26-year-old Ruby Coyne graduated from Gray’s School of Art in Aberdeen in 2014 and relocated back to her home town of Dundee. During her fashion degree, she began selling 1980 vintage clothing online and at local markets as a hobby. This spiralled out of control and has turned into not only a vintage business but an international clothing label, with one line out already and another soon to come this year. Coyne has achieved vast amounts independently and with her interns from her studio in Meadow Mills Dundee. Inspired by the 1980s, the tackiest aspects of the USA, kids cartoons and all things geometric, and having won ASOS Fashion Graduate of the Year 2015, Ruby is set to have another fantastic year for her business – which you can truly tell is her whole life.
WHY DID YOU START DREAMLAND?
I was in my final year studying BA Hons Fashion Design at Gray’s School of Art. Basically, I created my label because I believed in creating my own unique design aesthetic that I had developed so much over the years. I wanted to remain part of the fashion industry… But on my own terms. I interned for other designers in London and Paris and that taught me a lot, but above all I realised I had to go my own way. I find that the big bad world – particularly in London – is pretty terrifying in all honesty, especially in our current state of affairs. Therefore I find solace in my studio, creating and doing my own thing. The Dreamland studio fulfils my creativity and my career as a whole – designing the mainline collections, styling and sourcing for the vintage label too. By doing talks at local institutes, I really want to inspire other young creatives into being confident into doing their own thing.
WHAT DOES DREAMLAND MEAN TO YOU?
Everything, absolutely everything. I created this from the ground up, every penny that’s made goes back into the business. I feel this label really is a representation of me and my outlook on life too. The Dreamland studio makes me happy and proud, because I know it’s all my hard work and passion that’s a part of it. Even though sometimes it gets rough, I still feel lucky I’ve got this opportunity to live my life by my passion.
A LOT OF YOUR DESIGNS ARE INFLUENCED BY THE POWERHOUSE WOMEN OF THE 1980S – IN THE SPIRIT OF WOMEN’S HISTORY MONTH, WHO ARE SOME WOMEN THAT INSPIRE YOU IN YOUR LIFE AND ADDITIONALLY, IN FASHION?
My mum. Because she’s a “cool mum not a regular mum”. She genuinely brought my brother and I up as wild and free spirits. She used to take me round vintage markets, car boot sales, and thrift shops. I guess that is why I’m so nostalgic – those happy care free memories of my childhood. Style wise, she is one of a kind. She has such a unique fashion sense, she’s so well known locally for her wonderful dress sense, but more so her positive outlook and her compassion too. She’s also super spiritual and has such a huge kind heart, as she’d help anyone. However, she’s not afraid to stand her ground when she needs to, a fine balance between the two.
In terms of the industry, it would have to be the creator of Lazy Oaf, Gemma Shiel. She is bright, bold and brave. She has one of the most unique design identities I’ve ever watched grow and I can look at her collections endlessly. I can also look back at her earlier work and still be besotted. She really is an idol of mine. A key point to make here is that I believe she creates because she want’s to create. She doesn’t do it for trend lead fast-food-fashion, she does it purely because she wants to.
WHAT IS IT LIKE BEING A WOMAN RUNNING A BUSINESS IN 2016?
It’s all good. It’s been a learning process but even at this early stage I feel confident, in control and I’m having a hell of a lot of fun. One thing I would say, particularly about being a woman in business, is that at the start you can tend to be a “yes man” – you agree to the most ridiculous things as you think it’ll lead somewhere – but now I’m much more of a “No way man”. I don’t jump unless I know the water is deep enough. But all in all, it’s down to you. It’s perseverance, determination and good decision making. Also, coffee. Lot’s of coffee.
WHO ARE SOME OF YOUR FAVOURITE WOMEN IN FASHION TO LOOK OUT FOR?
The first one is my ASOS Graduate mate Maddie McIndoe – who was my stall neighbour at the Clothes Show Live. The reason is because we were both plucked from our comfort zones by ASOS, to represent ourselves as their graduates of 2015. We were right at the front of the show, and we both clicked with each other immediately. I respect her work because are both in the same boat – running new independent design labels. Her work is colourful, wild and so true to Maddie’s bright characteristics. Even during the event, when things got overwhelming, she kept her cool and dealt with what she was given. I respect her so much, and really hope her cool attitude rubbed off on me at the event. Probably not though as I am more like a hyper active puppy under pressure. I hope, and I’m assured, she’ll have a bright and fantastic future. She actually gifted me one of her egg and cactus print dresses and every time I wear it, it reminds me that she’s doing the same thing as me down in London.
Next up, Good ol’ Viv – i.e Vivian Westwood. I just generally respect how she uses her iconic fashion platform to highlight important social issues within society today. It all came from her punk style, that kinda f**k you attitude, that really just inspires the rebel within me. I actually met her when I was working at Paris Fashion Week and she said she liked my peach hair so that’s kind of cool.
WHAT ARE YOUR PLANS WITH DREAMLAND IN THE FUTURE?
I have so much planned for Dreamland in 2016. But most of this is on lock down. However, I can reveal we are releasing our Dreamland staples collection in September, so big things are coming!