Rikson, a forward-thinking label founded not so long ago in East London has me enraptured ever since I received their initial email. Having pored over a couple of the stock images, I got just a little bit curious about this collection of 50s Americana meets ultra-modern menswear. After all, how often do you happen upon a designer who damns the current high-speed turnover of seasonal collections, and actually does something about it?
MM: What was your intention on starting Rikson?
R: It’s as much a compulsion as anything else. Even though it’s tremendously difficult to start a new brand, I had to do it. I’ve worked in the fashion industry for years and have always wanted to strike out on my own. After lots of analysing and re-analysing I came to the conclusion that I just had to shut my eyes and do it. Finance is always a problem for start-ups. So it was either don’t do it at all or just make a few pieces that I really love and see how it goes. So, here we are. With luck I’ll be able to grow the range but I intend for Rikson to stay relatively small. To keep the website as the main focus and perhaps open a handful of shops as a kind of anchor for the online business where customers can visit to see the clothes ‘in the flesh’ and to try them on, but that’ll be it.
I’d like customers to come to rely on Rikson to bring them relevant, exciting and considered clothes, and accessories that they know will look good. Customer service is so important. I want to make sure my shoppers are looked after and feel happy with what they’ve bought and the experience they’ve had.
MM: How would you describe the label’s aesthetic?
R: Edgy but elegant. That’s how I see Rikson. It’s about individualism, strength, courage but also about an innate sense of style. Through history, those men who we now view as style pioneers were adventurous with their dress but were also intuitive about cut and detail. The way a garment is cut is so important to me and I spend a lot of time making sure the lines are correct, that it fits and works with the body so the man who wears it feels and looks fantastic.
MM: What makes Rikson unique amongst several other British start-up menswear labels?
R: The way fashion is consumed is changing, or has changed already. Once, we were offered a collection seasonally and had to wait months for it hit the shops. Then you might not be able to get it if your local department store didn’t buy it, or it’s sold out, and besides that I don’t think I’ve ever wanted something according to a season. I want to be inspired by clothing offered all year round. I think we all expect things a lot faster now and clothing is certainly not an exception. I want Rikson to reflect that. To ignore the Spring/Summer, Autumn/Winter thing and to add new styles and discontinue others as the months go on. It’ll evolve and change like we do. I’m very keen on working with factories and individuals in the UK and they, at this point, allow me to make in small quantities relatively quickly so, hopefully, I’ll be able to do that.
Actually, that’s another point. Manufacturing in the UK has declined over the years as chain stores moved their production abroad and churn out acres of the same styles. There are some incredibly talented and passionate manufacturers in the UK and I love to work in that environment. They’re craftspeople really, with a lot of expertise to offer. I can’t say that I’ll never do production abroad as there are some things we just can’t do anymore in the UK as the facilities aren’t here but I want to take advantage of what we have as much as possible.
All Rikson garments are currently made in the UK, most with fabric produced here too. The ‘Rogue’ knit is hand knitted by a lady in Cornwall who loves to knit and I think it shows. There’s absolutely a bit of that in every garment. The ‘Vince’ leather jeans and ‘Taylor’ leather pleated trousers too are made by a lady in London who has worked with leather for years. She knows everything there is to know about it and embarks on every pair with as much care and zeal as the last. She really wants every pair to be the best it can be. And always so bright and cheerful!
Find all these looks and more online at Rikson.co.uk