In Conversation With Veryan Raiker
What made you decide to start a brand?
I’ve always loved how detail relates to function in menswear. Things like an added box pleat at the back of the shirt, which originated in labour-wear because of the additional movement it provides the wearer. Womenswear is often based on appearance or style over functionality, so I wanted to create a label that married the two. Unrestricted clothing, made for movement and everyday life, with a focus on high-quality detail and purposeful design choices.
What is the biggest lesson that you have learned since you started your brand?
To try to keep in mind the bigger picture: you’ll have good days and bad days but, if you remain focussed on your overall goal, it’ll make the bad days a lot easier to get through.
What advice/warnings would you give someone looking to start their own brand?
Not to be scared, jump in. Getting started is the hardest part.
How would you say the fashion/retail climate has changed since you started Veryan?
Larger business and fashion houses are spewing out collections, pre-collections, cruise collections, bridal, couture, ready-to-wear … there’s just so much all the time. Even worse, some high street retailers update their whole stock on a bi-weekly basis. On the flip side, more and more businesses on a smaller scale seem to be focussing on ethics and not compromising on style, which is really exciting to see.
What or who are your influences?
I’m inspired by a lot of the women I know, who work or are mothers, who lead busy, fulfilled lives and want to be comfortable and confident in whatever they wear. I love simplicity and detail and try not to fixate on one trend or influence, rather to focus on a style.
What’s the most recent book you read?
I’ve just finished a doorstop of a book, Hilary Mantel’s A Place of Greater Safety. It’s about the relationship of the three men who started the French Revolution set against the backdrop of an event which is slowly spiralling beyond and out of their control.
Did it feed into your creative process?
Not specifically, but there is mention in the book of how simple muslin dresses became the fashion after decades of lavish extravagance. I love to be reminded of the political importance of fashion. Fashion can be seen as frivolous, but socially and culturally it has a huge impact.
Does Veryan have a message?
Freedom to be comfortable and confident in your style. Simplicity with a focus on high quality fabrics and details.
Is there a brand out there that you wish you had started?
I started my own label because the designs I create were something I wanted to see available to women.
If you could live the life of any other designer for a day, who would you choose?
Historically, maybe Chanel in the early 20th century when she redefined the feminine silhouette, or Dior post-war for the same reason. Huge jumps forward in fashion reflected the changing roles for women culturally. It would have been an exciting time to design.
What goals do you have as a designer?
I'd like to expand our permanent collections, to create pieces that you can come back to season after season.
What motivates you?
I really enjoy what I do and that keeps me motivated, even on the hardest days! I’m lucky to be doing something I love.
What is the best part of your job?
Having the opportunity to meet other creative people—the sustainable fashion community is very supportive and it’s wonderful to be a part of such a positive movement.
What is the worst part of your job?
There’s no aspect of what I do that I really dislike—the variety of it is what keeps it exciting for me—but sometimes the variety can be stressful, it can feel like you're juggling a million things at once.
What is your life motto?
I love my work but, without a doubt, the most important thing in life is the people you share it with, so I always make sure to make time for them.