Designer Ulrika Lundgren of Amsterdam, Netherlands brand “Rika” visits Japan. After working as a stylist of fashion and interior for Casa Vogue and ELLE DECO, she launched “Rika” in 2005. The first 20 types of handbags she designed became popular amongst models and fashion people and in 2007, the brand expanded to apparel. The brand was awarded the ELLE best accessories award in 2012.
From 2010, she publishes the fashion magazine “Rika Magazine” twice a year as editor in chief along with LOVE MAGAZINE art director Jacob Wildschiodtz. We interviewed Ms. Lundgren in the women’s building of UNITED ARROWS Harajuku main store.
- Is the brand name derived from your first name?
Yes it is. The brand reflects a part of me, which is why I included my name in the brand. I design what I want to wear and what I want to share with others.
- What is Rika’s brand concept?
The brand is inspired by styles of strong women. The items have to be comfortable to wear, chic and refined and suitable to wear in all types of situations, during the day and night. The biker jackets and leather items which express the brand’s strength are symbolic but I recommend styling them with soft and feminine items to suggest styling with “go easy” feel. This aspect may be influenced by my past experience as stylist.
- What is the theme for the 2013-14 AW Collection?
It is the same theme as the 2013 SS Collection, “IRON GIRL.” The collection was inspired by Bianca Jagger, the ex-wife of Mick Jagger, model, and social and human rights advocate as the role model for a strong woman with character. Tailored styles were combined with casual items.
- Whilst bringing out Bianca’s rock taste, the base of the designs incorporates basic items.
I image a woman with an identity but to maintain balance, I add urban, chic and sophisticated elements. For a Parisian look, I style a feminine dress with a biker jacket. The look is elegant but also expresses strength from the core.
- You have concept stores and boutiques in Amsterdam.
Across the street from my office and boutique, there is a building named “Maison Rika.” The first floor of the building is the concept store lining up tableware, hats, accessories, candles and other lifestyle items. I select all the items, from flea market items to luxury items. The window displays are decorated in collaboration with street artists and at the guest house on the second and third floors, I hold photo shoots, home parties and decorate the space with photos. The entire building is a means for me to express a lifestyle produced by Rika.
- What kind of publication is “Rika Magazine”?
The magazine depicts a fashion story through Rika items. I assign a female model who is independent, liberal and creative and refer to her as the “Rika girl.” I ask her to select Rika items of her choice for the magazine. The models’ styling is featured in the magazine and this sometimes becomes an inspiration source for my future designs.