Lisa Ryder is an amazing designer whose printed creations are both intricate and breathtaking and in my opinion each is a work of art. She established her studio in the West of Ireland in 2011 and since then her brand has gone from strength to strength. The award winning designer makes both handbags and scarves and they are of the highest quality and they would make the most perfect gift (or a treat for yourself!).
I was delighted when Lisa agreed to be interviewed with Floralesque as her talent and creative flair can be seen on each and every one of her elegant designs, and without further delay here is the amazing interview;
What is your first memory of fashion/design?
I have to say I never dreamed of working in the fashion industry. However ,I did know at an early age that I always wanted to have a creative job. I was always drawing, painting and making. My parents still have some of my earliest works of art and I use the word art loosely floating around their house today. It was this love for illustration that drew me to fashion and textiles, it allowed me to incorporate my love of drawing and colour to develop unique fabrics.
When did you know that you wanted to be an accessory designer?
I did not study as an accessories designer. My background is in textile print development. I naturally just fell into designing and developing my own accessories range through the connection I made in the fashion industry when I moved back to Ireland. I originally toyed with the idea of setting up my own fashion label however the whole process of developing different size ranges and separates daunted me. So I started with what I knew developing and designing prints.
Through the help of the CIFD and the DCCOI I developed my first scarf collection which sold out in a matter of months. After 3 successful seasons designing and developing scarves I decided to look into growing relationships with factories in Italy, the home of leather craft to produce my unique prints on leather and some how develop a range of elegant, innovative handbags.
Do you remember the first piece that you made?
I keep an archive of all of my pieces. However I may just answer this question with my favourite piece I have made to date as I feel it was the design that I grew more in confidence. The piece was titled Eif and it was my first handbag print and handbag shape I designed. (image above)
The patterns on your pieces are just stunning and some of the most beautiful that I have seen. Where does your inspiration come from?
My inspiration can come from anywhere. I have quiet a wide range of interests. I love architecture, horticulture, zoology and I have a total obsessed with interior tiles (weird right) I love sourcing new pattern inspiration from the Internet pinterest has become my new best friend. I think this is the textile print designer in me. I love geometric forms so you will always see these patterns creep into my work.
Do you have a favourite print that you have created?
My favourite print as to be from my new collection I love the colour explosion and the layering of fantastical worlds. It was all hand illustrated so I think it was a labour of love and allowed me to get back to my roots. Pen and ink. (image above)
Could you talk us through some of the design process?
As Lisa Ryder is a very pattern and colour lead brand we start by developing our print story board and then colour moods come naturally from the subject matter we pick. As we tend not to change our handbag shapes to much each season we then move onto printing the finally designs onto different aged leathers to get the right colours. We then play first on the computer on the positioning and scale of each print on the bag shapes. We pick our hardware and edge finishing and once this is all discussed our samples are produced.
With regards manufacturing – I understand that you get your creations made in Italy after you design them. Italy has a vast history of producing high quality goods – what drew you to manufacture there?
I originally wanted to manufacture and develop my brand at home but after months of research and hitting many brick walls I had to move abroad. It is this tradition and level of quality that drew me to Italy and the fact that it was still being made in Europe. When I set up the brand I wanted to develop a product that was of a high quality and craftsmanship but was affordable to my customer. I did not want to mass produce so Italy was the ideal solution.
Do you think being an Irish designer has an advantage in international markets?
Yes and know. Everybody like the Irish we have a tradition of creating wonderful craft John Rocha, Louise Kennedy and Philip Tracey have paved the way for new Irish designers to make their marks. However if your product does not appeal to the buyer then I do not think where you are from will change how people perceive you.
Although I am sure that it is hard to choose but what has been your proudest career moment to date?
God I have so many, Showing my collection in Brown Thomas at IRISH DESIGNERS CREATE. Along side some of my favourite Irish and international labels.
What are some of the challenges that you have faced?
When you start a label or any new business capital is always a challenge. Once you have got over this hurdle then marketing and selling your brand is hardest. Then once you have a fan base you have to maintain their appetite of new ideas . However I love what I do and I look at each past challenge not with agony but with oh my GOD LOOK WHAT I have created.
You have had a great grounding in fashion before you launched you brand – from college in Glasgow to working with Victoria McGrane and Peter Jansen. How important do you think it is that people ‘study’ before launching a line?
I think you should always work for somebody . To gain experience and to see the highs and lows of running your own business before you dive head first. I loved my time interning I got to meet such wonderful create and inspiring people. People who were willing to let me into their world and share their experiences with me.
What is the most important piece of advice that you have ever received?
Believe in your ideas, take advise but digest it then dissect what is relevant for you and your brand. Also take it slow, build a solid support network and never refuse help.
What does the future hold for Lisa Ryder designs?
The future we hope to keep experimenting with new ideas on how to create an image and constantly inspire our customers.
I would like to say a massive thank you to Lisa for being featured on Floralesque – her designs are just breathtaking and I would highly recommend taking a look at her website. She is also on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook.