Rokit Q&A with Head of Rokit Recycled - Loranique Pienaar

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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 journey?

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 designer?

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 it?

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 insider knowledge.

M: What is the biggest challenge between working on deadstock (clothing that we're unable to sell) compared to new fabrics?

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 an organisation?

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!