It's been two years since Samantha Richelle entered the local fashion. We recall loving her androgynous pieces that could easily find a home in every fashion girl's closet. But after her Fall 2017 launch, Sam admits she's sort of plateaued. In an interview with Preview, she opens up about needing to "take a bit of a breather for a year to figure out [her] direction." After all, running an RTW brand is no picnic in the park.
Fortunately, Sam decided to take her sabbatical leave in London where she met Han Chong, a designer who runs Self-Portrait, a brand beloved by fashion girls like Kim Jones, Liz Uy, and more. Through their exchanges, Sam felt enlightened and found new hope in relaunching her brand. "He really stressed on getting down to finding my brand DNA," Sam shares. "For my last collection, I tried to please too many people." According to her, it was also Han who pointed out her love for dressing up and own sense of style, which Sam took as her first clue to figuring out her brand's DNA. In the end, it was simple: Her brand should embody herself.
Below, we talk with Sam about her new collection and what else we can expect from her newly rebranded fashion line.
It's been two years since you debuted your very first collection. What have you been up to since?
"Since then, I'm happy to have met an art director in London whom I really clicked with; and after a few meetings and phone calls, we came up with the brand focus and the DNA. Four months later, after proper planning and hiring a fresh team for production—we shot the new look of Samantha Richelle. Collection One truly embodies how I envision my brand."
You recently unveiled Collection One. Why did you name it so?
"I guess you can say that when I introduced Collection One on my personal Instagram alone, I put in the caption '..with more knowledge and some rebranding, I’m now ready to launch Samantha Richelle Collection One.' I want to be very honest: I named it ‘Collection One’ or ‘One’ to show that we have started over with a complete rebranding: new logo, new look, fresh collection... and a clearer vision! I didn’t want to name the collection after the seasons, I would think its too much pressure to keep up with the seasons so I decided to plainly give the collection a number."
After your collection launch in 2017, how has your brand evolved in terms of design aesthetic and philosophy?
"I believe since the Fall 2017 collection I have been able to be more focused on a more street wear approach. Separates, and a big part of the collection, consist of a variety of oversized unisex pieces and sizes that fit both women and men. I wanted to create pieces that are flexible and comfortable. Something to throw on and mix and match easily from day to night. Our philosophy is to empower individuals with our bold cuts, and have fun with each piece."
Where did Collection One draw inspiration from?
"Art has always been present in my life. My parents are big art collectors and I was basically living in an art gallery growing up, seeing paintings from Andy Warhol to Degas. So I have always been so intrigued by art, even making fine art my major in school. So I reference old/new art all the time, hence the many splashes of art in the collection, from an abstract print to an old reference to a painting from the 1400s during the Baroque period by Jan Boeckhorst. I also wanted the collection to be very much about my experiences, my inspirations, and also inspired by the basics in my closet, or the pieces I wish I had in my closet."
What kind of materials did you use in producing your items? How does your fabrication play into the overall vibe of the collection?
"I used a lot of waterproof materials on the jackets and even the printed coats. The Maria Print abstract jackets are all made with waterproof material, which give them a very streetwear vibe. And we specifically used premium Japanese denim. It’s something I pushed hard to work with because the process involves the old art of indigo dyeing—something that’s sustainable in terms of water usage. In the end, the finish of the denims look and feel great."
Who do you have in mind when designing your pieces? Could you describe your ideal muse?
"My dream muses are Rihanna and Beyonce. I don't think I really need to say much else. They’re fierce women, confident, independent, and know who they are. They have ambitions and they enjoy fashion."
How would you describe your brand's signature look?
"The signature look for this first collection and possibly for the next upcoming collections would be the splash of color apart from our very structured pieces inspired by the power suit."
In your website, you posted Stories where your collection was photographed in different mediums, and lensed by and modeled by many. What was the idea behind this?
"This is a space I wanted to be free to create content and continue telling the brand's story and vision. Also there's beauty in being able to collaborate with different people, and to produce my vision with friends in the same industry, and work with a range of talented individuals like photographers, models, and eventually even other brands."
How many pieces does your collection have? If you were to choose just one piece, which item could you see yourself wearing the most?
"There are 43 pieces, including the different colorways but there are only 36 designs. My favorite is definitely the combat pants. Because it really is what I throw on the most. I end up always styling them with a look."
What are your price points?
"$200- $700 USD" [Approximately P10,600 to P37,000]
What can we expect from your brand in the coming years?
"Our vision is to be working with retailers internationally and eventually locally as opposed to just be available on our own online platform. We are also in initial talks with other companies to collaborate with, so watch out for that."