The Story of Miss Ruby Ribbon

Zealous Stories: Print winner, Rebecca Carrington, blends prints and embellishments into lively womenswear designs with an innovative twist. Her winning collection, ‘The story of Miss Ruby Ribbon’, is based on a playful narrative, inspired by her childhood and a tribute to her parrot Ruby.

Rebecca Carrington, The Story of Miss Ruby Ribbon, (close-up of print garments)

Congratulations on winning Zealous Stories: Print! The Story of Miss Ruby Ribbon collection is delightfully carefree. Could you give us an overview of the brand’s DNA?

Thank you! The DNA of my brand is about being who you truly are, and I believe that our inner child holds the key to authenticity and joy. It’s about trying not to get too lost in the pressures of being an adult and keeping your inner child in your pocket to gain perspective and peace.  

Your work is a combination of printmaking, fashion design and storytelling. How do you perceive yourself as an artist?  

I think being an artist is about exploration. It’s being free to start any creative process, with the intention of telling stories. Sometimes when you look at artwork you don’t always know why it was made, but I think it’s about how the viewer connects to it. What drives me is a longing to express myself and find a sense of who I am through that expression and a sense of inner peace

The Story of Miss Ruby Ribbon

Can you tell us a about your printmaking process?

My printmaking process usually starts by me drawing onto A3 paper. I then use pencil and fine liners to outline. I add colour using colour pens – I like to add colour this way, because it feels more personal and a hands-on approach. I scan in my prints and then I’ll edit using photoshop, but only blemishes and discoloration.

If I am digitally printing, I will outsource and get test prints, from a range of sizes ( A1-A5). I see what sizes and fabrics I like the best and I’ll work from there. I cut around the characters on the fabric, then I’ll bond another fabric to the back using a heat press machine and bondaweb. This gives the character and the print a more 3D effect, almost as if its own creature, which I really enjoy.  

I usually know as soon as I have finished drawing my print if I want to add it to my final design. I think that’s because I’ve spent a long time doing the drawing on paper, so I know it’s going to look even better on fabric.  

Print is such an important part of my creative process because I feel that you can tell a story within the fabric. You can express yourself; you can give the fabric more texture and layers. I’ve always found a freedom in printmaking, because it can be anything.  

The Story of Miss Ruby Ribbon

In this project, you explore both digital and screen printing. What is your preferred printmaking technique?

I enjoy combining all different types of print together. I like how you can layer them up and they don’t have to be so separate.  I really love digital printing, I think that it’s amazing how you can just draw with the movement of your hand, whatever is in your mind comes out onto paper and then onto fabric, you can feel it and add to it.

Screen printing is great because you can get your print onto fabric instantly. You can change the colour of the paint, you can use puff paint for a more 3D effect, and it’s a skill that you can explore further.

These two methods bring different textures, and you can layer them onto each other. I love them both, but if I had to pick, I would say digital, because you can add more detail and colour. 

The Story of Miss Ruby Ribbon

Your designs are driven by a strong narrative. What role does this play?

The narratives I create sets me up for the whole of my collection. It’s ingrained in every aspect. From the colour of the threads used to sew the fabric together, to the embellishments hand stitched onto the fabric. The prints I create have a story within them; all the prints, textiles, shape making, characters etc. are used as a tool to communicate the narrative.  

The narrative is based on a girl called ‘Ruby Ribbon’, inspired by my pet parrot, ‘Ruby’, who passed away, and a celebration of my childhood. ‘The story of Miss Ruby Ribbon’ is about a girl who works in a supermarket as a cashier. She goes to work, then she goes back home to play with her old childhood toys, even though she is 21 years old. Her favorite toy, a cash register, transports her to a new world called ‘Childhood City’. While she is there, she meets her inner child, ‘Miss Lola Child’, her two childhood pets, a Dalmatian dog called ‘Kid’, and a parrot called ‘Dream’. They live in a pink castle high up in the sky, with toys below.

There is an evil presence who lives in the sky called, ‘Baddie’. He throws out alcohol, illegal substances and weapons, which makes all the toys in the city go crazy! Ruby is there to save them all and learn the ways of her youth. 

The Story of Miss Ruby Ribbon, (Full Collection)

What’s next for you? Are you working on anything exciting?

I am working on a new collection which explores emotions. I am also investigating different creative avenues and wanting to combine them into fashion. It’s going to be a collection that is very personal and raw; just like a diary entry that has come to life.

After graduating, you went on to win several awards including New Zealand Emerging Designer. Has entering competitions aided you in your creative career?

It has been important because I’ve been able to connect with people. I have been able to show my work and travel to places I’d never thought I’d travel to. It gives you a belief in your work when things get hard, and it reminds you that you need to continue to do what you love.

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Ellie Isaacs

Community Manager


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