DANIELLE REYNOLDS ON DEVELOPING HER BRAND, DVR EQUESTRIAN SPORT

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DANIELLE REYNOLDS ON DEVELOPING HER BRAND, DVR EQUESTRIAN SPORT

We caught up with our graduate and winner of Barclays New Business Award from GFW16, Danielle Reynolds. The founder and director of DVR Equestrian Sport shares with us what Graduate Fashion Week meant for her career and the benefits of the year in the industry that allowed her to make important and long-lasting connections. The young entrepreneur also tells us how revenant for overcoming financial problems was taking advantage of competitions and entrepreneurial programs available. 

Which university did you attend, and what is the most valuable thing that you learnt?

I attended the University of Brighton studying Fashion Design with Business Studies. It is hard to put your finger on one aspect that was the most valuable, but I think it was a mixture of the manufacturing side (such as pattern cutting and sewing), time keeping, technical drawing and the business side of things in the final year was incredibly beneficial to me.

Tell us a bit more about your career journey.

My career journey started in my year out in the industry where I worked for designer Charli Cohen (another award winner from GFW). After interning with Charli, she offered me freelance work for after I graduate. This was part-time work I could do while preparing to launch my own brand (something Charli knew I always intended on doing). After winning the GFW Barclays New Business Award in 2016 I really wanted to push the idea and thought the collection would bring a wow factor to the launch of the brand. I carried on working on improving the designs and preparing for business further, but lack of funding was holding me back, so I applied for more competitions in 2017. Although I got nowhere in the DBACE Award, I placed 2nd in the University of Brighton Santander Ideas Award winning £1000 and a whole range of helpful business mentoring from different professionals.

After this, the Universities Alumni Entrepreneur Program ‘Bee Purple’ encouraged me to crowd fund to help launch the brand. I crowd funded via Kickstarter for 30 days in September 2017 and raised £10,000 to launch the brand. Our first products were live on the website that December, and it has been an absolute whirlwind from there with the brand steadily growing. I can’t believe it has already been more than a year since the Kickstarter!


How have you found life in the industry?

Life in the industry is great, my work with Charli is ever-changing and exciting, it also allows me to grow my skills in digital art and marketing; and Charli is also amazingly supportive in answering my questions when I get stuck on business matters for my own brand (such as working with overseas stockists). In terms of my own brand, the industry is slightly different being in the equestrian market, however, so far everyone I have met and worked with has been incredibly helpful and positive. 


“IT MAY BE HARD WORK, BUT YOU WON’T REMEMBER THAT BIT; DON’T GET TOO STRESSED OUT THAT YOU FORGET TO ENJOY THE EXPERIENCE.”


Do you explore any political, social or historical notions through your work? If so, what messages do you hope to convey?

Many of my designs are made in the amazing Italian mill that creates technical fabric from recycled fishing nets and other plastics. This is a mill I learned of through working with Charli; and the use of eco-fabrics is something I am incredibly passionate about, so this is very exciting for me. My long-term plan is to have 100% of my products made from recycled or eco-friendly fabrics. In terms of recycling, I am also passionate about ‘as little waste as possible’; our hat silks are made from the leftover fabric from our leggings and base-layers and customers get to take their products away in useful cloth tote bags rather than single-use packaging. I also offer unisex products, something very new to the equestrian-wear market.


Where are hoping to be in five years time?

In five years time the brand will have its own separate premises (rather than myself working from home). I’d like to have offices attached to a physical shop in the way that Finisterre’s head-quarters do (another eco-conscious brand that I interned for in my year out) with a growing team as passionate as me about the brand. I see the STYLE VIS collection growing in terms of styles, availability of a wider range of sizes and colours. Other Core collections will include the training collection (already available), but also competition-wear and lounge-wear with a focus on recycled fabrics. DVR is about a type of person and a lifestyle, so I would love to one day even branch into home-wears and gifts too. By then DVR will be available in a wide range of stockists as well as attending international events. 

Many say that the industry is undergoing a huge change, with sustainability, diversity and responsibility becoming huge themes? Do you have any opinions on these movements?

