Melissa Rogers is a London-based designer and the creative director of Rivers Jade. She spent the last year creating the Rivers Jade brand and her inaugural Spring 2019 collection: Fear.

Rivers Jade Spring 2019 is defined by meticulous attention to detail and custom sheer patterns. Rogers trained in pattern making and couture design at the University of Creative Arts, UK. She has designed for Marchesa, THIEA and Jean Pierre Braganza. Her work was shown last month at the National Centre for Crafts and Design as part of The World is Your Dressing Up Box.

We spoke with Rogers this week as she puts the finishing touches on Spring 2019, and prepares to found a creative studio to launch Rivers Jade at scale worldwide.

Daniela Aciu in Rivers Jade Spring 2019 by Samantha Rapp


CREDITS:
RiversJade Spring 2019
Model: Daniela Aciu
Photographer: Samantha Rapp
Videographer: Grant Friedman
Stylist: Jenni Hensler
Designer: Melissa Rogers
Makeup: Anastasia Durasova
Hair: Daniel Roldan


Tell us about Rivers Jade Spring 2019. What’s the concept?

The collection is called FEAR.

This concept is personal. It began with my emotions. FEAR is based on patients stuck in a mental asylum. It was a method to cultivate inspiration from negative emotions I had been having. FEAR is symbolic of my own struggle with depression, and representative of anyone who has ever felt stuck, or trapped, and feeling lonely and vulnerable. The sheer fabrics expose so much skin, leaving the wearer vulnerable.

I created everything in this collection for a reason. I used this specific blue and black because of its connotations to express how I feel. The connotations of the moonlight blue I created using my own dye formula is that blue releases stress, creates calmness. It is a color for spiritual healing. Creating this collection with such attention to detail allowed me to release somewhat pain and confusion and turn fear into a physical positive creation.

Melissa Rogers and Model Daniela Aciu for RiversJade Spring 2019


What came first? The feeling or the patterns? What was your process?

My design process is specific. Each collection starts with a mental image; something I’ve seen, like a broken down building or something in nature. I photograph this object and assemble my concept foundation. Once I’ve seen something striking or inspirational, I instantly start imagining a finished artwork or garment. After primary research and sketching, I do secondary research and create hundreds of illustrations. Then market research and textile samples. Once I’ve laid that foundation, I redraw the final illustration. Then I make the final pieces. Sometimes I use intricate beading and embroidery, and try to articulate the intricate design into wearable art; something that portrays feeling and movement.


Tell us about the attention to detail? Other designers use factories, but you make everything by hand.

I have always created such details. The process started with painting and then pattern cutting which then led to the textiles of a fabric. Its important that each piece is as authentic as possible. The way for me to do that is through the detail of an original print. I typically like to layer my details so along with the designed print I will then design some form of embroidery or beading art work to layer over the top to create something extremely unique. For me, the details are what makes a creation more interesting because it is made with love. Its also very important to have such intricate details when making couture garments. The attention to detail makes you appreciate a garment. It becomes more an art piece, rather that just a piece of clothing.

Daniela Aciu in Rivers Jade Spring 2019 by Samantha Rapp


When you were studying design who did you look up to?

As a student I followed Valentino for being so chic and feminine and his choice of beautiful fabric. I was also very inspired by Mary Katrantzou for her use of fashion textiles, embroidery and pattern cutting. To name a few, Zuhair Murad, Dolce & Gabbana & Maison Margiela where also the designers I would lookup to.


Who is really inspiring you right now?

I’ve always loved H.R Giger’s air brushed stunning strange portraits of women and his use of color. Iris van Herpen’s 3D printed dresses using PolyJet technology. Iris’ couture garments remind me of something giger-esque. Guopei is a huge influence in my life right now, creating everything incredibly intricate and just out of this world.

I also really love Eygptian history and art recently, so to try and create something crazy with these elements would be extraordinary.

What are next steps for Rivers Jade?

Rivers Jade is setting up a design studio right now and recruiting a team to prepare for the next collection, and I’m going to produce an exhibition to showcase our designs in 2019. I’m also working towards the CDFA Fashion Awards and compete soon. We are also working on the website which will be published next month. You can purchase these garments online as custom orders at www.riversjade.co.uk.

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