OM: Your designs are very creative. The presentation on your website is superb. As a designer, I know you have a next stage in production. What’s your next challenge? Where do you see yourself in the 5- years?
RANNKA: Thank you very much! Ultimately, I’d love to make my handmade process more transparent to the public in a brick and mortar workshop. Online presence is great as it is available to everyone. To be honest, I still find it fascinating that someone from New Zealand or Malta can wear Rannka. But, I imagine a magical place – Rannka studio where people are able to see the very process from start to finish and be able to participate in creation as well. I already have a layout in my head; an open concept where an item is created and then displayed and available right away. A work gallery that offers an interactive way of shopping. An item produced in such a way becomes a memory, thus has a greater value – Rannka’s solution to mass production in a way.
OM: We agree! That would be wonderful to see. We hope your dream comes true! How do you currently produce and distribute your designs?
RANNKA: The process of dressmaking is different from the rest of art and design in a way that a piece of fabric is much more than a blank canvas. It already comes with texture, color and weight. All I do is pick up from there and create on spot. Instead of a pencil for sketching, I hold scissors and dig into it immediately. I love three-dimensional construction, so I create on mannequin pretty much all the time. Rannka distribution is of an organic nature, word of mouth, social media, and Rannka’s website. I think I was lucky to have had people approach me instead of the other way around. And this is what I believe and tell to everyone starting out. If you have a story and you work hard, people will come to see it eventually.
OM: If you build it, they will come. Apparently, this model has worked! How do you handle stress, with the huge interest in your work?
RANNKA: Oh! That’s a good question. I don’t think I’ll ever be able to learn to be stress free because I care too much and Rannka for me is very personal. But if you think of it, in 21st century, we somehow managed to make everything stressful. I guess balance and control is a key to a healthy work flow. But, I’m still learning
OM: What is your most memorable design challenge?
RANNKA: There must be ton of them. Designing the first interior for the club back in my hometown of Kosjerić was fascinating. Imagine dozens of people doing what they were told by your drawings. And then imagine a real 3-dimensional space coming to life from it. I loved it! My first sleeve construction too. I was so excited because never before have I created clothing. I like trying new things and I like the creative challenge. Repetition bores me. I find excitement in new forms of creating, and I rarely stick to one for longer than a year – except for Rannka. I think there is so much to explore there. Perhaps it will open up a new window of expression to end users, rather than just designers.
EDITOR’S NOTE: Kosjerić is a town and municipality in Western Serbia. The municipality has 12,090 inhabitants, but the town itself has 3,992. (Wikipedia)
OM: What’s the process in choosing the environmental effects of the colors and prints for your collection?
RANNKA: I love this question! You have to be educated to recognize and to understand what is and what is not environmental in today’s world. At some point labels such as organic, environmental and vegan became trendy and misused in many ways. But it’s actually very simple – if you, in any way, hurt anyone or anything in a process, it is not good. That’s it. Rannka products take time, but at least I know I’m making something available that is not hurting anyone. Rannka is handmade, created from passion and love vs cheap labor and toxic materials or ingredients. I shop locally and create all that I can by hand. I use a lot of natural ingredients in dyes. The fabrics are natural, the leather is non-animal or recycled. Rannka fur did not skin any animal in order to produce a piece of cloth. It’s a process and I think the most important of all is to become aware of an impact you’re creating – from packaging to paper marketing and to the product itself.
OM: Very eco-friendly. We love this about Rannka! Your brand is raw, edgy, and eclectic. People are drawn to that look. How has the experience been in the industry?
RANNKA: Thank you! Rannka is not seasonal. I don’t think I yet fit into the pattern very well. I produce and create when I want and what I want vs spring and summer and winter collections, fast fashion, high fashion and so on. And also, the industry is mostly vanity-oriented. It has no meaning, other than material value. But the good news is more people are recognizing that there are stuff available out there that are different; thanks to the internet these items can be found. Additionally, there are plenty of designers that I think share my point-of-view, and I believe things may be in for a change soon.
OM: How do you encourage a customer to form an emotional attachment to your designs?
RANNKA: You cannot force anyone to be drawn to anything unless you’re being completely honest. That’s why handmade is so important to me. If people recognize that in my work, they tend to carry on the passion from the creating to actual wearing. In my ideal world, I see Rannka individuals being fierce and smart and rebellious and of their own opinion and above all creative people who like expressing their own individuality and thinking with their own heads.
OM: Awesome answer. We hope we can showcase a Rannka collection in a future shoot. Tell us, how do you think your education has prepared you to work in industry?
RANNKA: It taught me how to use the tools, and it taught me skills, that’s all. Except for that one professor, he taught me how to use my head and how to step outside of a box. When you’re in school, you’re bursting out of ideas and the world seems small and easy to change. You want to conquer it all and become a revolutionary. Soon after you graduate you’re faced with the real world and things become tougher. The key is not to loose that child self, silliness and energy, but somehow put it into good use.
OM: Great advice. Which leads us to ask how do you handle conflict?
RANNKA: Ha! I count to ten, and try be as polite as possible. Every problem has a solution, it’s just a matter of how much are we willing to compromise. The conflict usually arises out of misunderstanding so, a good communication should work a magic.
OM: Many top design houses use people to promote their products. Do you use brand ambassadors to promote and sell your designs?
RANNKA: Not really. I’m very particular when it comes to presentation, and I’m very demanding (not much of a team player). But I’m open to it and I’d love to be doing it more in future as well as collaborations.
OM: We hope so, and count us in for featuring your apparel in our shoots. With that said, based upon your personal experience, would you change any of your previous choices?
RANNKA: Always! I’d skip my shy beginnings and dive into the big picture right away.
OM: We truly enjoyed interviewing your for our premiere issue. I know our readers will enjoy learning more about Rannka. Do you have any words of encouragement for aspiring designers?
RANNKA: It’s easy to get caught up in work and ideas. I’ve started too many things and wrote down too many concepts for what I believed would be ground breaking and the best thing I ever done; only to wake up the next morning and go – naaah, not so good. But by keep doing it you learn to distinguish and recognize the message you want to get across. So, work and dedication is by all means necessary. If you truly love what you do and if you’re trembling in passion when doing it, you’re already on the right path. Just keep doing what you’re doing no matter what.