Moving to an eighties Ska soundtrack, Riyka is an East London fashion label with a youthful breeziness that’s relaxed and razor-edge all at the same time. This is luxury sports at its most expressive – with an effortless air that is irreverent and understated.
Riyka is a great journey into wearable fashion, and the AW12-13 collection entitled “Are you dancing yet”? is about geometry, panelling and directional wearability.
The twin inspirations of Ska and the Congolese sapeurs make for an intriguing combination. The phenomenon of the African sapeurs is an amazing fashion contradiction that emerged from a wartorn, poverty stricken Congo. In an act of rebellion against a dictatorial decree that everyone should dress in traditional African costume, the sapeurs imitate the French and Belgian colonists who seized control over the Congo during the 1880s. These men are a group of immaculate, fastidious dressers in their three-piece suits, immaculate brogues and vibrant peacock colours. Their Société des Ambianceurs et des Personnes Élégantes, or the Society of Tastemakers and Elegant People, has rules of conduct and of dress and is centered around Brazzaville and Kinshasa, the adjacent capitals of the Republic of Congo and the Democratic Republic of Congo.
The vibrant streetstyle of the sapeurs lends colour and feel to the Riyka collection, whilst Ska music lends its relaxed London vibe. In the late eighties/1990 there were one or two urban labels serving the exploding cultural scene in Manchester that were evading the Madchester staples and providing unique geometric pieces for girls that had a similar if not such a luxe feel. It’s that essence of being young and different, confident, beautiful.
So for Autumn this year, Riyka plays with a palette of four colours: navy, royal blue, bubblegum pink and purple on a teasing anagram of textures and fabrics such as leather, denim, cotton and jersey. Paneled leggings and sweats can be worn as separate pieces, or together to form an iconographic clash. Graphic straight down dresses meet the African influence which is revealed in the signature geometric paneling and mirrored use of the triangle, alongside the vibrant bright flashes. There’s also a rebellious, girlish charm to the pieces, with navy pleated skirts and zipper sweats.
Creating from their east London fashion studio, Riyka is made for an intelligent, expressive and restless soul. A great one to watch!