Designer Jamie Richards from Margaret Wray. Image supplied.
Jamie Richards is the designer behind vintage-inspired bridal label Margaret Wray, which captured our hearts on the runway in the New Zealand Weddings Magazine show at New Zealand Fashion Week 2017. The New Zealand-raised London-based designer named her label after her grandmothers and has grown her brand from one-off bespoke gowns to full collections of beautiful wedding gowns.
We caught up with Jamie to find out more about her brand, what inspires her and what you would never catch her wearing!
Tell us about your latest collection?
My collections tend to grow organically with the private clients I work with; however, my most recent additions were the new pieces I created for SS18 and showed at New Zealand Fashion Week back in September.
My SS18 collection introduces current trends, such as wide leg trousers and separates, whilst maintaining my vintage feel. I find strong women such as Marlene Dietrich inspiring so it made perfect sense to include a wide leg jumpsuit! The combination of new silhouettes in sumptuous European silks alongside intricate lace paneling creates a real statement look and something very unique; vintage inspiration can come from any number of decades and I was certainly feeling the 1930’s for my new collection!
What made you become a designer?
After over 15 years of working within the fashion industry as a Garment Technician within premium and luxury brands I was regularly being asked to create gowns for friends and family. I have always wanted to establish my own brand and after requests grew I had the confidence to try and create something of my own, which encapsulated my values of honesty, craftsmanship and originality. Discovering a fantastic studio in central London was pivotal and I began creating one off bespoke gowns for clients about 5 years ago. I was doing this in my spare time until I left my full time job to consult in my specialist field.
What inspires you?
I knew in my heart that contemporary vintage was my true style and what inspires me. Margaret and Wray are the Christian and maiden names of my grandmothers. They are my inspiration and part of me so it felt natural to name my brand after them.
I have travelled to so many interesting places, I always find inspiration from new cultures and people I meet but also living in London for so many years, you can’t help but be inspired by the people and place!
Looks from Margaret Wray on the runway at New Zealand Fashion Week 2017.
Describe your personal style and how it influences your designs?
My role as a garment technician means I am certainly picky about how well a garment fits! My style is of course vintage-inspired contemporary, but for me whatever I wear I have to feel comfortable. This is a vital element in my designs; my clients have to feel comfortable within a perfectly fitted gown that makes them look and feel wonderful.
What is your all-time favourite purchase?
Apart from my Vespa… my bed! It’s so important to get a good night’s sleep!
Work related, it’s hard to choose one, with so many amazing vintage treats I’ve come across but really I couldn’t live without my steam generated iron and heated ironing board. I only iron on it now, I even save up my own clothes and take them to my studio to do.
What wardrobe item should everyone invest in?
It depends where you live but I always swear by a quality coat for winter and a great pair of boots! That might change now I’m about to migrate back to the southern part of the world however in London it’s essential all year round! Other than that, a hot pair of heels, you must have something that makes you feel amazing in your wardrobe! That one item you put on and own it every time.
Do you have a style rule you always obey?
It has to fit properly! Also try not to directly copy trends; if you like a trend, make it to work within your style.
What has been the highlight of your career so far?
Showing at New Zealand Fashion Week in September was definitely a highlight so far. To see my designs on the runway alongside such incredible designers such as Trish Peng who I very much admire was truly amazing.
What can’t you live without?
My family, they are always there for me, unconditionally and it keeps me going when I am on the other side of the world.
Finish this sentence – You would never catch me wearing…
White (unless on a very special occasion of course)…. And a thong bikini – for obvious reasons!
Runway images by James Yang Photography.