I will never forget the first time I came in contact with the colourful fashion creations of Riani. During a visit of the Pravda Pressroom in Antwerp a clothes rack full of colourful clothes got my attention. “It’s a German brand with a long history, one of the main fashion brands in Germany”, Ann Lomans from Pravda Pressroomtells. From that moment onwards the brand with its distinguished logo captured my attention. Needless to say that when we got invited to meet Martina Buckenmaier, ceo of the brand and her daughter Mona during a lunch in Antwerp we couldn’t refuse.
Text Anja Van Der Borght
Stuck in a traffic jam around Antwerp for more than an hour we arrive a bit later than planned for the lunch but clearly we are not the only ones. The lobby of U Eat & Sleep Antwerp is filled with some colleagues and small tables nicely dressed with bags and beautiful white flower bouquets signed ‘Riani’. The seating is by name and we get assigned a seat at a table for three with – hooray! – the ceo of the brand.
FLTR: Mona Buckenmaier, Anja Van Der Borght, Martina Buckenmaier.
“My husband laid the foundations of Riani 50 years ago with a company that produced pants”, tells Riani ceo Martina Buckenmaier. “Then 40 years ago – yes this year we celebrate our 40th birthday – we changed to more styles and he decided we needed to find a good name for the new clothing brand. Something that sounded good with no further meaning: ‘Riani’ was born. From there on we took it slowly. Step by step. In 40 years we didn’t use any credit, we only invest what we can afford… we never run before we walk. Today we still are a family owned and family based company.”
“In 2015 Riani opened a new company building near Stuttgart, the German city all quality is coming from like Porsche, Mercedes and Riani.” Martina Buckenmaier.
“As her husband was fighting in Russia during World War II my mother-in-law had to raise her two boys all by herself”, Martina tells. “She didn’t complain about her really difficult situation but she decided to act. She started to sell clothes from door to door. This was really the start of Riani and is also the thing that encouraged her sons – my husband and his brother – to become two successful enterpreneurs. My husband’s brother owns two multi-brand departement stores and has 350 people working for him. Whereas Riani used to be the company from my husband. As I was part of a third generation producing leather garments we decided to fuse my company and Riani beginning of this year. From now on Riani also produces leather garments like this coat and vests.”
“From now on Riani also produces leather garments like this coat and vests.” Martina Buckenmaier.
“Riani is a company born out of love and the necessity and the struggle of a woman to survive during WWII and to protect her two boys”, Riani ceo Martina Buckenmaier tells. “Women are so strong.”
“Riani has always been into special prints and special colours but we also combine them with non colours”, Martina tells. “As you can see on this model we combine a leather coat with a knitted skirt and a shirt so that you have colours and non-coulours together. The customer can always wear it with less prints or ton sur ton. But I like to combine it with some special prints. Bright colours and flower prints we use regularly in different kinds of shapes and sizes. They are very important to us.”
“I like the Cadillac T-shirt from our Hollywood Hills collection”, Riani ceo Martina Buckenmaier.
“It’s always nice to see a sample or outfit in size 36 but for us it also has to look good and have a perfect fit in a size 42 or 44”, Martina tells. “Our clothes should never look like a big size collection; the customer has to feel comfortabele in it but it should look like a real fashion collection with for instance sleeves that our not too big.” Injersey you can create those fits easily. Whether it is jersey or other premium fabrics, Riani experiments a lot for a sophisticated, divine and feminine look. “More than 350 people produce the clothes for us in Poland and Hongaria, but the fabrics mainly come from Italy, tells Martina. “Technical fabrics we merely import from Japan.”
Riani ceo Martina Buckenmaier: “In order to feel the dna of a brand you need some stories, some content to tell.”
“We want to make women from size 32 up to size 48 happy”, Martina tells. “For us it’s important that a vast range of customers can wear our clothes. As you can see I am not a size 38 and for us it is important that woman from size 32 till 48 can wear our clothes. That’s why I also wear all the clothes some time before they go into production. Bigger size clothes sometimes look too wide we strive to give our clothes a nice and stylish fitting.”
“We create clothes for the woman that just started her first job till the no ager. With Riani you just wear what you like to wear. Clothes have to be comfortable. You have to be able to come with our clothes throughout the day… Riani is synonym with a fresh and modern appearance with a good look.”
“It looks much better – on the runway and in real life – if you wear the complete look”, Martina tells. “That’s exactly why we also try to bring total looks with matching sneakers, matching pumps, boots, and we do also some accesorizing like scarves and handbags. But not too much as we discovered that the Riani woman likes to combine our clothes with designer bags from brands as Prada, Gucci, …”
“Our spring-summer collection is a bit the American wave of life.” We started at the East Coast with All that Jazz (easy to wear), took a Roadmovie down to Florida and then went to California. The road movie ends in Hollywood Hills with the collection Day Dreaming full of pale colours, pale purple, pink, yellow and pale flowers prints.”
Today with daughter Mona, a new generation is ready to introduce Riani in a digital era. MonaBuckenmaierstudied economics in Munich and got her Master Degree last yera after some time in Milano. She joined Riani one year ago. And opened the Riani webshop last month. Belgian customers will be able to order through the webshop from March 2019 onwards. Till then you can buy Riani in one of the 60 high end multi-brand boutiques in Belgium.