As part of our founder interview series we interview Veryan Raiker from Veryan to talk about her design process, style philosophies and life in London.
What inspired you to first launch Veryan? What were you doing before this?
Before launching the label, I interned with various designers and loved the studio environment. It was creative and exciting. I became interested in making ethical garments—unrestricted clothing—functional for everyday life but also beautiful. I began experimenting with ideas and ended up working with a local manufacturer to develop some designs. Now, I oversee every stage of the process—pattern-cutting, fitting & producing the designs from our London studio.
What is your style philosophy and how is this embodied in Veryan?
Freedom to be comfortable and confident in your style. Simplicity with a focus on high quality fabrics and details.
So what are you favourite fabrics to work with and why? Where do you source these?
This season I fell for linen. The fabric’s natural texture and drape—the way it retains structure but is still soft—allowed us to play with simple form and movement in the new season’s designs. With every new collection we expand the range of fabrics we work with and try to look beyond the traditional. SS17 is largely sourced through the Organic Textile Company who work with their partner Ganesh and his family-run business in Kerala to produce cotton and linen fabrics.
Walk us through the design process of a new piece. How have you adopted an ‘empirical approach’ to design?
Our philosophy is that wearing garments should be effortless, easy to integrate into your lifestyle and they should emphasise the confidence of the wearer. This is why it's important to me that we test garments before we produce them. We wear, wash, press pieces and question their comfort, styling and ease of care along the way.
What does ‘Sustainable Fashion’ mean to you and why did you decide to build your brand around this concept?
Sustainable fashion is ever-adapting and evolving, representing a foundation of ethics and ecological principles but not limited to one approach. It isn’t self-fulfilling, the bar is always moving, so there is always room to grow and move forward.
What do you think is the most effective way to combat the unsustainable trends of the fast fashion industry today?
Sadly there’s no easy answer. As a small label, I can keep a handle on all aspects of my supply chain, which is wonderful, and is something I’ve seen become more universal among small businesses. However, there’ll be no real change if larger companies don’t adopt these principles too. It is happening, but the complexity of these businesses, whilst it’s no excuse, may slow down the process. I think it’s important to take individual responsibility, whether you’re working in the fashion industry or a consumer. Also, to stay positive—if we continue the discussion, change will happen.
What other brands do you admire and why?
I love Samuji for its fusion of art & style. They’re a large company but are responsible with their supply chain, are open about their sources and address fast fashion with timeless pieces and permanent collections.
So what advice do you have for those who want do embrace a more sustainable lifestyle?
Small decisions have a big impact. When buying clothes think: do I really want this? How often will I wear it? Is there an affordable, more ethical alternative? Sustainability for me embodies a thoughtful approach to life, taking time to make the best decisions.
City life in London can be exhausting. What is your favourite way to relax and unwind?
I’m lucky, living in Peckham Rye just off the park—just coming home I feel like I get to escape from the city! We’ll take a wander around the local cafes and restaurants or relax in the garden, have good food and wine. If I’m having a crazy day in town though, I like to take refuge in galleries, they’re always calming spaces.
What do you hope to see for Veryan over the next few years? And is a men’s collection on the cards?
I would love to do a men’s collection! That’s definitely a possibility and something I’ll be working towards over the next 12 months. I’ve been photographing the last couple of collections, both the social and studio shots, and this is something I’d like to explore more. I’d love to photograph more people wearing the collection in their daily lives—the clothes are made for living in and I want to share how others wear and style them.