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We Are All In One: The return of the jumpsuit

Contributor Sally Mumby-Croft catches up with Nina Ribena, jumpsuit extraordinaire to find out how she became known as ‘the onesie girl’!

Written by Sally Mumby-Croft

Polka Lace copy Image courtesy of All In One, photographed by Stephanie Sian Smith.

What attracts you to the idea of the onesie jumpsuit / all in one?
I just think they’re pretty unusual and fun to wear – and when you find an amazing one you just look mega cool.

How did you develop your idea into a business? From your blog you’ve sold to a variety of people from Burning Man and bankers to vitamin water and a variety of performers including Totally Enormous Extinct Dinosaurs.
A friend of mine had a blue jellyfish sting protection suit that she’d nicked when she went diving in Australia. When I saw it I instantly fell in love and commandeered it as my festival outfit for the next few years! I soon built up a collection of these suits and got a bit of a reputation as being ‘the onesie girl’ – when the festivals finished I realised that there were hardly any all-in-one’s out there that I could just wear normally. So I started making my own – it kind of seemed natural for me to just start my own business making things which I love. Now, I sell a mixture of my own work and custom costume designs.

African One copyAbove and all images below courtesy of All In One, photographed by Dan Wilton.

What would you say is Nina Ribena’s design aesthetic?
Massive hoods.

Who or what are your design inspirations?
I’m hugely inspired by the circus. I just got a massive book of old circus photos for Christmas, which is a great reference for one-piece related costumes. I really love bright, crazy, repeat patterns. I love Brian Lichtenberg, Cassette Playa, JCDC and Jeremy Scott’s work…and I would say M.I.A is quite a big inspiration (probably because she wears quite a lot of the aforementioned designer’s clothes!). I love the whole 90′s revival that’s happening at the moment as well, I can’t get enough of tacky gold jewellery and R Kelly.

originals3 copyWhat materials do you particularly like to work in/with?
The majority of my designs are in cotton jersey or anything with a bit of stretch to it. I’ve also been working with PVC quite a lot recently – I quite like the sculptural qualities it can have.

What do onesie’s make you think of?
Fun. Stretching. A good night out. Grace Jones.

all in one .01 (5 of 1) copyHow would you describe your creative process?
I am super organised in some ways and a complete mess in others. So, I usually spend my time trawling the Internet looking through fashion blogs and pulling out anything that catches my eye – this can be anything from London Fashion Week to Where the Wild Things Are to Cheryl Cole. Then I go through them all and decide the themes, that I want to work within – which usually end up being about 7 or 8 different things. I’ll draw some ideas and designs down and then just make the ones I like the most. I’ve never studied fashion – I’m completely self-taught, so I don’t have the ‘correct’ way of designing a collection mastered, at all.

What’s been your favourite appearance of your onesie so far?
I think it has to be the one I made for Fred Butler recently. I.D Magazine are running a feature of 100 portraits of creative/influential people – Fred Butler being one of them – and she asked me to make her an amazing holographic inspired all in one for the shoot. The photos were taken by Nick Knight for his SHOWstudio project so you could watch the whole shoot live on their website. So yeah, my design will be in I.D Magazine, shot by a famous photographer and worn by a really talented designer. Definitely my favourite onesie appearance!

blue african trim copyWith Fashion Week slowly creeping up on us which designers will you be watching out for?
I’ve always been really interested in Gareth Pugh’s work – especially his last collection – I thought everything from the clothes to the lighting and feel of the catwalk just looked amazing. I always like to check out the new designers supported by Fashion East/ Vauxhall Fashion Scout etc…it’s always good to study the sort of designers who win these opportunities.
Aside from that – House of Holland, Ashish, Givenchy, Pam Hogg, Viktor & Rolf, Mark Fast and Jeremy Scott, of course. He always make things a bit more interesting!

As a holder of a blog – what are your thoughts on the blogging ‘sphere’?
I think it’s really important to have a blog if you’re a designer. Just having an online shop or website doesn’t really cut it these days. I think the people who buy your clothes (and are ultimately fans of your work) want to have more of an insight into your creative processes and the things that inspire you. Plus it’s a brilliant way to network with people and get your work out into the open. I wouldn’t have had half of the opportunities or ideas I’ve had without having access to all the blogs out there.

all in one .01 (3 of 5) copyWhat’s next for Nina Ribena?
Lots. I’m really enjoying printing my own fabric at the moment so you can expect to see a lot of zebras, puffins and multi-coloured leopard skin prints making appearances on my designs soon! I want to bring out my own line of leggings and a friend and me have just started our own dance/club night collective.
I’m also planning an exhibition of all my designs to be shown at the end of the year, which is going to involve a mixture of fashion, art and theatrics – all in onesies, of course. It’s going to be a busy year!


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One Response to “We Are All In One: The return of the jumpsuit”

  1. great article – i will look for some of her designs to ad to my site!
    Over 600 photos of celebrities in unitards & jumpsuits. Sexy, funny, vintage, kitchy & lots of fashion

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