I read with great interest the January issue of SKATING magazine because one of the articles (not available online) profiled designer Richie Rich, who, with Traver Rains, created the fashion line Heatherette. Their clothes, described as "crazed-club-kid-meets-award-show-chic," are worn by Gwen Stefani, Lil' Kim, Paris Hilton, Pink, Justin Timberlake, Alicia Keys, Britney Spears, Beyonce and David Beckham, to name just a few.
SKATING covered Richie because, wouldn't you know it, Richie was a serious skater growing up, passing his sixth test and competing at the U.S. regional and sectional championships! I was pretty impressed by how far he went in skating and then turned his discipline and passion into pursuing a fashion career. I guess that's what struck me the most about the piece -- Doing school figures early in the mornings (as Richie did) and the thousands of hours of practice that he put in were hard and sometimes tedious and boring, but there was an inner drive and fire that pushed him because he believed in himself and what he was accomplishing. Isn't it funny how this discipline and focus will manifest itself in later years?
Recently, Heatherette took part in Disson Skating's Fashion on Ice, where the duo created a dress for Sasha Cohen (a Heatherette fan herself) and also costumed Evan Lysacek, Tanith Belbin & Ben Agosto and others. By the way, Johnny Weir has appeared in two Heatherette fashion shows. Above is a behind the scene photo moment from the show. From left to right, Traver Rains, Sasha Cohen, Richie Rich and Shae-Lynn Bourne (looking gorgeous and one my favorite ice dancers).
Growing up in California, Richie practiced alongside Rudy Galindo (still a great friend) and Kristi Yamaguchi, and trained with Christy Ness (Kristi's coach when she won the 1992 Olympic gold) for several years. After graduating from high school, Richie joined Ice Capades, where he learned a lot about garments, beads and sequins from the crew in the costume department. After Ice Capades, he moved to New York City and was a regular on the club scene, where his blond hair earned him the nickname Richie Rich. He met his future business partner, Traver, at a riding stable near Chelsea Piers. Richie was picking up a friend's son from a riding lesson, where Traver was an instructor, and the two began talking and realized that they made clothing each admired. Soon, they were taking their ideas to potential investors. Heatherette debuted in 1999 and was an immediate success.
Richie and Traver will be busy in 2008 as they expand the Heatherette line into more department stores (for us regular folks) and become more involved in television projects and a possible makeup deal. Richie is also working on a book detailing his rise to the top of the fashion world, from his start in skating, to his years as a club kid, to his chance encounter with Traver.
But what does Richie really want to have happen? To be on "Skating with Celebrities!" As he puts it, "If I have a heads up, I'll skate a little more. The only challenge is getting back the jumps, but I can do it." Hello, FOX executives? I would love to see Richie Rich of Heatherette paired up with JoJo Starbuck -- they will be completely unforgettable with unbelievable skating and amazing costumes.