After interviewing Shahrzad and Ashkan, the duo who founded online store Rtister in 2012, I couldn’t help but ask Nikoletta Sedlak, Rtister’s buyer, a few questions…
How did you come to take on the role of Buyer for Rtister?
After working in the Fashion Industry wearing many different hats, buying was the next step for me and something I had always looked forward to in my career.
What do you look for in a brand or collection when considering what to stock on Rtister?
I look for inspirational potential. They have to make me want to NEED their pieces and give me creative inspiration so that I can feel confident they will inspire customers to want to wear their looks as well. Also, fresh ideas that stand out from the crowd.
What were you doing before you took on the role of Buyer for Rtister?
I had been working as a denim specialist and assistant buyer with popular brands and was a stylist.
Describe a ‘typical’ day in the office…
Everyday has a bit of a different flare to it. Normally there is a lot of communication happening between the designers and me because I like to have a more personal relationship with them. I make sure to check how sales are doing, read the industry publications, and am constantly searching for the next best designer to bring on board. So, going through tons of look books.
What has been the highlight of your fashion career so far?
It would have to be working with Rtister and having a hand in its development.
What’s your favourite garment to buy?
It would have to be shoes and not a garment. Are shoes not a girl’s best friend? I love looking at how creative the shoe industry is getting each year and how a great pair of shoes can change your mood.
Do you prefer to buy for men or women?
Women because it’s more fun. I love men’s clothing as well but women have more options when it comes to accessories.
What do you like about emerging designers and brands in comparison to the more commercial designers and brands?
Emerging designers are fresh and they are always happy to hear feedback on how to make their collections even better. When a new designer gets picked up by the industry it is because their collection(s) offer something that isn’t being seen in that way at that moment. That’s what I love! It creates more inspiration.
What is your idea of an ideal weekend?
Finding markets and seeing what is out there. I love vintage jewellery. It’s my thing. I can’t get enough of it.
What’s currently your favourite designer piece in your wardrobe?
My Alaia shoes. But I am looking forward to getting my pieces from Rtister’s SS13 designers in the next few months.
What advice would you give to those who are looking to become buyers for stores such as Rtister in the future?
Be prepared to work hard and stay focused. It is truly a fast paced industry and career. You need to have a vision that coincides with the company and keep pushing forward.
I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again – be sure to have a snoop around Rtister, where you can purchase some of Nikoletta’s brilliant designer choices.
Images courtesy of NOIR, provided by Rtister
“Founded by design duo, Duncan Shaw & Billy Yick, MASC has been selected by Selfridges as part of their ‘bright young things’ initiative, featuring in a dedicated window display and available in-store to buy”. Both Duncan & Billy graduated from Nottingham Trent University, receiving Gold Award nominations at Graduate Fashion Week, and went to Paris to study their Masters in Fashion Design at The Institut Francais De La Mode.
For Spring/Summer 2013 Duncan & Billy have presented a collection that continues to hold the brands signature aesthetic such as its focus on folding techniques, sharp tailoring and silhouette manipulation. Panelling is an evident aspect of the collection as the duo has pieced together unique shapes in order to form a whole. The subtle palette of black, white, blue, pink and yellow is beautifully appropriate for such an intriguing collection. Each and every piece oozes a feeling of cool elegance that is given edge by the duos unique collection of acrylic pendants, accessories that complement the collection in its entity.
I also have to mention that all MASC pieces are handmade in England, ensuring that you will, without doubt, be met with flawless quality upon purchasing a piece from the brand.
You can view the full collection on both the MASC website and Rtister, where you can also find out more about the brand.
Images courtesy of MASC, provided by Rtister
After my meeting with the lovely team behind Rtister a couple of weeks ago, I had the pleasure of interviewing Shahrzad Amoli and Ashkan Alavi, the duo behind the innovative store. I bugged them about their past, how Rtister came about and their plans for the store in the future, and I couldn’t have been happier with their answers!
What is Rtister?
Rtister is the new online store where we offer users enviable choices in contemporary luxury fashion and empower them to influence what’s available to shop. Our designers are scouted from all over the world and are all ones to seriously watch on an international level.
When and why did you decide to establish Rtister?
The decision to start Rtister first came about towards the very end of 2010. Within our own networks and circles we noticed that there was an increasing interest in seeking out fashion that stood out as unique and original, that brought up a conversation about the designer. The feeling when you wish you had come across the next Alexander McQueen and you were the one wearing their pieces before they became fashion giants. At the same time, we believe that there are many designers around the world that fit this bill very well. We knew that the concept of online fashion is the ideal space to bring the user and designer together.
