Q & A with Fashion Brand Riley Phillips Art

Riley Phillips Art

Orlando, USA based designer

Can you introduce your brand and yourself in a few sentences?

My name is Riley Phillips. My brand, Riley Phillips Art, is a fashion, photography, and fine art brand, so when it comes to my designs, I’m heavily influenced by the relationships between different artistic media and intersecting, often figurative, embellishment. My designs focus on color, texture, and flow to maintain an artistry and wearability, while also inciting a confidence, wanderlust, and sensuality in the wearer. Personally, I have been involved in the arts for as long as I can remember, be it drawing, photography, or sculpture, though I began my self-taught ventures in fashion just last year. I am currently pursuing my undergraduate degree in Studio Art + German at Wake Forest University, where I try to incorporate fashion into my studies as often as I can.

What sparked your interest in fashion design?

My background in sculpture and photography led me to fashion. Through my experience in the visual arts, I sculpted wearable art out of unconventional materials, often fashion magazines, and led editorial photo shoots. Naturally, being around fashion through these other artistic media sparked an interest and manifested appreciation, and after completing my sculptural fashion collection, I began teaching myself how to sew. Fashion has provided me with a unique form of artistry in that I can express my inspirations with a delicate and functioning form, while also maintaining a complementary and expressive relationship with my audience and other creative disciplines.   

Can you describe your creative process?

I often begin with an unexpected source of inspiration, usually sourced through travel or exploration in other art and environments. Once I see someone or something unusual or enticing, I dissect the texture, form, and shape of this inspiration to explore how it and my relationship to it could be physically expressed. In clarifying my inspiration, I take detailed photos to centralize and specify the concentration, then referencing these photos and moodboards, I begin to sketch my designs. Once my designs are sewn, fitted, and finished, I stage a lookbook photo shoot to allow the piece to come full circle with the inspiration—putting the design in an environment cohesive to that in which it was first explored. 

What is your favourite part of being a designer? What drives you to design?

My favorite part of being a designer is the interdisciplinary relationships with art. Fashion has allowed me to fully express my ideas and observations in a sculptured discipline, which I can share with others in varying media. Through design, I can share my own unique vision while further complimenting the insights of another. My desire to continually create, connect, and share art drives me to design. 

How do you find working as a designer where your brand is based? Has the culture/surroundings affected your design aesthetic? Do you feel connected to your home?

My brand is currently based in Orlando, FL; however, I have moved around for most of my young life. Having lived a fairly nomadic life, I have found most of my inspiration in my travels-- the cultures and surroundings which are most foreign and promising of excitement and new experiences. The promise of the unknown and the allure of a new environment keeps me creatively active. Because my home is always changing, I feel most connected to the people who surround me, who always encourage me and respect my ideas.

In anticipation of your runway show at Vancouver Fashion Week, what are you most looking forward to?

I am most looking forward to experiencing the professionalism of the show and event and engaging with people from other backgrounds and cultures. As an emerging and self-taught designer, my involvement in the industry has been more local. I am excited to experience the routines and showmanship of fashion, sharing my art and designs with other talented creatives.

What is the inspiration behind your S/S20 collection to be showcased at Vancouver Fashion Week?

My collection is inspired by my time in Venice, Italy and the art, architecture, and unique environments I encountered while there. 

What are you hoping are the reactions from audiences seeing your designs (perhaps for their first time)?

With my emphasis on sensuality, wearability, and interdisciplinary reference to art and travel, I hope audiences connect with the confidence and artistry I aim to express in my designs.

Thank you for speaking with us, Riley. We look forward to seeing your brand on the VFW runway this October.

Photos contributed.



Q & A with Fashion Brand Anelia-Art

MM: Can you introduce your brand and yourself in a few sentences?

My name is Anelia Basson. I was born in South Africa, came to Canada in 1991 and soon became a Canadian citizen. Anelia-Art began in Chilliwack BC, but I see it's potential globally. The fabric becomes my canvas for creating wearable pieces of art. My garments have a simpler structure that create a flow while wearing them, so that you feel confident and comfortable. My goal is to help people find freedom in the colours of each unique piece of art.

MM: Can you describe your creative process?

I begin with the fabric pattern, allowing the moment to influence me. Whether it be my paintings, photography, or digital design, finding the difference that evokes emotion is always the most interesting pattern to me. I combine all three mediums, or free hand draw the pattern digitally to design the initial pattern, and then print it onto the fabrics. Freedom surrounds the core of the actual piece designs, recreating the sensations of my favourite locations in the sun.

MM: Where do you find inspiration in your day-to-day life?

To create, I must be challenged into a different mindset than the conscious mind follows day to day. Surrounding myself with multitudes of other (and my own) pieces of art throughout my house and garden gives me the freedom of creativity. I am a firm believer that nature is art; the beauty in the natural world is the main drive in my work. We are lucky to live in such a rich
area of the world here in British Columbia… My aim is to protect it, by reminding others to be more aware of the beauty around us.

MM: What kind of questions do you ask yourself when you begin creating a collection?

Creating a collection for me does not rely on the season or the fads of fashion, but instead, based on creating timeless pieces of art. It’s important that my collections stay true to my inspirations and strong creative feelings. Being aware of the state of our planet’s environment encompasses me while I create my collections. Major protection and rehabilitation is needed. The fashion industry can be quite harsh on the earth, so I really have to ask myself if my fabric is naturally sustainable, making as little impact as possible. Every human needs to be conscious of the impact we make; otherwise the future of our planet will look very grey…

MM: How has your work evolved since you began your own label?

