top of page
  • Writer's picturetanaka simonsen

RIA CHHINA: The Thrifting Fashion Content Creator, redefining identity and personal style

Updated: May 8, 2023

to support RIA, follow their instagram @riachhina

Ria uses she/they pronouns

Meet Ria - a dynamic individual who has been making waves in Naarm since she moved there from Cairns three years ago. Despite the challenges of moving during a pandemic, Ria looks back on her decision to relocate as one of the best choices she has ever made.

In this article, we'll explore Ria's journey, passions, top looks, and learn more about the experiences that have shaped them into the inspiring person she is today.

Describing herself as a freelancer who does a plethora of things, Ria's biggest venture is styling. As a thrifting enthusiast, she scours platforms like Depop and supports small designers to create "crazy outfits" from the

things they find. Ria believes that styling is not just about looking good, but also about feeling confident and expressing one's individuality.

From posting her content online, Ria has received an outpouring of love and opportunities. In addition to styling, they have ventured into modelling, creative direction, photography, and even DJing.

"I'm a pretty busy bitch, and I high key love it...also high key stress city constantly (which I love)," Ria shared.

Through their content, Ria aims to challenge traditional notions of fashion and beauty. They believe that personal style is a depiction of one's personality, experiences, and individuality, and she encourages their followers to embrace their uniqueness.

"I want people to see that fashion and beauty can be inclusive and empowering. It's not about conforming to societal standards but celebrating our differences," Ria explained.

How was it growing up a person of colour in Australia?

"Genuinely, the most messed up thing about becoming an adult is recognising that so many ways that you were treated as a kid were actually messed up," says Ria. As a brown kid with a different cultural background than the Australian culture, they felt the need to conform to avoid confrontation and prejudice.

However, as an adult, they realised that it had resulted in a significant loss of her cultural identity. "Acceptance is a vital part of being human, yet we often choose to alienate others." Despite the challenges, Ria has found strength in recognising her identity and owning their story.

In terms of recognition and representation for POC in the creative industry, Ria has mixed feelings. While she questions if some people want to work with her just because she is a person of colour, they also acknowledge the increasing visibility and appreciation for POC artists. They share, "I sometimes do question if people just want to work with me because I am brown... But no, I guess I don’t really know how to measure recognition and how it’s affected me so I don’t know at this point. But I’m quite happy and don’t really care - I’ve either accepted it or just live in a bubble where I know there is a large community who gives love to POC artists." Despite the uncertainty, Ria remains optimistic and focused on her/their passion for creativity and expression.

"[My greatest inspiration] would definitely be all of the people in my life," she shares. "I love surrounding myself with creative people and seeing what they do, whether it's in my industry or another. I seem to draw so much more from people I interact with and connect with; the sense of community that comes from small creatives and their ambitions can feel so inspiring."

Tell us about your creative process!

"I like to start off with a statement piece that I’m styling, maybe its something I have found thrifting or second hand. I like to stay within my colour palette of black and neutral colours when styling myself. From there I’ll figure out what kind of silhouette I’m wanting with the outfit. For example, if its a tight top, I like pairing it with baggier bottoms and heavy shoes.

If I have enough pieces at home to bring an outfit to life, I’ll spend hours in my room pulling together different things to make an outfit.

Honestly my favourite thing to do ever, I love being open minded with it because sometimes layering and experimenting can look silly af. Within the last year and a bit, I’ve focussed on creating a capsule closet. That way, I can create a variety of different outfits by mixing and matching. [A] big part of this is because my entire closet is mostly black.

[The] biggest thing I’ve learnt is collecting more accessories than clothing. Having more accessory options than clothing goes so much further; clothing is only the base line. Dollar stores go so hard for this. Once my room looks like a bomb has gone off and I still don’t have a fit I’m happy with, we go back to thrifting with an idea in mind what I am looking for (makes thrifting so much easier and less overwhelming)."

"My first professional modelling gig was with Dangerfield about a year ago. We did a Valentine's Day campaign. I lowkey had no idea what I was doing and felt super anxious but decided to give it a go. It ended up being super comfortable. The team at DF is super encouraging and my confidence now in modelling compared to a year ago has gone up by crazy."

