Portland, Oregon based textile designer Rio Wrenn has a unique vision for lingerie, combining modern eco friendly materials and dying techniques, antique constructions and ethical manufacturing to create her line, R.A.W. “I started R.A.W. in 2007, which is inspired by vintage undergarments ranging from the 1800’s to the 1950’s to modern day,” says Rio. Her collection of corsets, bras and undies has a special look, and with the Summer and Autumn 2010 trend of exposed undergarments, she’s right on target with perfect base layers for style mavens and lingerie fans alike.
And not only is Rio a conscious creator of unique pieces, she’s an advocate for women’s bodies and all the curves that go with them, and explained that her corsets aren’t meant to be restrictive or to reshape a body (she’s a fan of hips especially). “Corsets are actually very therapeutic, they make you stand up straight! I think people have a bad vision of corsets, but I don’t make them to be oppressive, they should be comfortable and supportive,” she says.
Each piece in R.A.W.’s collection is also a work of art and are handmade in Portland. Rio is a visual artist, but found that fine art was often out of reach to many people; fashion is a way to take a creative project and make it more accessible, wearable and affordable, she says.
Rio uses some unusual dye techniques, even considering that they’re eco friendly, the most unique of which is using found rusty objects to impart color. “I’m pushing the boundaries of what people consider beautiful. The things I’m using are dirty, rusting, and things people wouldn’t consider putting on their clothing. [I enjoy] finding beauty in uncommon means.” She also uses plant dyes like hollyhock and roses, explaining, “I love nature and was always interested in the use of plants for medicinal healing, but probably the first thing that interested me in plants was using them as dyes.”