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Staying grounded

Time:2017-01-23 18:30Shoes websites Click:

Staying grounded

A stalwart in the local fashion industry for almost 10 years, Rico Rinaldi remains steadfastly humble in the face of glamour. In a simple attire of white shirt, grey pants and sport shoes, his choice of clothes is as unassuming as his mannerism.

From his personal dressing style to the way he manages his eponymous label, he is a man who challenges people’s perception of how a fashion designer should be. More importantly, his unvarnished view on how to survive this industry is refreshing and down-to-earth.

“It’s important for designers to treat fashion as a business because there really isn’t time for us to daydream anymore, especially the young ones. Fashion designing is more than glitz and glamour, fashion shows and dressing celebrities; at the end of the day, your priority is to sell your clothes. Fashion is a business and if you don’t start treating it that way, you’ll struggle financially. Hence, don’t put your head in the clouds,” he advised.

The maturity that Rico exudes can also be seen in his evolution as a designer. From the talented young man who debuted almost a decade ago, he has now grown into a multifaceted designer who is skilled in both bespoke and ready-to-wear womenswear, as well as wedding dresses. According to him, although his designing style changes from one collection to the next, the biggest difference is that he has toned down on the flamboyance.

“I used to be crazy about avant garde clothing, just so that I can stand out from the rest, but now I focus more on commercialised pieces that one can wear on a day-to-day basis. Having said that, I refuse to keep my clothes too simple as it’ll make them generic. So in Rico Rinaldi, you'll find wearable pieces incorporated with unique elements.”

Considering how most of his clients are businesswomen, the brand excels in sophisticated and feminine clothing that are rich in details such as embellishments and inspired gemstones. The romantic traits of his womenswear collections extend into the wedding series too.

In fact, Rico’s venture into bridal wear three years ago proved to be a shrewd strategy, for it expanded his target audience and further established his versatility as a designer.

“Wedding gowns are different from womenswear, so I’m still figuring things out, trying new stuff, and wanting to nail down the perfect Rico Rinaldi wedding look. I have a lot more to learn, but I’m getting there – compared to my earlier collections, the latest one is more focused, structured and light,” he explained.

Besides undertaking different designing genres, the 30-year-old also collaborated with Tomita Senkogei, a leading Japanese fabric designer. This is a long-term partnership that includes special collections for Singapore Fashion Week and Tokyo Fashion Week.

“Tomita’s team contacted me sometime last year as they were looking for a designer to establish their kimono fabric outside of Japan. After several discussions, we decided to work together and our debut collection was the Summeraya 2016 bespoke collection.The kimono fabrics are unique as they are fully handmade and hand-painted. They’re similar to Batik, but so much more detailed.”

For someone who only discovered fashion designing in university, Rico has certainly come a long way from his younger days of fiddling around with his mother’s sewing machine. What remains the same, though, is his tenacity of making something out of nothing. Therefore, expect to see Rico Rinaldi gracing the scene for the foreseeable future.

Staying grounded

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