Rosita Bonita is the glamorous alter-ego of London designer Rowenna Harrison. A skilled illustrator with a life-long love for drawing and making, Rowenna discovered screen-printing whilst at college. After graduating, she continued to draw & started making some accessories in leather, including a few fascina-tors & pairs of pasties. It was then she had the idea to use leather as a printing surface. A few fruitful experiments later, and Rowenna’s first collection was born.
But before selling the pieces, she needed a name. Inspired by vintage glamour and the musical sound of Spanish, she naturally landed on ‘Rosita.‘ Envisioning her as a ‘50s Mexican movie star or burlesque dancer, ‘Bonita’ seemed to add itself! And what better fit for the brand’s vintage glamour meets 50s-rockabilly aesthetic.
Whats your typical day at the office?
There’s no such thing as typical when you’re working of yourself!
I split my time between my Studio..., my home studio, and the leather workshop, where I do my embossing. Where I am each day really depends on what’s on my to-do list.
But this is a pretty common routine: I wake up either when my alarm goes off, or when my two beautiful cats decide to start charm-ing me into giving them breakfast. I cycle to work, or to the leather workshop ... I very rarely take my laptop to work, as it’s too easy to get sucked in by things that aren’t making! I open up the shop, make a pot of coffee, put music on, plan my day’s tasks, and crack on. Then I’ll be mak-ing all day. This is where i do all my assembly & finishing and putting together orders.
I try to leave the studio around 6, unless I have a deadline, cycle home then usually do a few hours computer work - answering emails, updating my website, admin, preparing files for laser-cutting etc… If I’m lucky I get time to research & work on new designs, but this is a rare treat.
I usually cook - food is a great love of mine! If we manage to go to bed early enough we’ll watch a movie on our projector. My boyfriend is a film maker and total geek, so always has a stash of things for us to watch.
What are the 5 things you cannot live without?
Don’t wanna call them things, but I’m in love with my cats. I always miss them greatly when i go away.
My bicycle. it may sound silly, but I always miss this if I’m away for more than a day or two too. It’s a beautiful thing, it feels like an extension of me and it buys me freedom.
My wardrobe. Clothes & jewellery are really important to me. I love owning & wearing beautiful things, and the way dressing up can transform your mood and inspire confidence. I’m also pas-sionate about craftsmanship & treasure handmade items, especially anything hand-embroidered.
Music. Life needs a soundtrack.
Life without cheese would be very very sad.
Who would you love to wear your pieces?
Anyone, ever? Carmen Miranda, Ava Gardner, Marlene Dietrich.
But now, I love people who love my pieces to wear my pieces. It makes me really happy to see my customers posting selfies of them, happy in their new jewels. It’s so nice to see where my work ends up - it’s real life begins when it leaves my studio.
Your favorite quote?
“I have never followed what people say it is 'fashionable'. I think that a woman must wear what fits her. That is why I created a style appropriated to my type and my artistical genre.” Carmen Miranda
Where would you go in a time machine?
Everywhere! I’d probably spend most of my time hopping between the 20s & 60s, and hanging out in South & Central America & Polynesia and south east Asia. I hope it’s got a lot of petrol…
What's one cause that you would want people to rally behind?
I’d really like to see fair minimum wages and safe working conditions implemented all over the world in every industry. So many of the world’s problems are caused by inequality and exploita-tion.
All photos courtesy of Rosita Bonita