Anelia-Art started a few years ago, beginning with pillows, tablecloths and reupholstering antique furniture with my designed fabric. After I received many favourable and inspiring comments about my designs, I then branched out to a limited amount of dresses. Since I have dogs at home, the dog jackets came out of simply wanting my pups to be warm and comfortable, to be safely seen at night, while also being fashionable! The swimwear was inevitable as the summer months came, and that was where my ideas wanted to bloom. Every season, I add new designs to Anelia-Art, with all new fabric patterns as well. To show off a collection of mine on the runway has been one of my biggest dreams, since I have always been so enamoured with fashion. There were a few local shows for Anelia-Art held in art galleries and on Hornby Island, but VFW will be the first
major show.  

MM: How do you find working as a designer in Canada? Has the culture/surroundings affected your design aesthetic? Do you feel connected to your home?

Having the opportunity to be a designer here in Canada is a privilege in itself - let alone the chance to show my work here with Vancouver Fashion Week! I am deeply connected to Canada, and that is visible through my work. Anelia-Art is all proudly made locally! Growing up in Africa has really shaped me as a person, and in particular, the connection to and respect for tribal cultures. Now living in the Fraser Valley for 25+ years, the indigenous culture reflects on a portion of my paintings and art designs. A few of my fabrics are representative of the beauty of indigenous culture, through each of those prints, a story to be told. The surroundings of Canada, and B.C specifically, inspire me to appreciate, and engulf myself in our world's natural beauty.

MM: What sparked your interest in fashion design?

Fashion has always played a huge role in my life. Wearing eye-catching, comfortable, colourful clothes is what makes me feel confident! There is a reason for the most beautiful plants and animals always having such vibrant tones and patterns! I decided to design my own patterns to reflect free flowing structure, vibrancy, and above all, comfort.

MM: How did you learn the business of fashion?

Being a self-taught artist and designer, I realised the best way to learn, was to throw myself in the deep end. When I moved to Canada in 1991, I started a children’s clothing line with two South African friends, called Ye-Bo, which introduced me to hand creating fabrics. Although my partners moved back to Africa and I began a family, I never gave up on my aspirations on being a fashion designer. Always surrounding myself with the business of art, I finally found my way back into my roots. From there, I think my abilities as an artist, particularly my strong sense of colour, has been my greatest asset in creating unique,
colourful fabrics that transform into statement pieces.

MM: What is your favourite part of being a designer? What drives you to design?

Having the freedom of creativity is what drives me through this life. I love to form my own identity, accepting myself as I differ from others. What moves me to design is my passion for what I do, and the constant influences that inspire me - whether it be art, tribal culture, or beautiful places.

MM: What is the inspiration behind your S/S19 collection to be showcased at Vancouver Fashion Week?

This collection encompasses my journey so far…  As I explore different parts of the world for its remarkable cultures, creatures, and surroundings!  With each garment comes the expression of standing out with colour, yet still feeling free.
The swimwear collection particularly emulates the movements underneath the ocean… My journey into another world…


Thank you Anelia for telling us about your journey into fashion design. We can't wait to see your show at Vancouver Fashion Week for the SS19 season.

Follow Anelia-Art on Instagram @anelia.art  and check out the website www.aneliabasson.com.

FASHIONCLASH Festival 2018- Fashion My Religion!

Taking place over the weekend of 15 - 17 June 2018 in Maastricht, the Netherlands, the 10-year anniversary edition of the international and interdisciplinary FASHIONCLASH Festival in Maastricht featured more than 100 designers and artists from all over the world.

FASHIONCLASH Festival 2018_Lonneke van der Palen, concept Das Leben Am Haverkamp.gif

The festival was composed within a 3-day program, and the route?- an inspiring pilgrimage along 26 locations with expositions, theatre and dance performances and talks and contributions by Didem Tali, Dalia Vann, Das Leben am Haverkamp, Elise Crutzen, Sem Shayne, Anton Fayle, KEVIN.MURPHY and many more. We love the festival's colourful cake branding, how creative!

Theme: Fashion My Religion!
The overarching theme of the festival 'Fashion My Religion!' boldly dove into one of the most current themes of the moment; religion. Specifically, the relation between religion and gender, hair style and clothing. FASHIONCLASH challenged participants and visitors to research, highlight or break existing religious traditions and taboos by way of using fashion. A call to activism that hopefully inspires a new generation of fashion- makers and lovers to fulfil their role as meaningful as they can.

From this perspective designers are shaping the future of the shape of things to come. What is the role of our cultural heritage in a constantly changing world? How are new generation designers dealing with their cultural heritage (ancestry and traditions) in a globalised world where everything seems to be at reach?

The meeting between fashion and religion isn’t a new one. Religious idioms and luxury have been used for decades by many within fashion. Sometimes just for ethical motives, other times with a dose of criticism. With ‘Fashion My Religion’ we are placing the audience and the designer in an interesting area of tension; fashion versus religion or cutting-edge versus tradition. We take a closer look at cultural expressions of personal, modern meaning and more traditional ones. We place historical absolutes opposite from modern-day fluid truths by really going in on social matters such as, feminism and human rights. Through (fashion) design we dissect the ever-changing awareness around the relationship we have with our environment and come up with new stories and approaches to ‘fashion and religion’.

For more information about the festival and participants visit fashionclash.nl

Stay tuned for more- we will take you through our favourite fashion collections from the festival!