RIYKA

“Every stage of producing a RIYKA collection /garment is of the utmost importance, and a part of what makes RIYKA what it is,” says the co-owner and designer, Rebecca Johnson. 

Rebecca Johnson and her husband Vedran Kulic complement each other and work as a wonderful duette. This is illustrated through their working together on what they both love and believe in, their sustainable womens fashion line, RIYKA.

RIYKA aims to be a timeless label. With its geometric patterns, high quality fabrics and comfortable silhouettes it stands out in the saturated environment of London-based independent brands. RIYKA apparel is often made of recycled fabrics, such as deep blue denim, leather and pure cotton, combined into simple shapes. Vibrant colourful, and optimistic playfulness shines through their collections.

Modecut spends a delightful afternoon with Rebecca in their creative hub, located in Dalston, London, as she spoke of her and Vedran’s story, what RIYKA stands for and what are the important ingredients in their collections, such as sustainability, fair production and a high quality make.

  

 

 

 

 

 

 

Tell us about your background?

I was born in the UK and raised in Israel. I did my degree in fashion over there and it is where I met Vedran, who is from Bosnia. We moved to London in 2008, and started the label together in 2010. Vedran comes from an engineering background and he did his MA in business.

 

Was there a certain point in your life where you knew you wanted to work creatively?

I always wanted to work in fashion so it only seemed natural for me to take this step. Obviously with loads of support from Vedran.

 

 Tell us more about RIYKA and  your outlook on fashion?

RIYKA has a mischievous attitude that comes through clashing shapes and vibrant colors. All inspired by music and the energetic cultures of East London. We play with patterns of triangles that RIYKA is recognizable for, which we use in different color palettes and material combinations, either printed or paneled for each season. Less is more for us in everything we do, so therefore we stick with clean shapes and basic colors without ostentatious decorations or unnecessary froufrou.

Comfort is very important for us, thus we use materials that are of high quality and very comfortable. We use only natural materials that feel good on the skin. We want a person wearing our clothes to feel comfortable and relaxed at all times of the day.

Sustainability is what drives our processes of creation and production through timeless garments and a high quality make. We don’t believe garments should be discarded easily, thus we produce them to last a long time, much more than one season. This requires a high quality of work and our production unit is based in the EU. Where possible we use reclaimed denim and leather off cuts, but we also use organic materials where we can.

 

Working as a duo with your husband, how do you complement each other?

Well, he is the logic and the brains behind RIYKA while I am the creative side. I guess it’s a good balance for what we are doing, and we tend not to interfere in each others side of the business. We blindly trust each other on what we are doing, and so far it has worked.

 

When you start a project – do you normally follow a creative process?

Yes, always with an inspiration at the beginning of every season. But it is a continuation from the season before with the same language with a slightly different vibe. The initial inspiration throws me idevelopment, which is a combination of what we like. Furthermore, what is sustainable to the business and the environment, and what our customer wants, and how we can surprise her!

 

What do you think are the pros and cons of being a London based, independent brand?

The pros are an endless pool of inspiration and a great source of creative competition. The British/London customer is hungry for an individual unique look. With so many people and so many cultures there is always somebody that’s interested in what you have to say.

The cons are having very, very big competition from the British high-street. Fast fashion is the biggest con in London, that’s why we try hard to differentiate ourselves and offer something unique that can’t be found on the high-street. Oh another con is the rubbish weather!

 

 In a fast moving fashion industry, what is important for you to communicate as a designer and independent label?

That we care about what we make and we want to make it to last. We appreciate the hard work of everyone that is involved in RIYKA, and we want that to be transparent to our customer at every stage of producing a RIYKA collection/garment, and a part of what makes RIYKA what it is.

 



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