The Limelight: Rivers Jade
[MIKARA] What was the one moment knew you wanted to be a fashion designer? What age was it?
[MELISSA] I was aged 13. Everyone around me seemed to think I dressed weirdly or not cool enough (or so I though)! Everybody would be wearing clothes from Topshop clothes I couldn't afford at the time. Since then, I knew I wanted to make unique couture garments that are priceless yet expensive.
[MIKARA] Who introduced you to fashion?
[MELISSA] I researched fashion myself. I was intrigued by the upcoming trends and the markets of different trends and fashion in different countries.
[MIKARA] What is your process for designing? How do get into the rhythm of creating your collection(s)?
[MELISSA] First, I start off with a concept. Could be a photograph or a feeling. Then I start drawing from primary research, creating prints and patterns which comes from the fashion illustrations. After that comes fabric and beading embroidery designing.
[MIKARA] What is fashion to you? How do you define fashion?
[MELISSA] I define fashion as something that you make your own. Fashion is a way of expressing one’s self. To dress the way you feel most comfortable in; a way that defines you as a person.
[MIKARA] How would describe the Rivers Jade London client in 3 words?
[MELISSA] Elegant, exquisite, androgynous.
[MIKARA] Since you have the title, Fashion Designer, are you the Creative Director for Rivers Jade London as well?
[MELISSA] Yes, I am the Creative Director of RIVERSJADE. Also launching in New York in 2019 where I am currently based.
[MIKARA] If yes, How much of the business side of things are you involved in?
[MELISSA] Within the business side of it, I am involved currently at 50/50 with my business partner.
[MIKARA] Outside of fashion design, do you have any other hidden talents?
[MELISSA] Outside of fashion design, I like to paint portraits which I have been doing for years.
[MIKARA] How has fashion made you express your new dimensions in your brand? Life? Confidence?
[MELISSA] Yes. Because I’m so intrigued in the way fashion can tell you a lot about somebody’s personality, I myself dress very colorful and androgynous. I dress boldly and this builds up my confidence as I’m walking down the streets of Manhattan not caring what people think I dress like, yet just enjoying how I feel. My confidence has definitely grown and will continue to do so.
[MIKARA] How do you maintain your brand relevancy to the fashion trends and balance your target customer?
[MELISSA] I do a lot of research on what the next upcoming trend is. I look at which garments with specific pattern cutting sell the most and which print is the new in print, upcoming color of the season. I also look at what my target audience is currently buying and interested in.
[MIKARA] If you could pick a celebrity/influence to be your brand ambassador for a season, who would it be and why?
[MELISSA] There are two very different people I would have as my brand ambassador. First would be LYNN GUNN. The front women from the band PVRIS. She reminds me a little of myself in the struggles of life, she's been through and how she turned her feeling into something positive with art. She's also a gay rights activist which I truly appreciate as all people should be seen as equal. Secondly is Priyanka Chopra. She is a highly intelligent respected business women. Her heart is in the best place and she is a great role model for women all around the world.
[MIKARA] What luxury designer/brand do you admire the most and why?
[MELISSA] I am completely in love with Elie Saab for his elegant style and the way he captures the graceful beauty of women in every collection with its details of beading and beautiful fabrics. Also Iris Van Herpen. Her 3D printing couture collection or magnificent and her collection showcase something unlike anything that anyone has been able to do before.
[MIKARA] In the next 3-5 years, where would you like to see your brand?
[MELISSA] I would like to see my brand completely set up in NY with a whole team of amazing curators in a huge bright studio office. I would also like to see my brand be awarded for the CFDA Fashion Awards by 2022.
[MIKARA] What’s next for Rivers Jade London?
[MELISSA] To set up a studio in New York, with a full team. We are currently working on the next collection for AW19.