Ricochet is one of those New Zealand fashion brands most millennials might remember for its signature collections, finding its peak era in the late 90s and early 2000s.
It is an androgynous aesthetic inspired by Japanese references and youth culture distilled into fingerless gloves, edgy tops, or an asymmetrical skirt-over-trousers look; Y2K style but with a distinctively dark, New Zealand bent.
Since it launched in 1993, the brand has been reimagined through the eyes of various lead designers, drawing into the origins of the brand’s design ethos of directional tailoring, deconstructed silhouettes, and sporty casual wear, and evolving it to suit the market at any given time.
Its current incarnation is seen through the eyes of Richard Huang, an Auckland-based creative who, along with modelling, styling and creative direction, has maintained the brand’s aesthetic while giving it a contemporary point of view. Richard also designs for its sister brand Gregory, another local staple known for its sophisticated take on womenswear.
Having worked on both brands in the past, it’s been particularly interesting for me to see how they’ve evolved into the slick labels they have become with the help of Richard’s vision.
Keeping his creative spirit alive, the AUT design graduate also works part-time as a stylist and model, along with a side hobby of finding rare design gems, furniture and objects via his 6C/11 Store, which makes this stylish multi-disciplinary designer the perfect candidate for our Style Liaisons series. Here, he shares his personal approach to style, including self-portraits of his personal styling with photographer Hōne Naera-Scott.
Describe your personal style.
A mixture of hyper-masculine with a touch of femininity.
What does style mean to you?
Being comfortable and feeling my best.
What designers are you drawn to?
My favourite designers right now are Dion Lee and Casey Cadwallader, the creative director of Mugler. Their designs marry traditional tailoring with experimental construction, and they make sexy designs that are not only fluid but also architectural and sculptural. I am obsessed!
Tell us about your favourite item of clothing.
An oversized white shirt.
What are your early memories of style?
I do remember my mum was obsessed with fashion and jewellery when I was young. She was constantly buying new stuff every week. She always asked me for my opinion and sometimes I would style her. It was fun to see her love for fashion.
What do you wear when you want to feel your best?
What kind of accessories are you drawn to when it comes to putting your own look together?
Earrings will definitely make my outfit feel complete.
Tell us about what your day-to-day role involves and what you like about the job as a creative person.
As a fashion designer, my job is very hands-on and involves a lot of designing, pattern-making, and working with toiles. One of the things I love about my work is that I work with a small team, which means I get to be involved in every stage of the fashion process. This gives me a lot of creative freedom and control over the end product, which is something I’m very grateful for.
Overall, my day-to-day role is focused on bringing my creative vision to life and making sure that every detail of the design is executed flawlessly. Whether I’m working on a new collection or refining an existing design, I’m always striving to create something that is unique, beautiful, and true to my own personal style.
Where do you find inspiration when it comes to designing?
I generally look to sources unrelated to fashion for inspiration, including furniture, architecture, interior design and art. But I do love looking at historical garments and vintage clothes to learn more about construction and finishing.
As a designer and creative, what do you think fashion could be doing better right now?
Fashion could be so much better without social media and the internet right now, in my personal opinion. I feel that people would be more inspired by each other if they were able to gather together and spend time in person, rather than simply following trends and influencers online.
I believe that fashion is more authentic and personal when it is inspired by culture, music, and the city, rather than simply following popular trends. I feel that people’s unique styles are a reflection of their personal experiences and inspirations and that this is something to be celebrated.
What’s the best piece of advice anyone ever gave you?
Mum always says to me, “Everything happens for a reason.”
What is your personal approach to grooming? What products do you find reliable and work for you?
I love to take care of my skin and learn about products. I try to keep it as simple and clean as I can. I do a deep clean at night, but usually just splash my face with cold water when I wake up. One of my favourite skincare products right now is The Ordinary’s hyaluronic acid and it really works on my skin.
What does a quiet moment like look for you?
I will grab a coffee and go for a long walk in the morning.