Let's have a look...

"Labels and price tags should never limit creativity and style," says Ria, as we take a close look at their top three favourite looks and the inspiration behind them.

The thrifted 'fit

"I like inspiring people in the sense that fashion does not always have to be expensive," says Ria. "Creativity and styling is what can elevate an outfit regardless of the source." This first look that caught my attention was Ria's Instagram post showcasing an affordable outfit made from thrifting and second-hand pieces.

"I sourced a number of items from thrift stores and created an outfit that is not only stylish but also budget-friendly," says Ria. They paired a ruffled white dress shirt with a snatching corset, that melts perfectly with a dark blue ribbed maxi skirt and a pair of retro sneakers, creating a look that is both casual and chic.

What I loved most about this look is how Ria showed that fashion doesn't have to be expensive to be trendy.

The upcycled outfit

"Ria's approach to fashion is so refreshing and inspiring," says @moosedoll, an online creator that Ria collaborated with for this look. The entire brand is all about upcycling outfits and creating treasures from trash. "They [were] the perfect fit for our brand, and we were thrilled to have her model our upcycled outfit."

For this neon punk look, Ria had blonde hair, with pastel accents and was styled in an upcycled outfit that was eye catching and very Barbie. The outfit was a mix of hot pink textures and patterns, with pieces repurposed from different sources. This look showcased Ria's appreciation for creativity and the power of upcycling to create something couture and exciting.

The bloody photoshoot

"Ria is such a great collaborator to work with," says photographer @timotitreasure. "She's always open to new ideas and willing to push the boundaries when it comes to fashion." This third and final look I'm featuring is from a recent shoot where Ria got to play around with fake blood.

"Timothy approached me with the idea of drenching someone in blood for a photoshoot, and I knew I wanted to be a part of it," they say. Originally, she wanted to create a soft and hard juxtaposition by styling the shoot with all-white outfits.

However, finding exactly what she envisioned proved to be difficult. "I found a $250 wedding dress that would have been perfect, but I decided not to spend that much money on it, even in the name of art. Instead, I found the perfect dress for only $20 and went for a full goth moment."

"Moments like these make me feel fulfilled, as they allow me to express myself creatively and artistically."

These three final looks showcase Ria's creativity and appreciation for fashion beyond the labels and price tags. "Fashion is not just about the clothes we wear, but also the creativity and expression they allow us to explore," says Ria. They inspire their followers to explore fashion in new and exciting ways, reminding us that labels and price tags should never limit our creativity and style.

"I would absolutely love to design clothes at some point and create a brand for myself that mixes fashion and music," Ria shared. Their passion for fashion and music has inspired them to explore the world of both. She envisions creating a brand that not only produces stylish clothing, but also incorporates musical elements into its design and marketing strategies.

While fashion and music may seem like two different worlds, for Ria, they are intertwined. "I am a baby DJ at the moment and would love to get into production at some point," she added. The idea of combining fashion and music into one brand has been brewing in her mind for years, and Ria is determined to make it a reality.

When asked about their ultimate goal, Ria shared, "Doing this full time would be the absolute dream, but I’m always super content with where I am in life." Her contentment stems from her appreciation of the present, her journey, and her growth.

Any projects coming up?

"I’m styling and modelling in a creepy clown shoot with a photographer and makeup artist," Ria shared. While still in the works, the shoot promises to be a unique and unforgettable experience. "It’ll be super fun and creepy," she added.

Ria’s passion for styling and modelling has been a significant part of her creative journey, and the upcoming clown shoot provides yet another opportunity to showcase their skills. With the help of a talented photographer and makeup artist, the shoot promises to be an exceptional visual experience.

While Ria didn't divulge too many details about the project, the anticipation of what's to come is already building. Their enthusiasm for the project and her willingness to take risks and try new things is admirable.

Ria’s upcoming project is a testament to the power of creativity and collaboration. It highlights the importance of exploring new opportunities and pushing boundaries in pursuit of one's creative goals. Their creative journey has been a rollercoaster ride filled with ups and downs, but her passion for fashion and music has remained constant.

58 views0 comments


bottom of page