RIXO was founded by best friends Henrietta Rix and Orlagh McCloskey, who share a passion for vintage and empowering women through clothes. Inspired by finds the pair discover while trawling flea markets around the world, each collection is packed with throwback silhouettes and original prints, which are painted by hand in the label's London studio.
Please can you both tell us a little bit about yourselves and your current roles?
Orlagh: We are both very hands on founders, as we don’t have investors we make every decision and the strategy comes directly from us both. We’ve lived together and worked together for the past five years so we are very in-sync. As we’ve grown my role has become more design orientated. I am obsessed with the fit of our garments so I lead that up alongside the prints. Then we both equally sign off on what we really believe in.
Henrietta: Alongside the overall strategy of the business, I focus a lot of my time on the marketing and communications. I still post every IG post, branding is key to RIXO. I arrange and work on all the shoots, oversee all PR and wholesale accounts alongside our amazing team of course, that is forever growing which is so exciting!
When you started RIXO five years ago was it easy to decide who would do which roles? Did you have different interests within fashion when you were still at school or did you migrate into your current roles over time?
Henrietta: When we started RIXO, we both very much did everything. As the company grew that’s when we decided it made sense to start splitting things and it just fell into place! We very much met having the exact same interests and still do.
Fair wages, safe working conditions, being environmentally conscious are cornerstones of how you run the RIXO business. What are some of the things you do to ensure day to day business is upholding these values? How easy or hard was it to find suitable factory partnerships that make these practices possible and what on-going challenges do you face in regard to upholding these standards?
Orlagh: RIXO is based on relationships, our suppliers are everything to us and we cherish them dearly. Our aim has always been to create investment pieces that last so in order to do this quality is key and you need to pay for quality and invest time into relationships with your suppliers. We produce mainly with one supplier who’s been with us literally since day one. We’ve both visited the factory on numerous occasions and are extremely comfortable with the working conditions, the workers are extremely skilled and the conditions are pristine. As we grow we will oversee any suppliers we bring into our family and to this day we have under 5 who we really trust. Our new move to monthly drops, starting with January 2021 that we launched at CPHFW, was a move to produce more consciously and encourage our customers to to shop more considerately, with more edited ranges fitting with the true seasons meaning less waste. Therefore we will release less but more considered options.
Henrietta: In an effort to reduce our carbon footprint, our full supply chain life cycle of our garments happens all in one place, meaning low impact manufacturing and reduced transportation. We have really amazing relationships with our factories, having been with one from the beginning like Orlagh mentioned, and have really grown with together. We make regular trips out there, both to China and India, to ensure the highest of standards in conditions, treatment and happiness of all the workers.
We’ve read that one of the factories you work with in India is a female-owned factory. Do you feel being female founders working with females to create women’s clothing gives RIXO an edge many brands aspire to have and if so, why do you think this is?
Henrietta: I think for women’s clothes to be made by women is such a special thing. As a woman you want to feel your outfit is flattering, finding that dress that you get compliments in when you wear it really does boost your mood. The most important thing for us at RIXO in our creative process is making sure we offer something for everyone, diversity is key. Not every dress is right for everyone but we try our best to ensure there is something in the range for everyone. We are so lucky that the women we work with in the factories share these values and have the same eye for detail, they truly care about the garments. To us empowering women, whether thats the customers we dress, or the female teams we work with, is a must so if we have that edge, we are really proud to!
Where do you look for inspiration when designing new clothing or collections?
Orlagh: For inspiration, we look back into the past, often veering towards the eras of the 60s & 70s. Travel is a huge inspiration as is art and interiors.
RIXO did a collaboration with French fashion house Christian Lacroix not long ago. What did you love about that experience and what were some of the challenges you faced?
Henrietta: When we got the call from the House of Christian Lacroix we were in a state of shock. Christian Lacroix has always been such a huge source inspiration for Orlagh and I and we always feel like we strike gold when we find a CL piece whilst vintage hunting! We loved having access to their archives and rooting through all the old designs. A challenge for us was trying to live up to the glamorous yet unique garments but we were so pleased with how the collection turned out, putting our own RIXO spin on things.
What’s next in the world of RIXO?
Orlagh: We have a lot of new little capsule collections coming up this year and the beginning of next. They all lead into new avenues for RIXO, so expect a lot of newness and of course Joni the bus will finally be in action and ready for her tour when it is safe to do so!