels, and never have managed to really pull them off – plus you can’t do a proper jig with heels on! It’s also about staying grounded. Vedran walks around in heels sometimes,though…!

I get ‘the coolest school uniform’ hint of inspiration. Like one of the girls from Sister Act who belts out an amazing song. Lauryn Hill perhaps. Was this ‘uniform’ vibe an intentional vibe?

I guess so, its a little bit preppy, I am very drawn to that, and I love the idea of creating a RIYKA uniform.

I also love how the poses in this lookbook have such a quirky dance appeal about it, as if the model is skipping and pulling shapes at the same time. Is it important with your lookbooks to get across a sense of fun and movement; is that key connotations to your creations?

Yes, it’s about being comfortable in the clothes, being able to move how you like, having fun and looking very cool at the same time. We like the models to have this attitude when we shoot, it really works with the clothes.

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How would you sum up Riyka; what does it represent from season to season and collection to collection?

RIYKA is fun, and she does not take herself too seriously. She represents our vision of the world: balancing fun, simplicity, interesting combinations and some sophistication. Creating quality pieces that are easy to wear, made out of quality materials, its all about keeping it REAL!

What’s next?

World domination!!!!! More print, more menswear pieces, and we will be going a little bit more into the elegant girly side in our next collections.

Words: Charlie Matthews