GetAttachment.aspx2Ria Rose, Lakisha White and Arayner Mcdonald are the south London trio behind up and coming clothing brand Harlequinn LRA. Increasing awareness of the Sickle Cell Society was their motivation for entering the ACS Kings & Queens inter university beauty pageant. Here they tell us why.

Why did you enter ACS Kings and Queens?
The main reason for entering was solely to help and support the whole awareness of sickle cell and trying to get as much people involved to support the cause. Not enough people donate and give blood nowadays, as their either too scared or too embarrassed to help the organisation to help it grow stronger and develop.

What are your thoughts on the event?
We all think the events good as it gives people a chance to show their skills talents, but most importantly it gives others a chance to be a part of a growing organisation, which is for a successful cause

How would you describe the style of the clothes you make?
It varies; sometimes we base our range on particular themes and trends. But what we have noticed is that we have an ongoing pattern of our colours being bold and exciting, for some strange reason we don’t like to be bland and hidden. Blocks of colour is usually what our range is made of

How would you describe your personal style?
As were a team of three, it’s funny how our individual styles are completely different. Ria; likes her patterns and vibrant colours and never seems to be colour co-ordinating. Lakish; loves her textile look and surface decoration, shes got such a very vintage style. Ria and lakishas look always has the messy feel to it. Then you have Arayner; who is prim and proper, loves perfection and adores the tailored fit to her clothes

If you could pick a famous model to wear your clothes who would it be and why?
I know it sounds very obvious, but it would have to be Tyra Banks, her presence is outstanding. Even on the catwalk, her aura makes you want to look at her and the clothes she has on. Also she’s curvy, so she will just give them and extra boost.

How did you get into fashion?
We all started from a young age, mainly by seeing our family members either knitting or dressmaking. Secondary school times maybe even younger, but we met up in college where we studied Fashion and Clothing and from then we knew that doing fashion was our passion

What makes your designs stand out from the rest?
Because there’s three of us it makes designing our clothes so much easier, as we have different ideas for theme or approach. But, I think it would be our use of colour and use of cuts. We’re not scared to push ourselves to another level or to take that risk, even if we think someone may not like it. Because that’s what fashion is at the end of the day, it’s all about pushing your limit to what you can really do. What’s the point in being scared

Who is your favourite designer and why?
Oh gosh!! There’s too many, every designer is bringing out something great all the time… But, if we had to choose one. It may have to be Vivienne Westwood; she did basically what we’re doing now, pushing boundaries. All of her clothes have that rebel appeal to them; she doesn’t follow trends or let them control her. She does what she KNOWS!

Are their works reflected in your designs?
Yes!!! I know it sounds ignorant but you got to do what you feel is best at the time and when we design we feel like our clothes will always appeal to people whether it’s on trend or not and that’s what Vivienne Westwood does… she has that rebel quality.

Do you have a muse?
Life is our muse. Everyday experiences… you can make a good garment/ outfit by just looking out of the window or just walking down the street and just thinking… yeah! I’m going to make a garment based on that. Its surreal, but true.

What is most challenging about your work?
Getting our garments made in a batch, we don’t get them industrially made. We all personally sew each garment. It’s quite hard to get bundles of outfits made for an enormous amount. But we get it done and it pays off in the end and knowing that we made it makes it that much personal to us as a team

GetAttachment.aspxWhat are some of the perks of being a fashion designer?
You get to make your own clothes; believe it or not you save so much money not buying from retail stores. You also know, that no one will be wearing what you have, so you feel that much special and unique

If you weren’t designing clothes, what would you like to be doing?
Lakisha: I would be a fashion buyer or seller.

Ria: I would be doing music producing.

Arayner: Strangely enough I would actually be a lawyer.

What is favorite music to listen to when you are working on a garment?
Ria and lakisha: nothing but house music, soulful house to be exact. That music puts you on a high on to a different planet

Arayner: either hiphop, grime or RnB.

What are your favorite hobbies? Apart from making clothes… the usual. Spending time with the friends and family nothing can beat that.

Tell me about the contestants/students that you are working with to win the competition?
The students are really great. They both go to Hertfordshire University. When we met them they were so open minded about what we could design for them, it was a breath of fresh air to know that they were so free about what they wanted

What can we expect to see at the ACS Kings and Queens event?
Something REALLY different, were trying to focus on something that hasn’t been done before, so, were hoping to wow the crowd

What would it mean to you if you won?
Everything. Winning would mean that were doing something right and were progressing as a team. Not only, would it be good to win, but it would just be nice for more people to see what were about as designers.

What’s your end goal in the fashion industry?
It’s every designers dream to get big and earn loads of money. But for us it would just be just good if we knew that people was just out there, wearing our clothes. Not only in London, or England, but all over the world. That’s our main highlight.

Do people recognize your designs?
Most people do, they notice the odd shapes that we create and our outlandish colours

Describe your philosophy about the art of fashion?
Fashion is life. It’s another game that we’re sucked into. Everybody trying to have the best “swagger” and then having that title of winning. It’s a fun game and we play it well

What do you love most about fashion?
The creativity. You either love it or hate it. It’s another Marmite. Not everyone will like what you design and that’s ok. Because time will move on like it always does and the ones who didn’t like it then will then like it at a later date.

What do you think about fashion industry?
As long as you have a firm head on you and you believe in yourself that’s all that matters. Many designers don’t come on to the fashion scene guns blazing; it takes time and hard work. Everybody needs setbacks to make them a stronger person

What’s the best piece of advice you’ve been given?
You’ve been given that key to open doors, so use it and stop being hidden in one room



After months of preparation the 8 African Caribbean Society university finalists shall display decorum as they compete to be crowned ACS King and Queen 2010 on the 20th June 2010.

This spectacular night shall also unveil 8 exceptionally creative African Caribbean fashion designers who have been paired off with our 8 ACS universities to produce an exclusive innovative piece that will be debuted and showcased on the night courtesy of the university they are working with.

This event is supported by Flavour Magazine with the winning female contestant winning a place in the final of Miss Flavour 2010.

Harlequinn LRA have been paired with Hertfordshire university
hertfordhire uni



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