A San Diego Song

I first came across Natalie Rae Richardson in 2010, her graduate year. It was the coldest day Manchester had seen that year (I remember because it was so cold I contemplated buying one of those hats that make you look as though your face is being mauled by a cheap stuffed animal, you know the one.) So I’d ducked into the closest Nero to warm up and pulled out a copy of Pigeons and Peacocks from my bag while I sat at my tiny table and waited for my festive Panini.

I scanned through the pages reading the odd article and checking out the LCF talent when I saw a blouse…and then a jacket…and I was in awe. I’ve always enjoyed embroidering, although it’s never been a strong skill, and I really do love a good fur (although I’m a bit tetchy about actually wearing it), so what I saw brought such a sparkle to my miserable day…

Behold, Natalie Rae Richardson’s Graduate collection…

Am I right? Does it not just make you so happy?
When I turned 17 and realised (late) that I could actually study fashion, I applied to study on a BTEC course in the city and the same day went out and spent all my savings on my first sewing machine and tought myself how to sew.
Natalie Rae Richardson was given her first sewing machine for her 13th Birthday and tought herself to construct garments from patterns…at 13! Now I realise in the past couple of years we’ve had 13 year olds on red carpets, 13-year-old super bloggers, hell we even have 11-year-old musicians (awesome Willow Smith), but these mega tots are a new breed, or so i thought! Then I learn about Natalie Rae and I see they’re not so new, perhaps there were just fewer, further between? Either way the girl is impressive!

The graduate collection was “based on my ideas about animal rights and, in particular, using embroidery as an alternative to fur.”
Hell did she get it right. That beautiful, heavy embroidery on the casual, American shapes just seemed so refreshing. It gets to winter in England and it’s too easy to find strict tailored tweeds and deep jewel tones. Don’t get me wrong, I love the British heritage look but on a cold day when you’re sniffling and praying for a way out, you need something like Natalie Rae’s oversized, over-delicious jackets in the page of a magazine to get you through!

I tend to avoid conversations on politics because if I’m completely honest, I don’t know enough of it, and I can’t stand those people who have an opinion on everything just for the sake of it! However, a little soft politics I can handle, a wee war on fur, fine, a strictly ethical company here and there, well it can only being doing the world good, right? so why not! And Natalie Rae is a very ethical girl, “That means Fair Trade manufacturing practices as well as organic fabrics, including wool, silk and hemp.” Could she be any dreamier?

In the 2 years since her graduate collection first had me floating around Manchester full of new hope for a brighter, not so damn frosty tomorrow, I’ve been very busy…trying to keep up to date with her bound-to-be-brilliant career. And the lady herself has been busy building her label and coming up with these stunning follow-ups…

Not bad at all eh? Inspiration for the SS12 collection came in thick with Mexican influences, drawing on the Hispanic culture of San Diego, Natalie Rae’s home town, and the Hispanic friends and family she grew up with.
And how about AW12? wanna see?

Home really is where the heart is for Natalie Rae. Of her mother’s home back in the states – aswell as the AW12 colour palette – she says “Her house is full of French carpets, heavy curtains, romantic paintings in rococo gold frames. Lots of burgundy, dark wood and sage.”
She also took motifs from the patterned curtains and frames around the house, and with regards to the retro silhouettes, it seems her mother had something to do with those too, “she’s a child of the 70s,” says Natalie Rae.

All in all, Natalie Rae Richardson seems to be ‘a good girl’ as my mammy would say with all sincerity. From her business ethics to the love she has for her mother, it is hard to recognise this woman with her down to earth attitude and genuine passion for the skills she has mastered as anything but a magician, and future great in the Industry she chose.

Check out Natalie Rae Richardson yourself by following the link below and to purchase any of her pieces check out the stockist page here at OnTheHunt!

All quotes found in this article were sourced from http://www.natrae.com/ 
With photos from http://showtime.arts.ac.uk/natalierae 

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