Lausanne’s Upcycling Queen: Diana Rikasari

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February 17, 2022

Photography by Jagoda Wiśniewska 

There’s a common adage about waste– how it’s not really waste until we waste it. Looking at Diana as she walks down the cobblestoned streets of La Cité, one thing is clear: she does not waste a moment wearing boring clothes.

The very sight of her walking, flashes of colors and textures juxtaposed with the stone of the gothic cathedral behind her, can most simply be described in one word: delightful. Her style is eccentric and sparks curiosity; she trespasses beyond what one might define as the conventional rules of fashion — but with a playful innocence. We look at Diana and wonder if she was the child that deliberately colored outside of the lines in school – the one that knew that beauty in creation was often born from breaking boundaries.

Diana is a Lausanne local, originally from Indonesia and more commonly known for her upcycled fashion pieces as well as her several published books for both adults and children. We spent the afternoon with Diana and learned a bit about her background, her style, and her process when it comes to creation.

Why Lausanne? 

I’ve lived in Lausanne for almost 5 years now. Wow! My husband got a job offer here in Lausanne so we decided to take it and start a new adventure with our little family.

 How did your career in fashion begin?

I started my own fashion business back in 2011 with no background in fashion. I’ve been designing, producing and running my brand for years until in 2019 I thought it would be great to actually have a formal education in fashion, just so I can understand things better ~ especially in terms of construction and pattern making. That’s when I decided to join a fashion school here in Switzerland. When I learned to sew and use a sewing machine for the first time (in 2019), I just fell in love. For all those years I was simply watching my workers manufacture all our products, but now that I can make things myself, it feels so different. Creating becomes more personal, more enjoyable, and I get to explore more ideas on the go. 

Can you describe your creative process?

In a bigger picture, the whole purpose of why we upcycle is because we need to reduce waste. Fashion is the 2nd largest polluter, simply because so many people, brands and companies throw away clothes that they no longer wear or are able to sell. When I upcycle, I always have this purpose in mind. Am I actually reducing waste? That’s why I like to use only secondhand materials when I’m creating. It’s fun to challenge myself and see how I can make something cool from them ~ I think of it as “creating within limits” ~ the limit is to not use anything new.

What inspires you and what helps when you’re in a creative rut?

I’m inspired by life, by people around me, by colors and patterns I see on the road. Everything is an inspiration. I also am inspired by humor. I like laughing, I like things that are funny, so I often inject humor in my works. When I need inspiration, I just go out, take a walk, have ice cream, visit secondhand shops. It’s amazing what we can find in secondhand shops. You don’t know what to expect!

How would you describe your fashion style?

Playful, whimsical, colorful, bold, everything-works. 

What are your thoughts on the Lausanne fashion scene? 

Every city has a fashion identity, and I respect that. Lausanners seem to love basic and muted colors, things that are comfortable and practical and weather-friendly. From where I come from (Indonesia), we don’t care about weather hahah. We just wear whatever we like and make it work. 

When you’re not creating/working, where can we find you in Lausanne? 

You can find me in secondhand shops, in a Japanese restaurant eating ramen or sushi, or getting myself some bubble tea! If you’re interested in shopping secondhand, I recommend Brocki, Ateapic, Waiyka and Maniak, and oh, Pret a Seduire for secondhand designer bags. There’s also Emmaus in Etagnieres. A train ride away, but truly worth it!

Do you have any advice for people who want to take steps in upcycling/toward becoming more sustainable in fashion?

My advice is to be mindful. Upcycling is not an arts-&-crafts project, but an attempt to actually prolong the life of a piece of clothing. So when attempting to upcycle, ask ourselves, “am I really gonna wear this?”. 

Any words of wisdom for people who want to inject a bit more creativity in their current style, and don’t know where to start?

Start small, I guess? It’s nice to pay attention to little details, like the color of your button, the placement of your zipper, the small patch near your pocket. These small details are a source of joy, it’s supposed to make us happy when we see or wear it. When we appreciate these things, dressing up becomes more fun and exciting.

Where can locals find your pieces? Are there any future local collaborations we can keep an eye out for?

Lausanners can shop my upcycling works at Maniak in Lausanne Flon. I love doing collaborations so the answer is always YES!

Self-love Books

#88LOVELIFE Vol.01 : Dreams

#88LOVELIFE Vol.02: Passion

#88LOVELIFE Vol.03: Priorities

Self-Acceptance by #88LOVELIFE

Follow on Instagram: @88LOVELIFE

Children's Books

My Rainbow Days Vol.01

My Rainbow Days Vol.02

My Rainbow Days Vol.03

Follow on Instagram: @myrainbowdaysbook

Fashion Line

Check out her Instagram page devoted to her sustainable fashion line here.

Upcycling Works

Follow her Instagram page devoted to her creations or discover her website below

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