We love celebrating strong, successful women here at The Caviar Spoon, which is why we’ve created ReBelles. These are the women who are working it and owning it in life, work, and everything in between. Our newest ReBelles are fashion designers Henrietta Rix and Orlagh McCloskey of vintage-inspired British label RIXO.
RIXO is a British womenswear label that channels that funky yet effortless London girl aesthetic – carefree, fun, and full of personality. The clothes are designed with 70’s British fashion (and earlier) in mind, and then ever so gently adapted in a contemporary way.
Henrietta Rix and Orlagh McCloskey, the founders and designers of RIXO, are best friends who met whilst studying fashion at London College of Fashion. They were buyers at ASOS but, like all ReBelles, knew that they were destined for more. Between being young (and knowing that there was more out there) and being uninspired by the setting of the head offices, Henrietta and Orlagh left behind the security of the corporate world to venture out on their own. In 2015, RIXO (an amalgam of their names) was born.
We finally caught wind of the fabulous RIXO when more than a few friends mentioned the label upon being asked “Where did you get your dress??” And then one of Pra’s besties said, “Pra, check out RIXO…these girls are my fave designers right now!!” She and her partner in crime create and sell some of the best high street garments for one of the UK’s leading fashion houses so…well, when she’s that enthusiastic about a designer, you need to listen. So, we checked them out.
The designs are like a breath of fresh air with bright colours, bold and playful prints, and just enough nostalgia for those of us who might remember a bit of 70’s fashion.
Of course, after being entranced by the clothing and inspired by how these two young designers are making their dreams happen, we reached out to Henrietta and Orlagh to ask them a few questions.
Ed. note: answers may have been edited for clarity
When did you have your “AHA!” moment with your business concept?
We have always been obsessed with vintage and from a very early age we have been surrounded by it. One of our biggest strengths, we feel, is being able to see a diamond in the rough and knowing it’ll be the base or inspiration for an amazing collection or an accessory for styling up our designing. We knew there were no labels out there styling up contemporary fashion in a unique and maximalist way and at a contemporary price point.
Who has inspired you the most and why?
Henrietta: As obvious as it sounds, my mum has always been a source of inspiration for me since and early age. We would go to antique fairs every Sunday, auctions and flea markets when on holiday, always unearthing gorgeous one-off items. She really trained my eye and started my obsession with fashion. She also always taught me to trust my gut which is something Orlagh and I always do when we are unsure or nervous about new ventures.
What’s been the biggest reward to date being a designer?
It is so lovely to see famous people in our designs and get the recognition but what is even more lovely is when we get customer from all walks of life, ages, and different locations around the world, calling or writing emails to tell us how fabulous they felt in our dress and how many compliments the got when they wore their RIXO…Dressing girls for their wedding parties, bridesmaids, or any special occasion really is so rewarding for us.
And the worst thing about being a designer…
Never enough hours in the day…! We are always onto the next collection and planning designs almost a year ahead!
What do you do to get inspired?
We love vintage fairs, flea markets, antique shops, auctions or even charity shops…we spent a whole summer traveling California and all the Goodwills before we launched RIXO!
How do you measure success?
Seeing RIXO grow and our customer base expand worldwide would mean success to us…We have a long, long way to go and huge aspirations for the brand. We want to be able to offer our customer the full RIXO look and expand our categories into jersey, knit, accessories, you name it. We also want to offer one-off vintage online.
What do you struggle with now as a business woman?
I still think it is difficult as young women in business. We have had great success within under two years of launching and when in serious, more male dominated meeting rooms, we can often get overlooked due to our age and also being females. I still think high up in fashion, it is very male dominated but we are very determined to continue and stick to what we believe in.
The biggest learning lesson since opening up your business?
That design really is only 10% of the day-to-day runnings of having a brand. Knowing your customer is the most important thing and also learning from them. Knowledge is key and we are always learning every season on how to improve…we don’t expect this to change and always look back at the key lesson learned.
What advice would you give to women looking to succeed in the workplace or in their own business?
To stick to your guns if you really believe in what you are doing. Speak to as many people as possible – people are always willing to give advice so never be afraid to ask.
When the going gets tough you…
Keep plodding on!
What’s your one piece of advice on how to achieve a work/life balance?
We haven’t gotten there yet…RIXO has become our life and we both couldn’t be more passionate about it – maybe ask us in 5 more years. I think if you have your own business, it becomes your baby and it is very tough if not near impossible to switch off from it but I wouldn’t have it any other way.
In 24 months’ time, RIXO will look like this…
Our online platform will have developed vastly, we will have a much broader and wider product base and our in-house team will have grown. We really want to also offer the full look and sell vintage online.
What’s your signature piece and why?
Our Camellia dress is our signature – a bohemian dress crafted in lightweight silk and it couldn’t be more flattering. It’s a dress that really is timeless and can be dressed up for a wedding or worn with Converse in the day.
3 words to describe your clientele…
Quirky, stylish and confident
3 words to describe you (RIXO)…
Bohemian, vintage-inspired, timeless
Your motivational quote…
If you really believe in it and think positive, you can make your dream a reality.
The person you most respect is…
Your business mantra…
Trust your gut
Your life mantra…
Have fun with it
Your favourite fashion brand (apart from yours:) )
Vintage Thea Porter / Ossie Clark
Anything we should keep a look out for?
New website launching very soon