1. Tell us a little bit about yourself
My name is Riona Treacy and I am the owner of a ready to wear womenswear label (of the same name). I was born and raised in Belfast, I moved to London 10 years ago where my label is based, and I live in leafy Islington with my husband.
2. Did you always dream of being a fashion designer? How did you get there, what was the path?
I knew I wanted to be a designer ever since I was a child. At school I was always sewing things and making projects with fabric, so naturally I went on to study Fashion & Textiles for both my BA and MA, before hopping across the pond to London to work as an intern and eventually setting up my label here.
3. You’ve worked with some amazing brands - Alexander McQueen and Mary Katranzou for example – before starting your own (amazing) brand. What was the most valuable lesson you learnt in those roles?
I worked on the embroidery team at McQueen and I learned so much about engineering patterns on the body in relation to placement and scale. I also learned a lot about myself and how much stamina I have. We often worked until 3am and had to be back in the studio for 9am, sometimes 6 days a week. But even though the hours were long, they are still some of the happiest memories of my career, I loved my team and respected my boss so much, it was a joy working for him.
4. If you could go back and tell yourself one thing before beginning your career what would it be.
Recognise your weaknesses early on and learn how to outsource to overcome these obstacles, you can’t be the best at everything! This was a hard lesson for me to learn, because I’m very practical and like to do everything myself, but getting the job done right is more important than attempting to do it yourself and getting it wrong.
5. What was your biggest fear when starting your line?
When I started out I was quite naïve, I would say fear only started creeping in the older I got and the further along in my career I got. I suppose the biggest fear now is running out of time, there never seems to be enough time!
6. What are the top 3 skills needed to succeed in fashion?
Quick decision making, bravery and trusting your gut instincts.
7. Biggest mistake (if any)?
Taking bad advice and listening to it! Saying that, I wouldn’t have learned from my mistakes; and I have learned lots of valuable lessons the hard way through trial and error, so I guess you could say there are no mistakes, only lessons.
8. How has fashion changed since you started out?
Fashion has changed so much, I’m most excited about the new technologies in textiles like 3D printing.
9. What role do you think social media plays in fashion today?
When I first started, Instagram was somewhere people shared pictures of their coffee, and now it has turned into its own entire commercial industry. With social media, fashion is so much more visually accessible. Before, to see images from a fashion show, you would have had to wait until they were published in print, now everything can be live streamed!
10. Biggest inspiration when creating a new collection?
Each collection is different, and inspiration can honestly come from anywhere. Sometimes it might just be a colour combination that triggers an idea. Once I have a concept, I will explore it as much as possible before actually putting pencil to paper and designing the garments. I’ll often spend a few weeks visiting fabric shops and collecting hundreds of fabric samples before making any decisions. I have files and boxes full of fabrics I have collected over the years.
11. Your pieces are explorative and challenge fashion conventions – would you say they are a material representation of you?
Each collection I do definitely depicts my mood at the time. But I suppose you could say each garment is a representation of me or how I like to dress. I’m feminine but not girly, so I do think my designs tend to have the same aesthetic.
12. Top tips for dressing – go!
Comfort is key in any outfit, casual or glam. If you feel comfortable you’ll feel confident, which is the best outfit you can be dressed in!