While Barbara Riordan doesn’t remember the first garment she made, but her mother was a Home Economics teacher and taught her to sew at six years old. Riordan soon fell in love with choosing her own fabrics and styles.
“I feel fashion has always been with me – I’ve been making my own clothes for 50 years. I remember watching the old 1950's Superman show after school, it was in black and white. Lois Lane wore pencil skirts, and I was fascinated by them.”
Riordan came up with her brand Pariah in 1996 but didn’t have any real idea of how to get into the industry. As time has gone on, and the internet became more prevalent, she has gained the knowledge necessary to launch the brand.
The name Pariah has meaning behind it. “Growing up I felt a little like an outsider,” she explained. “Having a strong personal style as a teenager doesn't always go over well, this was especially true in the seventies.”
Riordan values ethical production practice above all else. “I am a Christian and to use our fellow man as a near slave in order to produce cheap fashion or increase the bottom line is reprehensible to me.” She also values taking care of the environment. “The Earth is our home; we don't want to live in a dirty, polluted home. I am excited that great strides are being made in this area.”
Riordan is excited to be showing at Vancouver Fashion Week, having been discovered on Instagram. “I am hoping there is a market here for me and that I will be able to raise my brand awareness.” The highlight of the show is her trench coat, which Riordan said was great for travel and has a lot of personality. “A gal can put on any basic in her closet, black t-shirt and jeans, and put on a Pariah trench coat and then be prepared to meet people,” she said. “You will be approached when wearing these pieces.”