From Rags to Vic Riches
"To get the abstract shapes I was experimenting with to fit, it was a long haul of trial and error."
You know the feeling when you're confronted with an instruction manual packed with page after page of confusing details, order and doodle graphs that are supposed to be helpful. Most people get frustrated with an instruction manual but Vic Riches gets crafty. The British designer recently caught the attention of the fashion world with her graduate collection for London's Kingston University's Fashion Week which was inspired by defects and appropriately named, "Defects and Remedies." Her latest is a "misinterpretation" of tailoring instruction manuals. Creative? Yes. Unique? Yes. Genius? Yes. Oh-so-intrigued by Vic's awesome approach to fashion, we get the answers straight from the source.
Tell us how you first realized fashion design was your calling?
Vic Riches: I started becoming interested in clothes when I was quite young, although it was a last minute decision to take the plunge and study fashion design. I have always enjoyed being creative, but I tended to lean more towards graphics or illustration. I chose to study fashion because it would be more of a challenge from what I was used to creating.
What kind of fashion creations did you make for yourself growing up?
I actually never enjoyed sewing when I was younger! I was totally put off when I studied Textiles in high school. When I dabbled in fashion on Foundation I would shortcut by using a glue gun. I was always creating and drawing, but rarely making a finished garment. It wasn’t until my Degree I devoted myself to pattern cutting and sewing.
How does graphic design help you with fashion design?
As I mentioned I have always been interested in graphics, mostly inherited from my Dad who is a graphic designer. I think this has really helped in terms pulling a portfolio together. However, fashion and graphics are two very different disciplines, and it was a push to match fashion design skills with my interest in graphics. I think my joint interest really came through in my graduate collection.
Walk us through your inspiration for your collection for the Kingston Graduate Fashion Week. And tell us about Defects and Remedies. How’d you come up with this idea and make it work?
The objective of my graduate collection was to challenge myself as much as I could before I finished my Degree. The concept of ‘Defects and Remedies’ was sparked by the idea of making mistakes and misinterpreting tailoring instruction manuals. Despite ‘errors’ forming the silhouette, I wanted the collection to be clean-cut and fully considered. To get the abstract shapes I was experimenting with to fit, it was a long haul of trial and error. The most enjoyable part of this collection was creating the patterns; I had a huge focus on pattern cutting, which has left me with a lot more confidence in ambitious clothing construction.
What and who are your biggest muses?
I don’t have a muse in particular, because my inspiration always changes. I quickly get sick of the sight of what was influencing a previous collection! In terms of role models, I always look up to my parents. They are both working designers, and have a huge influence on the decisions I make.
Tell us about your book, Fashion Bites.
Fashion Bites came up out of the blue! It was my first major commission and really was a life-changing moment. I was approached by the publisher, Hardie Grant to illustrate the book during my studies at Kingston. After this point, I had a far higher demand for commissions, so I had to step up a gear in terms of balancing it with my studies.
What does the future hold? What collections can we expect to see?
I will be shortly moving to San Francisco to design womenswear for Old Navy! I loved the time I spent out there last year on a placement, so I was really excited to get a job offer. Meanwhile I want to make sure I keep up my own designs, as I love pattern cutting and the freedom of making my own clothes.