The Vendeur Profile:Riley Uggla

Image: Riley Studio

when it comes to finding casual wear  brand that meets our ethical standards, the field becomes very limited. Enter Riley Uggla, who launched Riley Studio in 2018. It may just be the brand we’ve been looking for. We talked to Riley about personal style and her fight to create a circular fashion brand that’s not only cool but totally comfortable.

You may have already come across Canadian born Riley Uggla, she’s been on the fashion scene for a few years now. Her previous label ‘Made by Riley’ was a crash course in producing a small loungewear label. ‘I learnt a lot about production, packaging and fabrics. From here I put my efforts into researching eco-innovative fashion and making changes to the ‘Made by Riley’ manufacturing methods,’ she explains. Over consumption and waste were ever present issues for her as a designer. She realised some drastic changes needed to be made if she wanted to make a positive difference. And so Riley Studio was born. A gender neutral loungewear range created entirely from waste materials and natural fabrics. The line offers simple jumpers, t-shirts, track pants and caps that can all be mixed and matched to create a seasonless wardrobe.

Why Make more Clothes?

Surely there are enough clothing brands out there? ‘It was very important that our collection helped improve the reputation of eco-friendly fashion,’ she explains. ‘Just because clothing is eco-friendly doesn’t mean that style should be compromised.’ Riley herself is the biggest ambassador for her collection. Simplicity and comfort are at the heart of her sartorial choices. She frequently sports her designs on Instagram where her following totals 119k. Currently her favourite piece is the ‘Feel Good’ classic hoodie, created from 100% organic cotton, perfect she says for cosying up as we approach winter.

Image: Riley Studio

‘Our products are available to people who really care about the future – we want everyone to be able to wear a piece of Riley Studio.’

– Riley Uggla

Fabrication was a huge focus for her when creating the collection. A quick visit to the Riley Studio website makes it clear that concerns for the ocean and human rights are especially important to her and the brand. The most obvious place to address her worries is through the fabrics she uses. ‘We spent about nine months researching eco-innovative fabrics that were durable and versatile.’ And it paid off. Interesting fact – 1,167 plastic bottles were upcycled to become part of the first collection. Lyocell bomber jackets and activewear made from Econyl, an infinitely recyclable fabric created from fishing nets and plastics that pollute our ocean all feature in the debut collection. The team’s search for fabrics that are recycled from waste or biodegradable is constant. This is because Riley truly believes that circularity within fashion is the only way forwards. 
‘These are pieces made with 100% respect and positive drive, that you’ll want to wear for the long term.’ With her ever constant search for new fabrics and gender neutral, comfortable designs, little room is left for trend led collections. ‘We’re tackling the critical issues of overproduction and overconsumption – we don’t need to have fifty different t-shirts in our wardrobe anymore,’ Riley explains. Her answer to the conundrum? ‘Seasons might change but your clothes don’t need to! Our products are designed for life not just a season.’ And so the collections of simple, seasonless clothes are affordable and available to everyone. With prices starting at £20 for a cap and £45 for organic cotton t-shirts, the range is very purse friendly. This was intentional Riley explains – ‘Our products are available to people who really care about the future – we want everyone to be able to wear a piece of Riley Studio.’ Amen.
Image: Riley Studio

Transparency

Transparency in everything they do is crucial, Riley Studio prides itself on being a socially conscious brand. From fabrics, to pricing and also production. This lead Riley and her team to partner with the NGO Human Rights Watch. Through the partnership they aid in the work to ensure the workers that produce the garments are treated fairly. ‘Things like investigating the source of our fabric and the labor conditions where our pieces are manufactured.’ All critical aspects that bring justice to those that don’t have a voice of their own. In addition they help to spread the message of the Global Goals. This is a set of 17 goals that aim to eradicate poverty, fight inequality and slow climate change. It’s clear that Riley Uggla does not shy away from a challenge.

What’s next?

The next drop of the collection will include outerwear, something she is very excited to share. As ever, research and fabric development is ongoing, with pineapple leather being an exciting new option for the range, as well as new recycling options. ‘ As we grow we are increasing the Riley community and we will be sure to get everyone involved in recycling and re-creating garments in the future.’ We can’t wait to see what’s to come. If it’s half as exciting as the launch, we can expect Riley Studio to be a major disruptor in the world of fashion and renewables.

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