Rural Room Q & A With Founder Emily Riggs

This week, among all the fun of Sheepvention, we’re shining the spotlight on merino wool champion and fashion designer extraordinaire, Emily Riggs of Iris and Wool . Emily’s line and elegant knitwear range is the perfect go-to for women the world over. Not only is it Australian made and ethically produced, but it also heroes the first-class fibre, merino wool…get to know Emily in our quick catch up below and then head to her site to stock the wardrobe with some of her gorgeous garments!


I’ve always loved high-end fashion and being married to a merino sheep producer inspired me to launch my 100% Australian merino wool label.

How does fashion make you feel and what does it represent to you?

It makes me feel so good! It’s such a good feeling when someone compliments your outfit. It represents freedom and creativity to me.

Who is your favourite fashion icon?

I have two! Olivia Palermo her style is always on point! & Audrey Hepburn classic and the definition of beauty!

Please describe your personal style and what you like to reflect through your style?

I like classic silhouettes mixed with a bit of edge and I also like equestrian inspired fashion. I love natural fibres especially merino; it’s luxe but it’s also natural and biodegradable.

What is your creative process when designing your line and bringing it to life? Pinterest is my bff! I draw so much inspiration from it and then I develop a mood board and sketch from there.

Fashion shares story through fibre, texture, colour – can you please share how you have woven story into your work?

My label is a tribute to the fabulous fibre merino wool and my pieces are all named after our properties.

What is the most challenging part of your job or the industry in general?

Converting sales!!

What is the most rewarding part of your job or the industry in general?

When someone tells me they love how my pieces make them feel.

How does being based regionally impact your work and your process?

In this digital age, it’s pretty easy to undertake in regional and rural Australia. One thing that can be challenging is the distances I have to cover to get to cities to sell my line, especially with my almost two-year-old, travelling long distances can be hard. Having said that, I’m doing this interview on our way to Sheepvention- hubby is driving and Sammy is currently asleep in the back!

Please share some of the influences that feed into your work?

Nature always inspires me, especially horses, their beauty definitely inspires me! My friends are also big influences, as I want to design for them really. Also, my Grandmother - I remember her always trying to make me wear merino wool but I thought it was so uncool!

What are some of the fashion trends you predict for the coming season? Plated rib knits and you’ll see one of these in my upcoming collection!

What is your favourite fashion moment?

Princess Diana’s wedding dress and Jean Shrimpton stepping out in that knee length shift dress at Derby Day in the sixties - it wasn’t the race that stopped the nation that day, it was the dress! I love her bravery!

What is unique about your label?

We are 100% Australian Merino Wool and utilise a manufacturing process which produces zero waste.

If you had the opportunity to dress anyone in the world, who would your ultimate muse be?

Megan Markle for publicity, plus she’s stunning and stylish! And Olivia Palermo given she is one of my style icons.

We’d love to hear your top 5 Fashion tips for women-

1.    Steer clear of too many trends, instead wear on-trend accessories.

2.    Invest in a white shirt – great for achieving a chic ensemble.

3.    Don’t ignore the classics but be brave with colour!

4.    Invest in standout shoes!

5.    And of course, wear natural fibres - invest in quality over quantity.

What’s your fashion advice for women going from paddock to play?

Dress for your shape and what you feel comfortable in. You can’t really go wrong with jeans, boots and a merino sweater (excuse the plug!!) with a coat over your shoulders in winter. In summer a maxi dress looks effortless with a pair of on trend flats.

What will you be wearing to Sheepvention?

 My label because I’ll be selling it! People love to see you in it.

What are you excited to see featured on the catwalk at Sheepvention?

I can’t wait to see the best fibre in the world being showcased!

What advice can you share with aspiring fashion designers or creatives?

Make sure you have the finances as there are a lot of little expenses that slowly add up! Also, a mentor in the industry is integral. Find someone who knows the ins and outs, I’ve only just found my fashion mentor and she’s a god send!

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