What were you both doing before you established Rtister in December 2012?
Well, we come from different backgrounds, working in finance and management within the United Nations and other large international organisations but we’ve always been passionate and fascinated about the world of fashion. At the same time we’ve been surrounded by designer friends with their own labels and have come to know about all that’s involved in their journey towards success. We’ve been living and breathing Rtister for quite a while now and over the past 18 months the team has been working towards getting the website ready, scouting for designers, selecting and buying stock and testing the user experience on the site.
What do you hope to achieve with the store?
Over the years we’ve all been hearing about how accessible fashion is becoming which is absolutely true. We hope people find that Rtister.com is where they need to come to find the next label that’s creating a lot of buzz and to be able to get their hands on excitingly fresh and trendy pieces. We also want the customer to enjoy discovering designers, their collections and pick out pieces they love and not just shop from among what we pick for them. They need to have a say in what they prefer to see available to shop. And we also hope to facilitate a bond between shoppers and their favourite designers that will be long term.
What sets Rtister apart from similar stores?
We’re an online store; we feature amazing designers and provide excellent customer service. That’s what makes us similar to other stores. But what sets us apart, we think, is the role the shopper has in influencing our buying decisions because they’re given access to the designers’ collections ahead of season. They take a discovery journey through these collections and tell us which ones they love and so would probably buy if it’s available in the shop. If an item of a collection has a substantial popularity going on, then it’s included in our season’s buying. So the customer has been empowered with a voice rather than just being offered what we decide is what they want. And because they’re among those who have helped us in our decisions, they receive offers they can use to make their shopping more exciting and rewarding.
What influenced the name of the store?
You’ve probably heard endless quotes from famous fashion figures about the art of making and wearing clothes. Everything about fashion is indeed an art. We make choices about what to wear with what and the designers create them from just an idea in their minds so there are artistic aspects involved in creating, buying and wearing. Rtister is pronounced ‘artister’ and we’d like to think of every single member in the website as an artist or to be more precise, an “Rtist”.
What has been the highlight of your fashion career so far?
It’s getting to know the people behind the labels so up close and personal. It’s such an eye- opener to see so many talents in this industry who are not only amazing designers of clothes and accessories, but are also accomplished painters, sculptors and even movie-makers! It makes us even more excited to be working with them.
Out of all the designers selling through Rtister, do you have any favourites?
Now that’s tricky! The right answer would probably be that it’s like choosing a favourite child and that it’s impossible. I think we’re really looking forward to seeing the labels who are relatively newer and who you will definitely hear a lot about internationally within the next two seasons; designers like Negarin London, Francis Leon, MASC and Altewai Saome but every single one of our designers amazes us.
What are your plans for the development of Rtister over the course of the next year?
We’re working on some exciting new features which will include personalising the shopping experience based on the individual shopper’s taste and giving a stronger voice to the user. So watch this space.
What advice would you give to individuals who are looking to establish an online store in the future?
Don’t be discouraged by all the learning involved throughout, but think everything through before, during and after the web design and development process. You have to be flexible to changes. And don’t try to reinvent the wheel, just be as innovative as you can and involve yourself in the details along the way as much as possible. Put yourself in the shoes of the user always.
Be sure to have a snoop around Rtister, where you can purchase pieces from numerous new, independent and emerging designers and brands.
Images courtesy of Jenny Grettve, provided by Rtister
In addition to being a brilliant digital print specialist, British womenswear designer Dominique Kral is also an incredibly talented knitwear designer, winning her the Zandra Rhodes Catwalk Textiles Award 2011 upon graduating from Northbrook College Sussex. A selection of Dominique’s knitwear pieces has recently become available through Rtister, with my favourite being this Lamb’s Wool Cable Knit Cardigan. Made from 100% wool and hand knitted in England, this piece would surely be a perfect addition to any women’s winter wardrobe.
Cardigan, £107.00, from Dominique Kral
You can view and purchase more of Dominique’s signature knitwear pieces through Rtister.
Images courtesy of Rtister
“Rtister is the social shopping destination to discover exciting luxury and contemporary fashion designers from around the world.”
I came across online store Rtister a month or two back when I heard from the lovely Dominique Kral that they would be stocking her award-winning knitwear garments upon launching in December 2012. I then met with the team yesterday whilst in London for London Collections: Men and after being welcomed with such enthusiasm and kindness, and finding out just how ambitious the team are, I couldn’t not introduce Rtister to you.
The store currently stocks an array of both independent and emerging designers and brands, and you can join Rtister and start selecting your favourite pieces through the Rtister feed on the website which went live last month.