Rokit Q&A with Head of Rokit Recycled - Loranique Pienaar
Our in-house design team run the Rokit Recycled label,
which hand crafts original garments from found fabrics. They
customise otherwise unwearable vintage pieces into seasonal trend
focused designs in a sweatshop free environment to support the
ethical fashion movement. Our copywriter Milou sat down with head
designer Loranique to find out more about herself and the wonderful
team that works backstage designing, making and altering some of
our absolute best sellers...
Milou: Hello! First things first, I'm always interested
in people's backgrounds and how each one of us gets where we get.
So, what did you do before you joined Rokit and did you always know
you'd become a seamstress/designer?
Loranique: Before Rokit I was working predominantly in costume
and styling, for film, music videos, editorial and events. I even
dabbled in set work and interior design at one point, but I have
always been interested in pattern making. I was greatly influenced
by my mother - who is an amazing seamstress and made most of my
clothes as a child.
M: So what did you study? And how was the
L: I studied Fashion Design at Nottingham Trent University,
specialising in menswear, and went on to gain a wide knowledge in
many different creative trades, working day and night on many
projects to get where I am now! I also danced for 18 years, a
discipline that has certainly trained my approach.
M: Wow! That does sound like quite a lot of work! How
did you make the transition from dancer to becoming a designer and
manager of our amazing Rokit Recycled team?
L: I think that seeing all the amazing costumes backstage, and
the process from pattern to finished garment, had a huge influence
on my interest in design.
M: What do you think it takes to become a good
L: First and foremost, I'd say a good work ethic. Patience.
Passion, as in the desire of seeing something you have made! But
also, an eye for detail and wanting to have something done
properly. And I guess, you should be quite easy-going too in order
to get the best out of your team.
M: What is your favourite item to sew? And as we're
here, what is your least favourite?
L: I think the skirts are definitely my favourite, because we
can do a lot of them quite quickly. But if it's about my favourite
design, then I'd probably say the 'Maggie's Traveller's Bag'. It's
my design - made of suede and leather - and I love it! But my least
favourite item are the hotpants - they really hurt your wrists when
folding the denim, and it's quite a repetitive job.
M: Did you always like vintage? How did you get into
L: I think I got really into it when I moved to the UK. My home
country of South Africa isn't very savvy when it comes to vintage.
The UK is definitely more fashion-orientated. My love of vintage
has also developed as I've worked here, even just talking to the
production team in the warehouse allows me to pick up bits of
M: What is the biggest challenge between working on
deadstock (clothing that we're unable to sell) compared to new
L: Well, deadstock definitely teaches you to be more inventive.
It's really exciting when you succeed at making something with what
is left over - it's a lot of 'made do and mend.'
M: In your opinion how sustainable is Rokit Recycled as
L: It's pretty sustainable really, because there will always be
articles that are not wanted or not in fashion.
M: What does vintage style mean to you?
L: We're such a throwaway culture these days, so for me vintage
means holding onto a generation of things that are otherwise lost.
It's also exciting when eras get an unexpected revival. I never
thought the '90s would come back, but it did - I'm just surprised
that the trouser-skirt never resurfaced!