Last month, during the final night of Mobile Fashion Week I had a chance to meet Designer Shelby Rider. Her collection was one of many from the night that left a lasting impression on the audience. While taking a break from her busy schedule I had a chance to talk more in depth with the designer.
Keeping reading for more from our interview.
- Can you tell the readers a little about yourself?
My name is Shelby Rider and I am an American fashion designer. I grew up in Tulsa, Oklahoma and went to high school in Fairhope, Alabama. I received my bachelor of fine arts degree from Virginia Commonwealth University in Richmond, Virginia, and spent a semester abroad studying in Florence, Italy attending Santa Reparata International School of Art. I love traveling and have recently visited Doha, Qatar; Paris, France; and many cities in Italy, but I have finally settled down in New York to focus on my career in Fashion. As a designer, I specialize in surface techniques such as laser cutting, beading, screen-printing, and fabric manipulation. I consider myself an artist above anything else and choose to use my artistic abilities to add unique and creative elements to my garments.
Shelby Rider Fashion “Pastry” Collection
Image Credit: Shelby Rider
- Your Pastry Collection showcased at this year’s Mobile Fashion Week. What was the inspiration for the collection and how was your experience at this year’s event? (favorite moment or etc.)
My pastry collection was inspired by my family and the restaurant that we own in Fairhope, Alabama: R Bistro and Pastry. My mom is an amazing self-taught pastry and savory chef and my sister, Madeleine, just got her degree from the French Pastry school in Chicago where she was taught by world champion pastry chefs. Because we both graduated in the same year, my mom decided to celebrate our achievements by doing a showcase at the bistro.
We did a three-course wine dinner and the two collections I had at the time walked during the appetizer and main course. I knew I wanted to make a special new collection to show during the dessert course, so I had the idea to use Maddie’s new pastry skills as the inspiration. I used a lot of white ruffles to resemble whipped cream and kept everything bright and colorful like the glazes she makes.
I like to make very whimsical and fun garments.
Shelby Rider Fashion “Pastry” Collection at Mobile Fashion Week 2016
Image Credit: My Own Sense of Fashion
My experience at Mobile Fashion Week was great! I think the audience seemed to like what they saw, and I even had several models backstage checking out my clothing and telling me that they wished they were walking in my collection, which was a great compliment. I worked very hard to make my segment of the show a full pastry experience. Not only did I have candy related music, but I filmed and created a video of my sister baking while she danced around in my collection pieces, and I finished it off by placing one of R Bistro’s macarons on the seat of each VIP member. I wanted everyone to feel like they were a part of the show and have a great time.
- As a sustainable fashion designer what would be your advice to a designer looking to take this step as well?
There are so many approaches to sustainable fashion design that you kind of have to find your own path. There are many techniques such as natural dye methods, only using organic fabrics, upcycling old clothing, and so on. The sustainable practices that I usually employ are fabric recycling and zero waste techniques. Zero waste is a method used to ensure that the designer uses every scrap of fabric so that nothing is wasted and sent to a landfill.
This means either cutting shapes that use the entirety of the fabric, or taking the leftovers to create appliques to be placed back into the design, which is the route that I usually take. The ways that I maintain these methods are by collecting a lot of fabric over time. I like to buy from remnant bins that will be thrown out or I take the scraps that other people no longer need. This not only ensures that the remnants will be used and kept out of landfills, but it also forces you to be more creative when you have smaller pieces of fabric. I hold on to all of my treasures until I have enough to create a cohesive collection, and then I make it work. Recycling textiles is so important to our environment, and if you try hard enough, the limitations of it can bring you something very new and unique.
Shelby Rider Fashion “Marie Antoinette” Collection in Italy
Image Credit: Shelby Rider
- Switching it up if you could design for anyone past and present who would it be and why?
That’s a hard one… There are so many designers that I respect and would love working with, but my two favorites are Dolce & Gabbana and Valentino. It was not until I started studying in Italy that I realized that every designer I look to for inspiration just happens to be Italian… I think that between the two I would prefer to work with Valentino Garavani. I met him when I was in Qatar, and I just love the way that he talks about his clothing with such passion. He just kept repeating how beautiful life was, and I found him to be a wonderful man. I wish I had been able to spend more time with him, but he gave me a signed copy of one of his books that I will cherish for the rest of my life.
- In addition to being a fashion designer, you are also a graphic designer and illustrator. How do you incorporate these skills into Shelby Rider Fashion?
I love all aspects of art, but I never knew that my path would lead me to fashion design. I started at Virginia Commonwealth thinking that I would apply to be in the Communication Art program. I mainly drew portraits but also did photography. After finishing their art foundation program, which included a short project class in the Fashion Design Department, I knew I wanted to try something new. I applied and got in, and I also landed a job in the Graphic Design Department, so I was learning a bit of everything.
It was not until I moved to Italy, though, that I was sure how I would incorporate all of my skills together. I took a screen printing class where I hand drew two different patterns and hand printed them onto several meters of fabric. The prints I made inspired the Marie Antoinette collection on my website. That was the most cross-disciplinary project I have done so far, and I look forward to doing more in the future. I also always make it a point to create my own logos and do my own photography. It is not to get recognition for doing it all, but for myself to be in a constant state of creating.
Shelby Rider Fashion “Seven Wonders” Collection inspired by the Paricutin Volcano
Image Credit: Shelby Rider
- Lastly, where can people find you online?
Most of my work can be seen on my website: ShelbyRiderFashion.com but I post a lot of in progress photos via my Instagram: Shelby_Rider
I also have a Facebook page called Shelby Rider Fashion.
I am always happy to reply to emails at ShelbyRiderFashion@gmail.com
Special thanks again to Shelby Rider. Find Shelby and Shelby Rider Fashion at her website, Instagram, and Facebook.
All opinions expressed on the blog appear courtesy of Tamarah Brown for My Own Sense of Fashion © unless otherwise stated (i.e. interviews). No use or reproduction may occur without the written consent of the author.