JUST WHEN YOU THINK you know every designer in the city, a new name pops up on the scene. Riordan Roache is a line by Emily Riordan-Roache, a Central St. Martins graduate originally from Seattle who made her way to Portland to pursue an independent creative career on her own terms. New to the scene, you'll have to hop on Etsy to score her designs (etsy.com/shop/riordanroache), but don't be surprised if you start seeing and hearing her name around town.
MERCURY: Of all the career paths within the industry, why did you decide to produce a line independently?
EMILY RIORDAN-ROACHE: After I graduated from St. Martins I assumed that I'd get a job as a design assistant. I initially moved to New York for an internship, and when I seriously started looking for a job I had the rather alarming realization that I would be pretty miserable working for a big company. It took me a very stressful six months to sort out what I wanted to do from what I thought that I should do. I've come to realize that, even though at times it seems impossibly overwhelming, I really need to be my own boss. It sounds kind of corny, but I really believe in following your heart.
You've stated that your designs are influenced by punk. Is there a particular sub-scene within the genre/timeline that speaks to you?
My first musical love was '70s British punk, and that movement's values of independence, self-expression, and creativity made a lasting impression on me. I'm more inspired now by post-punk music—bands like the Fall and Gang of Four, and their anti-fashion style.
What led to your relocation to Portland after New York? Why here rather than Seattle?
When I decided that I wanted to strike out on my own it became clear that New York was going to be impossibly expensive, and that I would need to relocate. I chose Portland because I wanted to move back to the Northwest and couldn't quite wrap my mind around moving back to the city I grew up in, not to mention the creativity and energy coursing through Portland.
Are you currently working on a collection?
I'm pretty much always working on a new collection. For my spring/summer 2012, I've been thinking about ease of movement and loose, baggy clothing, which has led me to ravers and flappers.