‘I have always loved drawing, making and altering clothes and generally I had a huge interest in fashion.’
How did you begin your interest in design?
I have always loved drawing, making and altering clothes and generally I had a huge interest in fashion. My background is Nursing and Psychology but my passion is Art and Design. I did the GTI course in Fashion Design in 2007 and then went on to get an Honours Degree in Art and Design, GMIT in 2012.
What’s your practice like? Do you work from a studio or are you based at home?
I work from home, I draw on white paper in black ink and then add colour. I then begin the design process and digitalise my designs to suit scarves.
What artists/designers have inspired you over time?
Definitely Alexander McQueen, Prada and artists like Louise Bourgeoise and some illustrators. I like those who have their own unique styles that are unmistakably theirs.
Tell us about the last collection you created and the inspiration behind it?
I draw my inspiration like most designers and artists from the world around me. I love walks on Howth Hill, Dollymount Beach and all the awesome places in Dublin and Galway. I draw from memory and my imagination. I love birds and a lot of my drawings unintentionally become birds and butterflies that then become characters with their own style, such as the birds that wear shoes. Another drawing I have is from people watching in Dublin while I was sitting having a coffee. All the different people from school kids with heavy bags to dog walkers, sensible shoes people, cool people, tired people and the dressed up girls on a day out. Some of the other drawings come about as I draw as a form of relaxation and unconsciously draw what may be on my mind in a sort of abstract way. For instance, when I was moving, I kept drawing lines and a pretty little house right in the middle of a big city.
Tell us about your process and how you take an idea and transform it into a finished piece?
I am compelled to draw and I find it very relaxing. When I really like a drawing, I then start to add colour. I scan the hand drawing, add colour and then start to design using Illustrator or Photoshop. I then finish the design with the desired colours and juxtaposition. This part takes the longest time as I love colour and design and getting the right placement and colour to create a design I’m satisfied with takes a lot of changing and experimenting. Listening to music such as Lord Huron or Fleet Foxes at the time also helps, sounds idyllic but the focus has to be sharp! Finally the design is sent away to be printed onto silk.
What materials are you most drawn to working with?
I think everyone loves silk, the luxurious feel and the shimmer of color. The fact that its a sustainable natural fibre adds to its appeal. It looks so good as a scarf. I always admired Hermes scarves and clothing and the silk used was an unmistakably huge element to their success. I needed a fabric that could reflect the colors I wanted. I have always admired silk as luxury precious fabric. I have also used other fabrics such as cotton which is great for colour also, it is very soft with natural fiber and lovely to wear. I have also tried wool/modal for rectangular scarves but the appeal always returns to the silk.
What are your next steps with your brand?
I would love to expand into clothing, dresses etc, I already do some ties and pocket squares. I’d love to be in the larger retail outlets and get more internet and international recognition, especially from America.
I am making lots of textile prints at the moment on different fabrics for use as dresses and tops etc.,
What connections do you have to other designers and how do you feel about collaboration?
At the moment I am still in the process of defining my own brand and I want to create a strong definite image that is unmistakably ‘ritawhite’. When I feel happy with that I would love to collaborate. I am currently working with a few other designers on projects but its early days and we will see how it goes.
If you could only choose one piece of design, what would it be?
A favourite piece? I think it would be Orange birds, because I clearly remember the day I saw the large bird basking in the stormy sea. It was a very stormy day with high wind and waves and it just kept was totally unfazed by the storm and appeared to lay back and enjoy going with water. The abstract drawing that I did later from memory was to me the perfect reflection of that moment.
Tell us a highlight from your career?
My highlight at this stage is the nomination for the award. I also love when someone gives me feedback about how much they love my scarves and that they are very recognisable as being different and being unique.
I love when I am asked to collaborate or do a unique piece for someone. I was also delighted to see my scarf being worn by Margaret Molloy who established ‘wearingirish’ .
You can find more of Rita’s work on her website, facebook or instagram.
Rita White is one of the featured designers in the Galway Designers S/S Fashion Showcase ’18
First Show starts @ 5.30pm
Doors open 5pm
Interval @ 6.15pm – TheDirty Circus Performance
Second Show @ 6.45pm
There will be a Pop-Up Prosecco Bar provided for your refreshment
After the show, you are invited to join the ‘Afterparty’ for some cocktails above in the Tribeton Bar.
Tickets are €12 and can be purchased from Tribeton or from the Galway Designers Studio House, located in the Cornstore Mall.
They can also be purchased on the door for €15
Limited standing tickets available on the door for €7
Tickets get you a seat with goodie bag and 20% discount off any Tribeton food purchases
Limited Tickets Available!