Designer Q&A, Rachel Riley

Rachel Riley is the British luxury brand for children. Rachel’s design philosophy is rooted in her traditional lifestyle and draws inspiration from the forties, fifties and sixties with fine tailoring, beautiful hand smocking, hand embroidery and vintage-inspired prints designed by and exclusive to the brand.

Rachel’s award winning brand was founded in London in 1994 and ever since Rachel Riley designs, manufactures and retails clothing and accessory collections four times per year for boys, girls, babies and ladies!

Rachel answered all our questions about her collection in today’s Q&A. 27GSS22YE08_4_Polka_Dot_Ricrac_Swimsuit_LifestlyeWhy did you choose to design for children?
I had children of my own and realised that I couldn’t find what I wanted them to wear. I love traditional styles and vintage prints but there wasn’t much choice in clothes that looked good, and that were also comfortable and easy-to-wear. I also like making things myself, so I love anything that has a ‘craft’ element, hand-smocking and hand embroidery and I couldn’t find that unless I did it myself!

What is your brand’s mission statement or goal?
To provide quality, classic, stylish and good value children’s clothing27GSS32AQ04_4_Polka_Dot_Ruffle_Swimsuit_LifestlyeWhy do you believe fashion/style is important for children?
I have such strong memories of clothing that I wore when I was a child, so I believe that it is part of a child’s education to have interesting patterns and colours. Most importantly we make clothes that are comfortable and practical to wear, so they look and feel good. I like fabrics that feel soft and shapes that suit a child’s body.

What are the motivations or inspirations behind the design?
I love ‘conversational’ prints from the thirties, forties and fifties, and anything that is whimsical and child-like. I am inspired by nature and classic retro themes, animals, seaside, nautical.P1060585
Is there a style decade you are inspired by?
I have been collecting ‘novelty’ print fabrics since I was a teenager, so always trail the antique marts and flea markets when I travel. I love the feminism and innocence of the fifties and the excitement and creativity of the early sixties.

How does your design philosophy change when creating for boy vs. girls?
I like boys to look like boys, so make sure that there are fun prints with a ‘boyish’ theme, and girls love all things girly, so lots of sparkle! However, I design many matching items like the ‘map’ print that we used for boys shirt and girls dresses, as both boys and girls can dream about travel and exploring the world.P1070952What do you have coming up that you are really excited about?
I am about to start designing AW16, and I am always excited about starting a new collection, and designing new prints. However, the most exciting event that I am looking forward to is the imminent arrival of the Royal Baby. There has been so much media interest in our company since Prince George wore our outfits on his two Official Engagements, so it is fun to re-live this with the new baby that is due this week.

What is your favourite piece (for boys and girls) from the current collection?
It is difficult for me to choose, as we have so many good pieces! Plus children need different outfits for different occasions. But if I was forced to choose, I would say the lobster print swim trunks for boys, and the neon embroidered dress for girls.P1080286   Discover more designs by Rachel Riley by visiting their website at


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