REBECCA Johnson always knew that she would make and design clothes. She says that she never pictured herself doing anything else, particularly after graduating with a BA honours degree from the Shenkar College of Engineering and Design in Israel in 2008.
Keeping the brand close to her heart, Johnson decided to affectionately adopt her great Grandmother’s nickname, originally spelt 'Reeca', and add a personal twist. Johnson draws influence and inspiration from the different cultures she immerses herself in and her designs are subsequently her own interpretations of a personal experience.
“The inspiration for the collections is always developing; it will always have a background of strong cultural influence, but it’s more about looking at the essence of these cultures – shapes, colours and music.”
She says that having her studio in Dalston, the melting pot of east London, means that she has immediate access to a whole array of cultures and subcultures. She explains that “the inspiration for the collections is always developing; it will always have a background of strong cultural influence, but it’s more about looking at the essence of these cultures – shapes, colours and music.”
Johnson tells us that the RIY_KA Spring/Summer 2012 collection is “deeply inspired by the beautiful 27 wives of renowned Nigerian Singer Fela Kuti.” It is “a collection holding the essence of these women: unique beauty, dance and the inspiring sound of Afro beat.”
In an ambitious attempt to emulate an astonishing rhythm and natural beauty through fashion design, RIY_KA has combined mirrored geometric panels, a minimal color palette of blues and oranges, and the contrasting textures of denim, linen and leather. The designer describes the collection as “a story of building a new dynamic texture that represents this beautiful music.”
With fellow designer Walter van Beirndonk as her fashion icon, Rebecca Johnson is keen to stick to her guns as a designer, marveling at others like van Beirdonk who manage to do so. She also appreciates “the cynical and humorous side of fashion” and the designer refreshingly grounded. Not only that, she's is a bit of a multi-social media maven, seeing that sort of progression as natural and is keen to follow the direction the world is turning.
Right now there are two RIY_KA collections a year and the young designer hopes that in five years time she’ll still feel inspired to create every single day. The continued development of her brand is next on her agenda and she's hopeful that RIY_KA will be adding accessories, textile design and menswear in the near future. Something we all look forward to.
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