After having her first child, Danica Ryan found herself in an awkward limbo when it came to choosing fashion. There was no denying her body had changed and wouldn’t fit into the short dresses from her early twenties and shopping for her post-baby body was underwhelming at best, with the majority of clothes feeling quite frumpy.
Danica was taught how to sew when she was 10 years old and has taken courses to develop her skills which helped her move from fashion buyer to fashion designer.
“I’ve always been involved in fashion, to look and dress a certain way, but I found it really hard to find the clothing,” Danica said.
“Everything my age was really tight and short and not appropriate for my lifestyle with kids because I’m bending over all the time. So then, I created my label. I changed the fittings of the body measurements to try and suit a more curvy shape.
“I tried to create a balance between the two, I suppose that’s what’s really good about my collection is it reaches all ages because you can have quite younger girls wearing the pieces and older women wearing them as well and everyone feels the same – modern, fresh and glamorous.”
From the design to the customer feedback, Danica said she finds each part rewarding for its own reason.
“I think the design part is the most exciting,” she said.
“After that, it would be filling the orders and actually getting the customer’s response when they get the product and how excited they feel about it after struggling the way that I have. It makes it all feel worth it, that I’m not the only one that struggles.”
Danica comes from a buying background, so she has a real business focus when designing and making stock decisions.
“I’ve worked for a few national retailers, here and in Melbourne,” she said.
“From the buying side allocating the stock to designing the stock to buying the stock to monitoring the sales. So I brought that experience and pulled it over when creating my own business, so I guess if I didn’t have that ground knowledge and that base I probably wouldn’t have gone as far as I have.”
The majority of sales are done online, however, Danica has stockists in other states so her customers can try the dresses on.
Renew was the first thing that popped up when Danica started looking for affordable commercial spaces.
“I wanted to use the space more as a head office so that I could have meetings here and also use it as a showroom so if I did have customers who want to try things on they could,” she said.
“At the moment, I’m investing so much money into the business that I was running from home and I just found it was inconvenient to have customers come to your house to try things on so this was a perfect space. It is a great location in the city and opportunity to use for my business.”
While Revoque started as a passion project, highlighted by the needs of Danica herself, she doesn’t rely purely on her own instincts for her new season drops.
“I design everything myself but I do have a really good clientele listing that I bounce ideas off them and get a vibe for the sort of product they are looking for and needing,” she said.
“So it’s not just my taste but my customers’ tastes as well. I draw up the design details, get a pattern made and go into production once the prototype is correct.”
Danica recently launched luxury dressing gowns to extend the feeling of glamour to the getting ready portion of the evening but the key part of the business is the dresses.
“I keep the same fabric throughout my entire collection,” she said.
“What that does is it keeps consistency with the product so the customer knows exactly what they are getting. I think it’s hard when you go to retailers and they change. You’ve got a favourite dress or favourite piece that you love and you go to buy a colour and they’ve changed the fabric and it doesn’t fit right and doesn’t look right.”
Danica feels passionate about all the pieces she makes for Revoque but is excited for her next design drop coming late-winter.
“I’m really excited about, I feel like it’s going to take the business to the next level because it’s got a little bit more of a sexier edge to it,” she said.
“So I think my clientele might go a bit younger for the next one.”
Words and images by Melissa Bermingham