Romania-born fashion designer, Mirela Iordache, has lived in Barcelona and London most of her adult life, which lead to the creation of her new multi-use, sustainable brand, RYZE. After much deliberation and trial and error, Iordache, a former model, landed on RYZE as an ethical step forward in a world consumed by consumption. Below, she explains the colorful genesis of her brand, and where she hopes her passion and mindfulness to craft will lead.
It’s been a real adventure for you arriving at Ryze. How did this end up coming to fruition?
A few years ago, after trying several times to get into Central Saint Martins to study fashion design and not succeeding, I didn’t want to give up to this dream of being a designer. So I said to myself: “I guess I have to do my own brand.”
I used to live in East London where I had my studio and built my brand for two years. My sister end up helping me with funding. She really believed in me so much that she gave me the power to focus and do it. There was a moment where we needed more funding, but suddenly my perspective changed and I became conscious of the impact that my brand would have on the environment. I had to stop. It didn’t feel right to invest more money on something that was not environmentally conscious. This was a hard moment because I had to let go of something that I lived for for two years, every single day, day and night. I was attached to my baby but deep inside something was not feeling right.
So now here I am. While I was in Istanbul last summer I discovered a beautiful print in the bazar which inspired me to do a collection. I was so exited about the print that I couldn’t wait to go back to London to do the samples, so I found a tailor in Istanbul and we did few pieces. We did 30 pieces, which later I took to Burning Man and gave them to my friends. I had to understand if my concept was working.The puzzle started to take shape. While we were visiting the Blue Mosque in Istanbul, our guide was explaining the different signs on the wall of the mosque and one caught my attention. The translation of this sign was: “when the sun rises”. So RYZE was born.
I don’t know where this will go but I am happy with what is happening around me. From this whole experience I learned two things: no attachment and to let go. For me these are the two most strongest and powerful things that someone can learn besides forgiveness.
You’ve taken an eco approach with your line, which is a very popular idea at present. How do you plan to differentiate yourself from the competitors ?
My first question was how can I do a sustainable brand that doesn’t compromise on design? For me the most sustainable thinking in the world is to use things that are already made. I had the idea to buy dead stock of fabric from other designers to create my collection. This would give an edge to the whole collection because the pieces would be limited. But while doing the research to create the business plan, I realized that sustainability has became a cool trend and cool marketing tool to make people buy more. People are still far away from being conscious or really caring what type of clothes they buy.
For me sustainability is also about educating the consumer.
Where do you feel your strengths are as an entrepreneur ? How about your weaknesses?
I am a very passionate person and when I do something that I really like, I put in all my energy and focus and I end up being a motivator. People get inspired by this. Also I am the type of person that believes that everything is possible. If am facing a problem I don’t give up until I find the solution and I never take a no for an answer.
Where would you go for your next research trip and why?
I have two trips planned. One is Transylvania, Romania. It’s where my mother comes from and where my grandma still lives. She has a farm with different animals and she lives on top of the mountain. It’s where the legend of Dracula comes from too. It’s a land of tradition, mystery, and mysticism. In October there is an antique fair happening where peasants from different regions come and gather together to sell their work, from handmade rugs to handmade fabrics to antiques and furniture. It’s an explosion of inspiration.
The second trip I am planing is Marrakesh, Morocco. I love the colors, the textures and the people. Last time I was there it was four years ago with my sister and one of my best friends that hosted us for New Years. The day after New Year’s Eve we wake up in the morning, took the car and drove with no direction. After driving between the most beautiful red mountains, we ended up in a oasis, riding camels, and hanging out with locals. It was epic.
In what ways are you trying to stay young at heart ?
Traveling opens your eyes and your heart in so many ways. Also speaking different languages makes you more open minded. You understand better the culture and the humor of a country when you speak the language. You train your brain to be naturally in tune with things around you and people that have different opinions. Another thing that I believe is incredibly helpful is reading books and articles, or seeing documentaries of different topics, and things that are different from what you like.
What does a disciplined day look like for you? How about a day of no discipline ?
Let’s start with no discipline: I would probably have a late night the day before, so then I would wake up late, stay in bed and watch Netflix and have chocolate and pistachio ice cream for breakfast.
A disciplined day would be waking up early in the morning and having my lemon water and then I would go for a run. After the run I would have a super healthy breakfast like avocado toast and smoked salmon or eggs, and than I would read FLAUNT, WWD, Nowness, and Reuters. After that I would start to reply to my emails, calls, and attend meetings. Then I would go to yoga class in the afternoon and voila! The day is finished. And if I would be designing or working in the atelier I would probably be unreachable.
What do you see happening in fashion that inspires you?
Consumerism and more consumerism. It’s incredible how much time people dedicate to shopping. I feel overwhelmed just thinking about it and it doesn’t stop there. After shopping you have to take care of the things you bought. I was without a proper home for a few months, so I lived out of my suitcase with my friend in a hotel, so when I packed that suitcase I had to be super practical on my packing. All the clothes I chose became multi-use garments. This is what inspired me to have a minimalistic lifestyle and what also made me create the concept of the brand. Multi-use garments are fantastic.
Are you confident in the future of social media, or will something take its place ?
Social media is constantly evolving and it’s exciting to think about what it will look like in just a few years time. Technology and privacy will play a big role in the evolution of social media. As users of social media, we are now more worried and careful with how our data is used. Shopping thru social media is already a reality. have a concept: SLOW MOVEMENT OF FASHION. The slow movement of fashion encourages people to buy fewer products, better quality products that identify with their persona and make them unique.It’s not about being on trend and changing your wardrobe everyday. It’s about buying pieces that are unique and versatile, so you can wear them in a different ways and create multiple looks.
What is something you love that you don’t find yourself doing enough ?
Spending time with my family.
What record or music mix would best describe the collection?
“Leporidae” by Rampue
What’s so bad it’s good ?
What’s in your picnic basket ?
My picnic basket would look very colorful. I would have a good bottle of red wine, tomatoes, and cucumber from my grandma’s garden, Feta cheese, avocado, some wild roasted mushrooms, boiled beetroots and good home made rye bread... And probably no forks or knifes. Eating with your hands in nature under a tree is priceless. And I would have also raspberries.
Photographed by Nicole Tusznio.
Models: Maryna Hridina and Claudine Wierzbicka