Do not under-estimate 18 year old Rhiannon Jones; she may be young and she may not have a swanky masters degree behind her but my god is she determined. After being asked to leave school at the tender age of 15 when her teachers objected to the way she dressed, Rhiannon packed up and moved to the big smoke where she subsequently launched her career as a fashion designer under the name, ‘Bolshie.’ Now two years on, Bolshie has officially invaded the fashion world with wild wacky prints and structurally shaped garments, all designed and made by Rhiannon herself, in her east end studio.
After catching sight of the glittery gold watch jacket at our preview shoot earlier this month, I just couldn’t wait to meet the girl behind this revolutionary fashion label. Presenting today in Vauxhall Fashion Scout exhibition space at the Freemasons Hall, I finally got my chance…
Firstly, the question that’s on everyone’s minds… where did the name ‘Bolshie’ come from?
Describing my ‘bolshie’ rebellious personality, it was a nickname my mum gave me as a kid and it kind of just stuck! It’s a phrase that isn’t really used that much by today’s generation but it comes from the word ‘Bolshevik,’ a political party during the Russian revolution.
Tell me a bit about your SS ‘11 collection: Where did you get your inspiration from?
The way I design normally happens quite subconsciously; I don’t really notice the reason why I have chosen to create a specific design until I’ve done it! For example, on some of the printed pieces from my latest collection I have illustrations of Heinz food tins: I didn’t really know why I started drawing them, until I realised that I’ve been surviving on baked beans for the last few months! It’s quite a random process but there is meaning behind it.
Print has always been a big part of the Bolshie label so I have developed on that a lot more, creating hand drawn illustrations of Coca Cola baby-bottles and guns with a lipstick barrel, printed onto patent leather jackets and cropped baggy t-shirts.
Since my last collection, I have grown, become wiser and more aware of the business, so for this season I decided to create a few more wearable pieces and also some specifically for men, to broaden my market.
Do you have a favourite piece from your new collection?
Definitely - It has got to be the XL gold ‘Big Ben’ headpiece!
This is your first season exhibiting with Vauxhall Fashion Scout… How has it gone so far?
I have had quite a lot of interest from press, which has been great!
And I am just really happy and thankful to be part of Vauxhall Fashion Scout this season and am hoping that being involved will make people take me a bit more seriously.
I’ve spotted you at quite a few of the Vauxhall Fashion Scout shows this week: has there been any that has really stood out to you?
I really liked Bunmi Koko’s show. There was a lot of colourful African prints and a model dressed in a giant pom-pom dancing around the runway… It was something really different and the designer had real guts to put on such a bold display, which I really respect.
And finally, what are your plans once London Fashion Week is over?
I have A LOT of plans. Firstly I am going to go over to Paris to meet a few buyers over there. I also would like to see my pieces stocked in Japan: I think the label will do really well over there and I just love their whole street style culture. But I guess my main aim for now is to build up a really strong fan following to the label.
Well Rhiannon, you can definitely add me to your proposed list of fans!
Eccentric, fun and quirky just like the clothes she creates… we want to party with this girl!
For more information please visit Bolshie's website or take a trip to Machine-A in Soho to buy a Bolshie original now!
Words: Sarah Barlow
Illustrations: Vic Riches
Photography: Nicole Trundle
Photography: Nicole Trundle