Exclusive: LE PARADOX meets Ria Dunn


In the reign of abandoned things, you need a particular intelligence to look at the ideas buried by the ruins of time and bring to light unborn thoughts. Ria Dunn, creator of the label Lost Found Ria Dunn, has the ability to pick up with her own hands dusty memories, rediscovering their forgotten meaning, to transform it into aseasonal and refined clothes through extremely innovative techniques and finishings. With focus, her gaze travels through past and future, carefully interpretating traditions and working it with experimental suggestions. A raw instinctiveness drives the meeting of these different temporalities with a, tactile, material, approach full of feelings that you can actually perceive in the end garment. She re-shapes fabric and construction, respecting their history and tracing for them a visionary and ephemeral future, which takes place in the daily life of the wearer.

Ria, how do you describe your own idea of “time” ?
Time is Fleeting.
There is never enough of it… and it all goes so fast….
Im not quite in harmony with this concept yet… but i’ll get there.

What kind of relationship you have with our contemporary society?
It is a love and hate dynamic. I love people, I love a lot of the things that we have the potential to create…. But often I’m extremely disappointed by the things we actually do achieve, or more precisely do not achieve, as a whole.

I suppose “contemporary society” would be like an old friend that i see from time to time… It is important for me to hear what this “friend“ has to say… the newness, the developments. I think it is really important to know what is happening around the world, whether it be art, politics, culture etc…. But at the same time, I often feel the need to be away from so much information.. so many people, and so many mixed up ideas.
I return back to my simple place.. where I enjoy my family and my studio in the middle of no where.., my garden and things that are more basic.

In the age of mechanical reproduction, What does innovation mean to you?
Innovation is really about working around typical boundaries I think. Understanding something completely enough to be able to approach it in a totally different way and to push through an evolution of that idea.

Could you explain how your thoughts and emotions imbue fabrics; how they physically evolve into real and functional objects…
Quite simply I follow the sensations that I have.. it is an instinctive process.. Do I want to create warmth… lightness… contrast.. do I want to create a particular sound when one walks? And often there is not a lot of sense in the beginning. I go through a lot of tests of the base fabrics. I experiment with different weaving techniques and different materials. I then dye and experiment with the finishings… until I have arrived to where I can really feel the story.. When the fabric speaks that much, the creation of the objects are much easier because there is no need to force concepts as the fabrics already speak about what it needs to be. It is not always the rule, but in general my process is like this.

What are the things you consider first in conceiving the form of a garment?
I have quite a lot of dialogue with my garments…

The conception and final result of a garment must be captivating and intreguing .. ? It must speak of an emotion, a story or a tradition…..BUT it also needs to be practical.. Is that a garment that can have a REAL life?…… can you work in it, and play in it? My aim is to create treasured things… to create beauty and curiosity that is relevent in a life. The biggest compliment I can have is garments worn down to bare threads because it has been worn to death.

Speaking about the whole creative process, does it all come naturally or do you also do research work?
I think I would be extremely arrogant to say that it all comes naturally.!

The creative process for me is both things… i need to follow my natural instincts and listen to my own creative voice and most importantly to trust it. But the research is also fundamental. There is so much history that has happened before me and I think that I would seriously limit my work if I did not look closely into parts of the past, whether it be in a old construction technique, an old finishing on fabrics or a philosophy behind a type of dress… research is always essential even if there is a natural process to my creativity that needs to be followed.

In your pieces the traditional meets the modern, the decay is developed as a new form of “imperfect” beauty, the raw nature is blended with the urban. What makes possible this unique synthesis of contrasts?
I think it is a combination of so many elements that it can be hard to sum up quickly. It is all about the right combination, a fine balance between the materials and the sensations that it gives you, the cut and the proportions, the simplicity and the innovation, the effortlessness against the well conceived… and that all happens I think because I really study the thing… I put my head in the process and I dont get out of it until it’s right. I am following my instincts and trust myself to know when to stop or when to keep pushing.

How did the idea to start also a unisex children’s line came about?
I have two children and it changed the way I see a lot of things. I wanted to be able to have things for them that echoed my ideas that I had developed for the men’s and woman’s line… and on the contrary, special things can still be found out there for adults, but for children it is really hard. The majority of things are really sporty and cheaply done. I wanted my kids to be dressed in a different way…so I began to make clothes for them.

Could you please share something on the development of your upcoming collection?
I have just finished the Woman’s Spring Collection which I will be presenting in Paris. The fabrics are really sensual and architectural. I worked with more structured shapes contrasted against a lot of fluidity.. I really wanted to focus on a very empowered woman.. a very strong woman, sexually and intellectually. I enjoyed a lot of old poloroids of Helmut Newton.. he had a great way of exposing the strong nature of woman and odd situations… i like that tone.

I worked on creating a lot of special pieces this season but with very focused proportions.

More than just clothing, Lost & Found offers an intellectual and deeply intimate approach to reality. Do you think that in the future the fashion system and in general our current throw-away world, will change, becoming more closer to your point of view?
I think that some things you can’t change, even if honestly I would like it to…

I think that the state of fashion right now is at it’s lowest. Designs and the creation of garments have very little value to the average person. A persons closet can change litterally in a day.. because anything you want is available and at any price. I dont think that this mechanism in general will really change at this point. Technology and information just moves at an incredible speed now… and for many, business just needs to be made at any cost.

But within that there will always be people that desire something more authentic, something different than what everyone else has… There will always be people that look deeper, that are more informed and demand more from something they buy.

There are people that see the value in the reflection of a well made garments that has something to say..
I really hope that this is a understanding that more people will have… I suppose one can only hope..

  • Exclusive: LE PARADOX meets Ria Dunn

    Article by
    Cecilia Musmeci


    Special Thanks

    Alessandro Esteri

    Ria Dunn