At Home with Emily Ridings

A few of the designer’s favorite things

By Janice Carter Levitch

Photos by Kathryn Harrington

Vogue Magazine recently named Emily Ridings as one of the “Five Names to Know” from the Pratt Institute of New York’s 2018 graduating fashion design class. She received a $10,000 scholarship for her innovative fashion designs that included a woven basket hoop skirt shown at Spring Studios, New York, in the runway show for Pratt’s 2018 graduating class. With a BFA in fashion design, she is well on her way to making a name for herself through the designs she so meticulously creates from materials such as vintage fabrics, packing tape and luggage tags.

Ridings grew up in Richmond, Kentucky, and learned basket weaving from her grandmother, Judy Ridings, inspiring the woven basket hoop skirt. Her calming yet energetic nature has you thinking you’ve met a modern day Tinkerbell. She flies around from one creative project to the next, currently dividing her time between Richmond and Louisville. “Coming to Louisville is easy because I stay with my aunt and this is like my second home, truly my home away from home in Richmond,” Ridings said.

The Louisville home is a tranquil sanctuary with beautiful flowers growing in the garden. She draws inspiration from the simpler things in life while maintaining a creative focus with her plans for the future.

This week, Ridings shared her five favorite things with The Voice-Tribune.


1. Pewter Bracelet

The tree of life pewter bracelet with “‘tis a gift to be simple’” inscribed on the inside was handmade by Gastineau Studio in Berea, Kentucky. “My mother gave me this bracelet after we took a trip to Shakertown in Pleasant Hill, Kentucky, last summer. I draw inspiration from Shaker craft and traditions, and I’m always drawn to achieve simplicity in every part of my life. Knowing the people who made it and what it stands for makes me feel a sense of home when I have it on,” Ridings noted.


 2. “The Art of Happiness” by The Dalai Lama & Howard C. Cutler, MD

“A friend that I went to college with lent me this book about two years ago. We attended Pratt Institute together, and I think she was inspired to share it with me because she had enjoyed it so much. I’ve kept it with me and read a few pages at a time. It’s about priorities in life, which fosters happiness and simply states how to be in the present moment, ” Ridings commented.


3. Happy Mug from MozzaPi

“My mother and I attended bread camp at MozzaPi Restaurant located in Anchorage last summer. We learned to make bread for a week, and it was amazing to be able to share that special time with my mother,” Ridings explained. “They had these happy mugs for sale that are made in Italy. It was something I wanted to purchase to serve as a reminder of the experience. Now, every time I make tea, I use this mug and it makes me smile.”


4. Leather Bag from Haiti

A goat leather tote bag that was handmade by Benson Thermidor in Gonaives, Haiti, and purchased at Twine Market in Richmond is another cherished item of Ridings’. “This bag has been with me across the country and now has character added to it because it’s been used so much and has that softness about it. As one of my favorite things I use everyday, it’s been carried to many classes at Pratt in New York and only gets better with age,” Ridings said.


5. Robin Mollicone Earrings

A pair of hand-beaded, hoop earrings by Ridings’ mentor and fellow designer, Robin Mollicone, are included on the list of favorite things. “At the end of the school year, Robin and I agreed to make each other something special. I made her a basket purse and she made me these earrings. They are perfect because I’ve just spent the last school year covered in neutral tones (while) creating my fashion collection and needed some color. She understood I’ve been drawn to color lately and because of that, she added a little brightness to the earrings,” Ridings concluded. VT