This week I am introducing you to the amazingly talented fashion designer, Rikki of Areli. I am the lucky owner of some of Rikki’s, Areli active wear and I can’t tell you how comfortable and flattering they are to wear. A wife and mother to three wonderful children, Rikki leads a very active lifestyle, and enjoys the simple things in life, such as Sunday Night Roasts around the fire, BBQ breakfasts, backyard concerts, going for walks to the park, going for family weekend getaways…anything that allows her to spend quality time with her family. She is a lover of music, fashion, food, school holidays, coffee, being active, Labradors and little spontaneous trips away to the beach.
LJ: Rikki tell us what you are passionate about, what is your dream long term and short term?
Rikki: From a very young age, I was always interested in Fashion. Unknowingly, this influence was all around me growing up. Whether it be playing ‘Trendy Trends’, a fashion game my little sister and I made up and would play in the back of our Aunty’s dress shop, or to being dressed head to toe, in one-off, amazing handmade outfits that my Nanna created, for my sisters and I to perform on stage in (We were singers, and performed around Australia in festivals and shows). What was a natural interest, then became a passion, which then became a dream, that now I am making a reality.
My long-term goals/dreams are to be contracted exclusively with selected fashion/health and fitness magazines, and to be able to dress their cover models and feature models. I hope to develop a small, quality team of employees, that can assist with increasing my production rate, yet keeping my label exclusive. Think a modern day Factory, based here in Australia, that has extreme attention to detail and keeps quality as the number one priority. I would love to liaise with renown Fashion Designers and somehow have my Label involved in the Mercedes Benz Fashion Week events, whether that be showcasing my creativity, or by invitation.
I hope to evolve my label, as my personal style changes. So not only providing on-trend Active Wear and Swim wear, but creating pieces that can be teamed with staple items that women have in their wardrobes (ie. Areli leggings teamed with a baggy blouse and suede ankle boots). I am always working two seasons ahead of myself, so whilst I am currently sewing and producing my Winter Collection, I already have my Spring and Summer collections drafted. So constantly being one step ahead allows me to focus on my short-term goals.
LJ: What do you think makes you a Dreamer?
Rikki: I feel as though I am a Dreamer because I have a huge imagination. At night, it can sometimes be difficult to switch off, as ideas flood my mind and excite me! If I have wanted something badly enough, I have always given things a go! I love and live by the quote by Richard Branson “If someone offers you an amazing opportunity, and you’re not sure you can do it, say yes – then learn how to do it later”. I feel as though this was written for me and my label.
LJ: Where is your favorite place to do what you love and why?
Rikki: My studio. It is an organised mess!! I have everything I need, albeit I would still love more! I have a smooth production line if everything is within my reach. If I tried to work in a different space (which I have attempted), things just don’t flow as easily. I am in the process of expanding and decorating my studio, so that is a very exciting project to plan!
LJ: What do you do to take some time out for yourself?
Rikki: I enjoy exercising with my friend – although we are never alone, we have our two toddlers join in with us! I train to feel healthy and confident in my own skin. I think if you are a confident person, amazing things can happen, because you believe in yourself and your self worth. I enjoy on the rare occasion to be pampered with a massage, or watching a movie with my husband. But ultimately, when I am not working, and I am not with my children, I am thinking about them and wanting to be with them!
LJ: What is your favorite book? What are you reading right now?
Rikki: As far as novels go, I would choose autobiographies/biographies. Particularly ones about Legendary musicians such as the Beatles, Elvis, Michael Jackson etc. The last book I read was Richard Wilkins biography on his life in the Entertainment Industry. I have a couple of favorite children’s books which is ‘Love you Forever’ by Robert Munsch, and ‘Old Pig’ by Margaret Wild. Both have me crying every single time!
LJ: What advice would you give someone who has a dream they want to pursue?
Rikki: At least try! If you don’t take steps to initiate your dream, it won’t just happen. Wonderful ideas are being discovered and thought of everyday, but what you do with those ideas is what’s important. Believe in yourself and your abilities. If you need training, up-skill yourself, and give yourself every opportunity to succeed. “If plan A and B doesn’t work, there are 24 other letters of the alphabet.. relax!”
LJ: What made you turn to fashion? Was there a certain event that lead you down this path?
Rikki: Fashion has had a major influence on me growing up. I never wanted to wear the same thing twice, and I am always so intrigued by new trends. I love developing my own sense of style and I love to mix and match genre’s of fashion to wear. As long as I can remember, Fashion has been my thing, but once I was given my first sewing machine, that’s when the light was switched on. I started to develop this idea, this concept, about creating my ‘own’ brand of clothing, according to what I love to wear. I believed in myself and trusted my creativity to give it a go! I had so much support around me, encouraging me to chase this dream. I am so thankful that things have happened the way they have. I work very hard (sewing for hours on end is manual labour!) and am constantly trying to improve my abilities and systems that are in place. The future is very exciting!
LJ: You are stranded on a deserted Island. You have food and water, what 3 other items would you want to have with you?
Rikki: Obviously I would love my family to be with me, but if I could only choose 3 items; Coffee, Sunglasses and Lip gloss
LJ: Where and how can people find and contact you?
Rikki: I have a website that showcases my portfolio of work, and is up to date with what is available to purchase! The site is www.arelibyrikkilee.com – I am also on Facebook and Instagram (@arelibyrikkilee).
Thank you to Rikki from Areli for taking time out of her extremely busy life to talk with me. Rikki’s passion shines through in everything she creates, and it truly is inspiring to be around her and hear her speak about not only her love for fashion but also her family.