Designer and creator Laura, living in Tokyo and loving Japanese design
First of all, thank you so much to Victoria for featuring me and my brand RYDEN REI, I really appreciate it!
I often get asked what RYDEN REI means, the short answer is it is the name of my little boy. I created the brand for him, so hopefully he will appreciate the work and love I have put into it. Maybe he will pass on some of my creations to his kids. Hopefully he won’t look back at his modelling days for me and cringe! But seriously he is just too cute for that.
Baby Ryden in the new, super cozy, fleece-lined winter onesie
I am Scottish and studied Textile Design and Performance Costume in Edinburgh. I was always influenced by Japan in my designs and somehow knew I was going to move here even before I met my Japanese/English husband Phil. I notice that tradition in Japan is somehow still prevalent in daily life and I am often inspired by this. I hope to bring a fresh approach to traditional design and give it a modern edge.
In the past I studied a few Japanese textile dying and print techniques such as Shibori and Katazome. I feel there is an added value to slow fashion produced by hand, each piece is special and unique. At the moment I am concentrating on the stencil-dying technique Katazome, although my process is not exactly the same. I make plastic stencils instead of thick washi and use water-based t-shirt printing ink instead of rice paste dyes.
Hand printed sushi design baby blanket
First, I draw out my design a few times, being careful to think about how I will cut it if it is too complex. Then I trace the design onto acetate and use a blade to cut out the parts I want to be printed. I use a combination of a roller and stipple brush to distribute the ink depending on the size of the design. It really is a labor of love, but I feel the imperfection in the final product is more beautiful than that of mass produced digital or latex printing.
Drawing out my designs before printing
I work in my spare room, well sometimes it spreads elsewhere but it takes a lot of space to cut out fabrics, create patterns, set up photoshoots, sew and overlock …
Recently I have been asked to do some custom orders so I have been working on those. The way I work allows you to customize pretty much anything. It is really nice to be able to make something with your customers' personality infused in the final design. Previously I worked in the bespoke fashion industry in Beijing, Hong Kong and London. I created products together with my clients and always loved the personal process. The feeling you get when your customer loves what you have made for them is priceless.
Design and sewing work station next to kimono collection and sumo poster
My webpage is up and ready to shop and I have also created an Etsy page because I really enjoy the international, handmade-loving community that comes along with it. I also post my inspirations and updates on Instagram, Facebook and Pinterest so you can find me on any or all of those. It is a lot to manage for one person, but I hope to inspire people to explore their inner creativity and put something out there for others to enjoy!