Each week we will be highlighting one of the fabulous emerging designers from Phoenix Fashion Week 2016. This week, meet Ricci Janse van Rensburg, a fashion designer from Cape Town, South Africa who’s brand Ricci JvR is all about “fiercely dressing the IT girl for all spheres of life.”
First fashion job: My first job was in retail at a high-end fashion boutique close to wear I lived – I only worked there over weekends and some afternoons. I worked there for almost 3 years – it was really good for me to learn first hand how the retail system works.
When did you know you had a passion for fashion: Since the age of 12, I have been dreaming up my own designs – walking around with my sketchpad drawing outfits for my friends and princess dresses for my Barbies. So I guess to me it was never really a decision I had to make, it was made for me way before I even realized it. I simply stepped into the thing that has always been a big part of my life and I was lucky enough to make a career out of it. I have always been mesmerized by fashion – the way it can influence how you feel, how you carry yourself and simply how you can express yourself through clothing.
Person who has impacted your life the most: Since I started my fashion journey, I have always had amazing mentors, family and friends who supported and cheered me on. I have learned so much from each of them. From fashion related to lifestyle skills – I would say this close knitted support team has had the biggest impact on my life.
Your biggest fashion accomplishment in your eyes: It is hard for me to single out one specific moment or accomplishment as I have been privileged to be part of a few amazing opportunities which I consider to be highlights of my career. Singling out one specific accomplishment is really hard as I feel they have all been stepping stones to where I am today – one of the Top 11 Emerging Designers for Phoenix Fashion Week Designer Bootcamp.
The biggest obstacle you have overcome: For me the biggest obstacle has been to make the switch from a fulltime career to starting my own business on a shoestring budget – It is definitely not an easy road and does come with its fair share of challenges which can leave you feeling vulnerable , exhausted and doubting yourself.
A Designer who inspires you: Locally, Suzaan Heyns – I just love her conceptual approach to fashion. Internationally, brands like Balmain and Viktor & Rolf inspire me for their exceptional concepts, intellectual approach to fashion and unconventional elements.
Favorite quote: “There is no elevator to success, you have to take the stairs” – unknown
Advice to someone pursuing a career in fashion as a designer: My advice would be to embrace knowledge and never think you know everything – be open to learn form others and surround yourself with people who not only inspire you but who believes in you. Make the most of every opportunity that comes your way by giving your best, have fun and don’t forget to enjoy the process. Creativity is meant to be celebrated and enjoyed.
I think the best advice I ever received was to take things one step at a time – grow with your business and don’t over commit yourself. I think it is also important for those in any creative position to realize that there isn’t a set recipe for success, everyone is on a different journey – so enjoy what you are doing, where you are at and who you are working with. It is important to stay focused and true to yourself.
Favorite piece you have ever designed: For me I don’t have an all time favourite piece, I guess this is purely because I always try to challenge myself to grow, to become better, to expand my comfort zone, to experiment and to give my best. Each piece represents a different stage of the design process and therefore I consider them all valuable as an ongoing design process.
For more information about Ricci JvR, visit riccijvr.com.
If you would like to attend Phoenix Fashion Week 2016, you can purchase tickets here: bit.ly/PHXFWFABAZ. Use promo code FABAZ for $20 gift card good towards any seat (not applicable towards standing room tickets).