I completely agree, and I am hoping that by promoting the uses of recycled products and eco-friendly packaging will encourage competitors in my industry to consider these points more seriously too. In terms of responsibility, Charli and I regularly discuss what we didn’t learn at University that we’ve needed to know in terms of working in the industry, and this is something I am eager to pursue further in the future, through either practical ‘what you need to know for industry’ workshops or/and talking to university course leaders about what was missing. If not in these ways, I will definitely be taking on that responsibility in teaching the intern/apprentice that I am able to take on once the brand grows. 

Lastly, to any students that are reading this in admiration of your career - what advice would you give to the students hoping to showcase this year?

Showing at Graduate Fashion Week is such an incredible opportunity. I am yet to know whether displaying my designs in the form of a show is something I’ll ever do again, especially in a venue like that, and for many of us that is the case so enjoy every second! It may be hard work, but you won’t remember that bit, don’t get too stressed out that you forget to enjoy the experience. Also, it may all be a bit too fresh to feel then and there, but I promise you will feel so proud of yourself when looking back in years to come; and what a way to finish your degree with a bang!

Words by Eva Kubacka

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DANIEL RYNNE X DEBENHAMS

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Graduate Fashion Week alumnus from 2017, Daniel Rynne has finalised his collection for Debenhams, where he was working for the past year. The brand, known for supporting new design talent, announced Daniel’s ‘pop-up’ Autumn Winter 18 collection in September 2018. 

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From retail to marketing, photography to creative direction, the positions available in the industry are as varied as they are exciting. For the Inside View this week, we caught up with Rory James, Fashion, Portrait and Music Photographer. Published in Time Out, CLASH, Wonderland and more, he has been working with cultural icons since going freelance after a spell working in a London studio. From Emily Malice for his tattooist series to backstage at Ashish and Zandra Rhodes during London Fashion Week, Rory focuses on capturing the essence of popular culture, through music and fashion photography.

We caught up to hear more about shooting behind the scenes for Ivy Park, the liberating nature of freelance work, and how it felt flying to Sri Lanka to shoot the first Mercedes Benz Fashion Week there. Here, we find out why taking the time to get to know your subjects makes all the difference to the video, image and atmosphere of a shoot.

What is your job, and what does a normal day look like for you?

I’m a Freelance Photographer based in East London. It’s difficult to tell you about a normal day, as part of what I love about this job is that no two days are the same! A lot of time goes into planning shoots and projects. This can be anything from booking models and meeting with prospective clients to conceptualising my ideas and planning how to bring them into reality.

Why did you become a photographer?

Way back in college I wanted to study art but it became clear quite quickly that I had the ideas but none of the practical skills! So photography was for me a way to create things with a skill I already had. More recently, I went freelance as I love being able to choose when and who I work with. I don’t think I’d be very good in an office scenario! 

What achievements in your career so far, are you most proud of?


As a photographer who works in many disciplines, my proudest achievements are varied. Shooting backstage at London Fashion Week was a big one for me. Being around the work of such talented designers as Ashish Gupta and Zandra Rhodes. Having my work featured by publications such as CLASH and Wonderland and Time Out is always a confidence boost!

What did you study at university and how has this helped you?

I studied Commercial Photography at Arts University Bournemouth which is a fantastic course, that I would recommend to anyone. Doing a degree so heavily focused on the modern industry is invaluable and gives you the prior knowledge to manage all parts of life as a freelance photographer further than the creative, such as the financial and business side along with marketing your work properly. 

How did you decide to become a freelancer?

I worked for a bit of time in full time roles with prestigious photographers in their London studio, but decided that being freelance was the only way that gave me the freedom required to do this job well. It was tough at first, living in London with no guaranteed regular work but after a while, hard work and investment paid off! I would encourage any young creative to consider a freelance career path especially at a time when you’ve got nothing to lose and no major commitments. The current industry climate seems to be leaning this way with fewer full time photography contracts being handed out than ever.

What are the perks of the job?

The people. Every shoot I work with a varied group of people and as a portrait photographer, I take the time to get to know my subject whenever possible, in order for the photos to be personal to them and reflective of their personality.


How can a recent graduate or student gain experience in this area?

Assisting. Start assisting professional photographers as quickly as you can. I began at the beginning of my second year of uni and it gave me the experience and contacts I needed to go freelance quite soon after graduating. If you can’t assist them then ask them questions, get to know the people in the industry. It’s a small place but a few great chats here and there can go a really long way! 




Words and interview by Annabel Waterhouse-Biggins

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