Riina has a degree in leather art and accessories design – specialising in hand-stitched leather gloves from the Estonian Academy of Arts. She started her career working for high-end designers in London and furthered her studies at Central Saint Martins. Riina Õun launched her brand Riina O in 2013.
Riina O hand crafts luxury leather gloves using a combination of traditional techniques and modern technological advantages. Riina O gloves are made to measure for the perfect fit. The brand sources ethical, high-quality materials sourced within Europe. All of their accessories are made in their London studio. Riina O gloves have been showcased during London Fashion Week in collaboration with designers such as Mariana Jungmann, Matthew Miller and Jean-Pierre Braganza, to name a few.
SODS are very proud to represent Riina O, we got to get to know Riina a little bit better;
Why did you decide to join SODS?
It is a great new platform featuring some fantastic designs, it’s an honour to be part of it. Riina O would like to bring the luxurious made to measure leather gloves to more people around the world.
When did you know you wanted to become a designer and what influenced you to pursue your dream?
When I was 17 I got a “vision” of a beautiful and rather extraordinary pair of summer shoes. The image in my thoughts would not leave me, so I had to find a way to create them – with some help of a local shoe factory, this pair of shoes was made. The following year, after high school, I enrolled to study Leather Art and Accessories Design at the Estonian Academy of Arts. I simply had to take the creative path professionally, as not pursuing my dream would have meant not being truthful to myself.
Where do you go for inspiration when creating a new collection?
Inspiration comes to me through the world around me, or the research I stumble upon naturally. I often find inspiration from vintage styles, architecture, nature, art and filmography.
What is your proudest moment in your career as a designer?
There are a few – probably getting commissioned to make a pair of gloves for the well-known Hollywood actress Whoopi Goldberg; participating in the hand prosthetics collaboration project with the Hands of X team, showcased at Cooper Hewitt Design Museum in New York, and getting invited to teach my glove making workshop around the world from New York to Hangzhou in China.
If you didn’t become a designer, what kind of career path would you chose?
As a kid I dreamt of becoming an astronaut, being the first woman on the moon.
More realistically though, perhaps a writer. I have many exciting and extraordinary travel stories to tell and would like to share them with the world one day, to inspire people to leave their “safety bubble” of home and explore the world out there.
Is there any fashion trends, old or new, that you would want to bin for good?
Fashion trends are fickle by their character, so there is no need to bin them –
they bin and recycle themselves frequently.
If you were to collaborate with another brand, who would want to work with and why?
My dream collaboration would have been with Alexander McQueen when he was alive – his imagination was absolutely groundbreaking. But I am always open for collaborations as this is a great way to mix ideas.
One of our most recent collaborations has been with the robotics maker Helen Leigh, with whom we created a leather covered unicorn robot, controlled with a microchipped long leather glove.
Photographer: Irina Chira
Model: Cristina Samohvalov, BAME
MUA: Peyton Yoder