The woman in the photo above is London clothing designer Lin Zhao, who opened her design studio, RYCE Fashion Designs Inc. on Richmond Street in 2011. I discovered Zhao's designs on my way home from work one day last summer when a purple dress she had in the window caught my eye. When I went in the store, I saw that Zhao was wearing the same dress, only in white. We ended up having a lovely conversation about her designs, which have clean lines, but incorporate unique detailing such as a tuck or a pleat in an unexpected place, or a drawstring so that the shape of a jacket's collar can be changed. The pants and jacket she is wearing are her own design and are an example of a basic piece with an unusual shape
Zhao, originally from Beijing, came to Canada in 1998. She is a graduate of the Dalian University for the Arts and Fashion Design, and her designs are carried in 300 stores across Canada. Zhao produces two lines each year and each line consists of dresses, tops, pants and jackets. She designs each piece, creates the pattern, chooses the fabric and the garments are finished by local seamstresses. She also sells beautiful cashmere sweaters in gorgeous colours, and bags and shoes (not her designs).
Zhao keeps a sale rack of items that are as much as 75% off, which often has some amazing gems like this black summer dress that I picked up last year. The bodice and skirt are relatively plain, but it was the gathered collar that caught my eye, and when you wear the dress, the collar stands up to frame your face.
I purchased this dark purple jacket from Zhao this past fall. The fabric has a sheen to it although you can't tell in the photo, and there is a drawstring in the back of the jacket as well as around the collar. The bracelet sleeves made it a good layering piece over sweaters when it wasn't cold enough for a heavy coat.
If you haven't stopped by Zhao's store, it is definitely worth a visit. RYCE Fashion Design Inc. is located at 495 Richmond Street, Suite 2, and is open 7 days a week. For more information and to view Zhao's designs, visit her website here.