Our lead designer, Jenna Rankin, tell us how she infused a spirit of hope and positivity into Collection 07 and how these innovative new products represent a big step forward for Riley Studio.
How did you start to plan Collection 07?
I started designing this collection in December of last year, while we were in our pop-up shop in Notting Hill. Then, the prospect of a Christmas lockdown was slowly becoming a reality and we were all feeling slightly gloomy about the coming few months. I tried to put myself in the mindset of where I wanted to be and what I wanted to be doing in September 2021.
We wanted to create a feeling of hope, positivity and change as we all moved away from struggles of the last 18 months and towards a period of rebuilding and mending. It was important to me to put a focus on wellbeing and being outdoors. From the beginning I had always imagined this collection campaign being photographed outside in nature.
How did you translate this sense of positivity into the clothing?
Textures felt more important than ever, I wanted to include lots of contrasting soft fabrics that can be layered together. I also wanted to pull in some slightly bolder colours than previous collections, like river blue and rust that bring in an instant brightness and playfulness while remaining rooted in nature.
Riley Studio designs are always based on innovative fabrics. What was the best fabric discovery that you worked into Collection 07?
I wanted to expand on our knitwear offering by utilising the British wool we have on our doorstep. When I found Farmer John and his Bluefaced Leicester sheep it was such an exciting development for the collection. I loved the story of this yarn and was so surprised by how amazingly well it knitted. We have a film that gives a sense of what life is like on John's farm that I'm very excited for people to see.
Developing gender free clothing that really functions takes a lot of work. What was your biggest challenge in this collection?
The British Wool Patchwork Cable Knit was possibly the most difficult piece to develop. It took countless revisions and a lot of patience from our knitwear factory over a period of 4 or 5 months to create the final product. But it felt important to push for perfection, as it really encompasses the symbolic mending and repairing that I wanted for the collection, plus we wanted to make sure it demonstrated the full potential of our British wool.
Do you have any other favourite pieces that you want to call out?
The other standout piece, for me, is the Food Dyed Puffer Jacket. Our founder, Riley, had spoken about how much she would love to introduce puffers into the Riley Studio wardrobe and it felt like the perfect opportunity to work with some of the brilliant, innovative mills I have met with over the last few years.
The jacket is made from the most amazing textured recycled nylon from Komatsu in Japan that's been dyed with food waste, and is filled with recycled polyester from Freudenberg in Germany that's made from plastic bottles.
To utilise such a wide variety of innovative fabrics and trims on one product feels like a real achievement for our small and growing brand. I can’t wait to watch our community delve into the collection and introduce these pieces into their wardrobe.