From a signature bag to a namesake boutique—for Swedish-born Rika, a star is born. By Meredith Fisher
So many fashion tales start the same way: Stylist makes a bag for her friends, everyone starts asking where they can buy it. Suddenly, a label is born. And while Ulrika Lundgren's story may be familiar, her namesake label, Rika, is anything but formulaic. "The first collection of bags I did were handmade by a saddle-maker in Spain," recalls Ulrika. "And it was such a success with my friends—a mix of stylists and models—I developed the ready-to-wear collection shortly after."
Now, six years later, the clothing range is carried at some of the coolest shops around the world (Colette in Paris and Brown's in London, to name a few). And perhaps, most newsworthy, she's just opened her first stand-alone boutique in Amsterdam this year, and her signature bags have become instantly recognizable thanks to her trademark star patterns. "I'm not sure where the star came from," the designer admits. "But [I guess] it's always been my signature because it's decorative and natural."
That sentiment is also extended to the designer's selection of materials and her commitment to the environment—in addition to using natural materials in Rika's clothing, none of the leather bag are chemically treated and they also don't use any glue in the production. "We also don't use plastic bags in the production studio," she says. "When people care more about their work environment, they will work and communicate better."
Naturally, the Rika look is a direct reflection of the designer's personal style. "I design what I want to wear for next season, and specifically for a girl who is looking for a feminine edge." For spring, that means pairing a lavender dress with a rock-chic leather belt, and toting a tough black leather purse by a delicate gold chain. Looking forward to fall, the Rika girl gets a soft touch from baby camel wool and furry sheepskins in classic tones of black, cream, and blue.
But even though stars are so of-the-moment, Ulrika doesn't plan on getting caught up in trends. "Stars are really in the air right now," she says. "But for Rika, they'll stay that way."
Rika is available at Butik, 605 Hudson Street, New York City; 212-367-8014 and at Maxfield, 8825 Melrose Avenue, Los Angeles; 310-274-8800.
From a signature bag to a namesake boutique—for Swedish-born Rika, a star is born.