A diamond in the Ruff

2018-03-22 08:55
Bridget Pickering and Ludwig Bausch with Ruff Tung designs.

Bridget Pickering and Ludwig Bausch with Ruff Tung designs. (SIMON DEINER / SDR PHOTO)

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From dressing the women of the 90s in “a kaleidoscope of club wear and loud prints”, fashion brand Ruff Tung has grown, much like the women it dresses, to offer clothing that empowers today’s woman.

Cape Town-based designers Bridget Pickering and Ludwig Bausch took over the Ruff Tung brand name from their mentor and much-loved friend Jean-Paul Botha, who passed away in 2013.

“We consider ourselves a tribute brand to Paul’s creative vision. It’s thanks to Paul that Ludwig and I have had this amazing opportunity to work together and take an established brand to the next level. It has always been important for us to keep the true DNA of Ruff Tung in our aesthetic and design process with strong, feminine silhouettes. Ruff Tung has always celebrated bold statement colours and prints, and we like to think we have remained true to our brand heritage with our ambition to be that ‘go to’ brand for incredible prints,” Pickering says.
The brand has “grown up” since the 90s, Pickering says.

“Paul developed an occasion wear niche and Ruff Tung Phase 2 has seen us transition into designing a more inclusive collection – focusing on pieces that the Ruff Tung woman can wear any day, to any event. We try to keep our design ethos balanced, to appeal to our growing market – showing that any woman, regardless of size, shape or occasion, deserves to feel confident when she gets dressed in the morning.”

Last year, at Mercedes Benz Fashion Week in Johannesburg, the Ruff Tung team launched their Inclusive range.

“The launch was a brand-defining moment for us. We wanted to represent all sizes on the runway – it wasn’t a show about ‘plus’ fashion, but more a collection representing every woman of every size. Our runway showcased professional AFI models, as well as plus-size models and respected women from the industry – allowing our customer base to see a body shape like theirs on the runway, perhaps for the first time ever.”
Creative collaboration is at the heart of the brand, says Pickering, and this has inspired “a collection that empowers the contemporary woman”.
“We believe it takes a team to build a brand, and for the launch of Ruff Tung Inclusive we aligned ourselves with such an incredible team of powerhouse women,” she says.

“We were honoured to work with so many talented, supportive women – many of whom put in months of runway preparation to help us make our inclusive dream come true. From the AFI models who welcomed our curvy girls with open arms, to the size-inclusive models who took the risk with us, it was a team effort on every level.”

These women remain the inspiration behind almost every design, says Pickering.

“Our most important inspiration behind our designs is the Ruff Tung woman. We felt the Ruff Tung tide was turning off the back of what we call our ‘curve conversations’. We have been consciously engaging with our audience in an attempt to create pieces that reflect all women. We are 100% motivated and inspired by the women we dress. Casual sophistication is always the focus of our design as we draw inspiration and energy from the women we dress.”

It is this casual sophistication that readers will have the chance to see upfront at the Perfectly Posh High Tea Party at the Kelvin Grove Club on 19 April. The event is hosted by People’s Post , in partnership with Spec-Savers, in aid of The LifeMatters Foundation. 

But after conquering runways, the Ruff Tung team will not be hanging up their coats just yet. They will soon be launching key items from their new Autumn/Winter 2018 collection, which will fall under the theme of “easy styling”.

“Our silhouettes are bold but simple and easy to wear as we don’t believe in fussy or complicated fashion. We always introduce beautiful statement prints and our advice to our women would be to embrace at least one gorgeous print this season. The beauty of bold prints is that they add a pop of contemporary style to update your wardrobe, as well as camouflage a multitude of sins by hiding those areas we don’t like and flattering the curves we do,”

The brand will also be looking towards developing their own online store, offering a more premium level to what they design, says Pickering.
“We would also love the opportunity to work with one of the larger retailers, bringing our Ruff Tung Inclusive range to every woman.”

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