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Hidden Gems: Meet Bria Renee of Riar Designs

Today we’d like to introduce you to Bria Renee.

Originally, I grew up in Montclair, New Jersey. When I was in the 1st grade, my parents enrolled me in a sewing camp where I started to learn the basics of designing and crafting pencil cases, pillows and quilts. From there, I met various sewing tutors and mentors who were generous with their time and helped me build my knowledge up even more. I used YouTube and books as additional resources.

I created my first apparel piece in 5th grade which was my elementary graduation dress, and from there it only went up. I continued to teach myself how to make bags and other kinds of clothes: pants, jackets (I loved making fur coats), dresses, and tops.

When I entered middle school, I enjoyed coordinating and presenting fashion shows to the students, teachers, and administrators to showcase the pieces I was making, and this continued through high school. That’s when I launched my own YouTube channel to document my design process and share with others about what I was learning. In 11th and 12th grade, I designed prom dresses for myself and friends too.

It was during this time that I became even more serious about pursuing a career in fashion design. To prepare, I attended pre-college courses at Parsons the New School, FIT, and LIM to strengthen my skills and industry knowledge. This was also when I established my business and began to slowly build a clientele.

As I was trying to decide on where to attend college, I knew that I wanted to go to school for fashion design. So I applied to all of the top schools in New York City, Savannah College of Art and Design (SCAD), MECA&D, and Centenary University. In the end, I chose SCAD Atlanta, and I continued to blossom from there.

In college, I officially named my brand, “Riar” (pronounced as rare), and continued to build it up through the different commissions that I received. I strengthened my skills as a designer through a variety of coursework: draping, pattern making, the latest industry technologies, and more. My goal now, for post-graduation, is to get my company off the ground so it can continue to transform into the business that I truly imagine it to be.

Can you talk to us a bit about the challenges and lessons you’ve learned along the way? Looking back would you say it’s been easy or smooth in retrospect?
It has been a roller coaster, because when I first started sewing I had little to no patience, especially when I would make mistakes and have to redo things correctly.

Becoming a designer has taught me about the importance of having more patience, planning and organization, and also mindfulness. When I was younger, I always felt like I had to move fast, and I was constantly on the go. Sewing has taught me to slow down, be in the moment, and be patient in knowing that it can get done.

When creating something, I had to understand that you are only bringing to life something that is destined to be made. So, I don’t have to be anxious or overwhelmed while creating it. Instead, I can take my time, step by step, so that it can turn out exactly how it was already made to be.

Art is a process, and to me, it isn’t about speed, it’s more about the intentionality of how you’re creating a design and the pace you need to keep for you to finish it through to completion, strongly.

Thanks for sharing that. So, maybe next you can tell us a bit more about your business?
The name of my company, Riar Designs, is a mixture of my first and middle name Bria Renee. Riar is a high-end slow fashion brand built on the foundation of self-positivity, advocating for self-love.

We strive to create designs that make our clients look good and feel confident about themselves in clothing specifically designed to accentuate the positive, both in mindset and physique. We offer made-to-order designs (which will be coming back later this summer), custom design orders, and styling/art direction. Currently, we specialize in womenswear for our made-to-order designs but plan to expand to menswear as well down the line.

I’m most proud of my design process and how promoting self-wellness stems from the foundation of the company. There aren’t many companies prioritizing mental health or talking about it, so we would like to be the brand that breaks that negative narrative of it within the fashion industry.

We plan to do this through embroidery, visuals/prints on our pieces as well as the concepts that our collections are based around, and designing around topics that need to be explored more. Stay tuned on our website and social media because we will be dropping some new designs soon!

Are there any important lessons you’ve learned that you can share with us?
The most important lesson I have learned along my journey is that mindfulness is key.

If I stay present and focused on what is already in front of me then I don’t need to worry about what’s to come next.

My life is already laid out for me. I just have to stay persistent and focus on what I have right now because it will then soon lead me to what’s next. My journey is my own.

Contact Info:

Image Credits
Eric Kamusau instagram @erickamusau
Charlie Williams instagram @gottablastcharles

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