Fashion From the Horror House: Meet Ruth Peterson

Ruth Peterson, a vivacious Liverpudlian living in London, is causing a storm in streetwear not long after getting started. 

Still in her twenties, it’s fair to say she’s acing it: her graduate collection from Kingston University won space amongst fashion week’s graduate selection. Her hand-made pieces were all snapped up from showrooms, and shortly after Skepta, Ty Dolla $ign and Octavian were seen draped in her designs. Now, straight off the back of the new BBC Three series ‘The Drop’, it’s fair to say Ruth’s eponymous menswear brand is hot. However, it’s been a cult favourite for years already. 

Ruth, sat in our office, full of animation and energy, shared the innards of her operation: ‘When I was in sixth form I just wanted to be a tailor. I started out turning up trousers and learning how to sew… but I’ve always had big ideas.’ Her sewing background now sets her apart from her peers: she designs and makes her own garments, which for the vast majority is no longer considered a prerequisite, or even expected.

Photography by Grażyna Gudejko.

‘The most recent piece I’ve finished making is a vintage-style, oversized leather jacket with a zombie on the back.’ A signature of Ruth’s work is a synthesis of street style cool with an oozing undercurrent of classic horror film fandom. ‘Sometimes I get a little bit in my head about the horror aspect you know, I wonder if people think I’m really weird’.

Ruth fidgets for a second, quickly refuting her worries: ‘I thought when I started the brand, hey, this is my personality… love it or hate it. I’ve thought so many times why am I doing this? It’s easier to give up. But when someone else says to you, look maybe you should just stop… I get this feeling in my stomach that tells me I can’t stop.’

‘I thought when I started the brand, hey, this is my personality… love it or hate it…’

After a spell of creative disenchantment, Ruth reemerged recently: ‘I was saying how I wanted to be on TV and talk about my brand. I knew how much that would help with how I was feeling.’ She laughs for a moment, telling us about her manifestations and mystic moment that changed it all. ‘The day after my rambling a producer got in touch about The Drop’. 

Ruth features in ‘The Drop’ as one of the selected fashion designers aiming for a retail opportunity with Flannels. Of the experience she says, ‘I think everyone went into The Drop with the illusion of the fashion industry being super competitive and individualistic. We’re all small brand-owners without decades of experience in the industry. What you hear in the media paints a pretty negative picture of fashion. But we all quickly started behaving as a team. We confided in each other; talking about where we were and how we were feeling’. 

Ruth Peterson.

As the world changes, and Vogue-era fashionistas stop impaling their interns with fabric scissors, something is worth celebrating here. For the fashion scene to work together is a great thing. Although, this doesn’t mean all are playing ball. A new horror was heading towards Ruth.

Hight street retailers began ripping her off. She sighs, ‘Everyone is copying everyone now – young designers are getting really frustrated.’ But, resourceful and resilient Ruth retorts, ‘I’ve set up a mini-series called Truth of Ruth, in which I interview different experts discussing various taboos in the industry. The experts have been chosen for their knowledge on these themes, for instance, there’s an episode about copycats in which I’m interviewing an intellectual property lawyer.’ When Ruth stepped away from her brand, and found the rip-offs, the down days and distractions all piling too high, she somehow still escaped the encroaching threat of total defeat. 

What you hear in the media paints a pretty negative picture of fashion.

The testimonies in ‘Truth of Ruth’ could go a long way to support others demoralised and down; their life’s work shredded by the conniving claw of conglomerate greed. Ruth’s adventures represent a cause that is as immutable as the storm she is causing. When the dust dies down, and the scraping corporate claw moves to another poor soul, Ruth is making sure that no one gets left behind. Because in her land of horror, it’s all high-style and helping the underdog out of helpless hell.

Photography by Grażyna Gudejko.

Follow Ruth on Instagram: @ruthpeterson_uk

Or watch ‘The Drop‘ here:

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