FROM: London, England
Rixo’s creative vision blossomed on the floor of a living room in London four years ago. Charged with an idea to make flattering, feminine and high-quality clothes for discerning modern women, best friends Henrietta Rix and Orlagh McCloskey created Rixo, an eternally sunny label of vintage-inspired garments that jubilantly exult, “Wear me!” And wear them they did. Possessing a contemporary global appeal that saw the brand picked up by Net-a-Porter in its first season (the fashion equivalent of winning a golden ticket to Wonka’s Chocolate Factory), Rixo now stands as one of the most covetable brands in fashion’s vanguard.
In four short years, the London-based label has amassed a cult-like following both on and o the grid. With 228,000 Instagram followers, their exuberant aesthetic – which now spans everything from swimwear to scrunchies – can be seen worldwide, something they’ve fostered through a clever, hashtag-led community that supports women. “We created our #HumansofRixo hashtag as a way for our customers to share with us how they wear Rixo, as it gives us great insight when we’re designing our collections for them,” Rix explains. Perhaps it’s this invaluable marketing that can be attributed to the immense growth of the brand: they know their customers inside out (literally). “It’s allowed us to create a global community showcasing women of all ages, sizes, shapes and countries wearing Rixo in their own way. As much as we repost celebrity or influencers in Rixo, we also love reposting images of our customers in our pieces to give others ideas of how to wear. For us, it’s not about the person or content being picture perfect, it has to be real and relatable,” a wonderfully inclusive philosophy they’ve nurtured from the get-go.
But its true success is because of something much simpler. The brand, a portmanteau of the girls’ names, creates clothing that makes your heart sing; luminous colours, psychedelic prints and Hawaiian orals. There are felt-tip polka dots, palm-leaf jacquard and abstract butter y wings, a sprawling, sartorial ode to vintage. If a blouson midi dress drenched in ombré blue sequins was Rixo’s praise song, then the current, season-less collection is the holy grail. Saluting the joys of seventies discotheque, ready-to-wear pieces are rooted in Nile Rodgers’ ‘liberated territory’, namely the fearless expression of Studio 54, a state of mind the designers share.
It might be their forthcoming collection, however, that is their most interesting, or canny at the very least. For the first time, the brand showcased a completely see-now-buy-now, limited-edition collection during London Fashion Week. “Our customers were able to shop straight away the next day exclusively at our new King’s Road London pop-up store and online site,” explains Rix. Regressing a decade, the collection imbued the swing of the late ’60s, a free- spirited mood of Woodstock-inspired paisley, ditsy retro orals and heart prints with a distinctly sixties palette of syrupy browns, rusts, pinks and orange.
Flexing their creative muscles through distinctly feminine tropes is vital to the proudly female-led brand. Being women – and being wholly independent – is the lifeline of Rixo. “It’s so important,” maintains Rix. “Since we are 100 per cent self-funded and don’t answer to investors, we’re able to do it on our terms. We launched Rixo with a very small amount of personal savings – about £2000 each – and just did everything ourselves from our living room until we had grown enough to start to take on people.” In what is a common rhetoric in the industry, both gender and age proved snags in their journey, something the girls fought with remarkable resolve. “At the beginning, we were told because of our age, little experience and lack of finances, by men in suits with lots of money, that we couldn’t do it and that we needed them,” continues Rix. “We didn’t succumb to the men in suits, as we are so headstrong and determined that we don’t need to answer to male-dominated investors. They have no idea about who our customers are, what they want and the emotion around when you put on something that is really flattering, that you love and that completely changes how you feel and see yourself.”
Travel is what animates them, foraging for amazing vintage finds on trips to their favourite places – Naples, Ibiza or Los Angeles – laying the groundwork for future collections. And, of course, London – where it all began four years ago. “There is such a hub of creativity here, whether it’s new exhibitions or shows, it’s steeped in fashion and music history and culture,” says Rix. “It’s 100 per cent been a source of inspiration for us and played a big part of the brand. It’s the place where we both chose to come to university, where we met and have lived for the past 10 years – and our West London living room is where Rixo was born!” A sartorial joyride only at the beginning of its journey, it’s only a matter of time before Rixo becomes what McCloskey likes to call “future vintage” – passed down to daughters and even granddaughters to enjoy.