Brianna, a Nutley resident, has known she wanted to be a designer since she was eight years old – always sketching on napkins and menus whenever she was eating out. A senior at Montclair State University, Brianna is graduating with a Bachelors’s in Fashion Studies. After several internships and jobs in the fashion industry, Brianna took the leap and started her own swimwear brand. Read on to learn more about Brianna, her design journey, and her new swimwear line.
Before starting MSU, Brianna attended Wood Tobe-Coburn School, which is a career-driven college in New York. She graduated with an Associate’s Degree in Fashion Design in 2016. Wanting to further her education, she enrolled at started MSU in 2018 as a Fashion Studies Major who is preparing for graduation.
The young designer recently landed a job as an Assistant Designer where she was inspired by the creativity of it all. Brianna was fortunate enough to have several work opportunities in the fashion industry, but she always felt that she was meant for so much more. That when B.RizDesigns and the Balmy Collection came to life. Her new swimwear collection features several designs with fun pops of color, patterns, and inclusive sizing. Brianna’s second swim collection – Wanderlust Collection, just launched on June 14th.
Montclair Girl: Tell us what it was like growing up in Nutley.
Brianna Rizzi: Growing up in Nutley was definitely an experience. While I didn’t exactly fit in, I met some of the greatest people I know and I have memories that I will cherish for a lifetime. It’s a close-knit town with an “everyone knows everyone” type of community, but that really helped me build some ever-lasting friendships. And for that, I will always cherish the town of Nutley.
MG: Tell us about your swimwear line.
BR: My swimwear line came to life because I knew I wanted to launch a fashion line, and with summer being right around the corner, I thought to myself, “why not start with the one thing everyone absolutely needs?” and that was swimwear! I love bright colors and prints that are not traditionally worn every day. I think being bold is hard for people, but when it comes to swimwear, it seems a little easier to spice it up. Swimwear can tend to be a sensitive area for people because of their perception of the “perfect body.” So, I wanted to create a swim line with the message of, “all bodies are beautiful.”
I want to spread that message and scream it from the highest point of every Jersey shore boardwalk. Body positivity is a huge factor in what I do and there is no Photoshopping whatsoever in my pictures, and there never will be. We live in such a harsh society where perfection is a goal, but in reality, we are all already perfect in our own, unique ways. I want everyone to feel beautiful as themselves, not what the media wants them to be. If my swim can help people feel comfortable and beautiful, then I am doing my job correctly, and that warms my heart.
MG: What are your goals for this year?
BR: This year, my goal is to grow my business and launch more collections. I just launched my second swim collection, the Wanderlust Collection. I want to continue to challenge myself, keep pushing boundaries in the world of fashion, and continue to produce collections that will have everyone filling up their closets.
MG: What’s a typical day look like for you?
BR: A typical day would consist of working my Assistant Designer job from 9:30AM until 5:30PM. Typically after work, I come home and continue to grind out work; balancing classes and homework at MSU as well as creating and working on my label, B.RizDesigns, and all its future collections. That doesn’t even include making time for family, friends, and my furbaby, Stella. It is a crazy balance, but I love every second of this chaos. It continues to push me to where I need to be, so needless to say, I adore this crazy rollercoaster ride of life right now.
MG: What has been the highlight in your career/life so far?
BR: If you would’ve asked me this question a month ago, I would have definitely said interning at Marchesa was the highlight of my career so far. I gained so much knowledge and hands-on experience during that internship. As an intern, I was given the opportunity to take part in a Marchesa Bridal Show and I was featured in British Vogue for being part of it. However, when you ask me now, I have to say that the launch of my own line is the absolute highlight. I had such pride in working and being acknowledged for my work for someone else’s brand, but now working for myself and having the final say in my own vision is just a dream come true. It has been one of the scariest and most thrilling experiences in my life. As afraid as I was, I am extremely proud of what I have done in just a month and I am so beyond excited to see what the future will hold for me and my brand.
MG: What is your favorite restaurant in Montclair or Nutley?
BR: Nothing beats going to Leone’s in Montclair and enjoying the most perfect salad, the Burrata Salad. Being Italian, I love my cheeses, but especially Burrata! To finish off this perfect meal, I almost always make it a point to stop by Red Eye Cafe to get a vanilla chai latte; it’s an amazing choice. If you’re in the Nutley area and haven’t experienced it yet, you have to make it a point to stop by the Nutley Diner and order a chicken finger wrap. It’s to die for, but make sure you get it with honey mustard and then get extra honey mustard, almost everyone in Nutley will tell you the same.
MG: What is your favorite boutique in Montclair?
BR: In Montclair, I love to go thrifting. It’s an amazing way to pass time and you never know what goodies you’ll come across! Throwing together vintage pieces and rare finds is always so exhilarating to me. But if I’m not out thrifting, you can catch me shopping around at South Moon Under when I’m shopping in the area.
MG: What is your favorite thing to do in Essex County?
BR: One of my favorite things to do is to go to Turtleback Zoo and spend the day walking around. I absolutely love animals and nothing makes me happier than spending the day with them and good company. And those swan paddle boats during the warmer weather, how could you go wrong?!
MG: Tell us about another business in the area you admire.
BR: She may not be in the immediate area, but I truly admire and look up to Stella McCartney and the business empire she’s built. She actually inspired me to become a designer. I originally saw one of her fashion shows when I was about seven years old and I was just in awe of her pieces at such a young age. Growing up and continuing to learn more about her and what she stands for, I discovered that she is a vegan designer and that stuck out to me being that I’m such an animal lover. The way she carries herself as an individual and the overall look and vibe of her style and designs is just so elegant.
MG: What is your favorite outdoor place to spend time in Nutley?
BR: If I’m outdoors in Nutley, it typically includes me going on a walk through Yanticaw Park in Nutley with my dog, Stella. The park stretches throughout the whole town of Nutley and has some really beautiful views, whether it’s the waterfall, the water fountain pond, or the stream that stretches throughout, it’s just really impossible not to love. We always end those walks with a quick trip to Rita’s for some ice and a pup-cup.
MG: What is your favorite place to work out in Essex County?
BR: Everyone that knows me knows that I work out with my trainer, Dalida, but I nick-named her Deathlida (rightfully so). I mostly work out with her, but when I’m not going through one of her workouts, I work out at Blink in Nutley.
MG: Where do you go out with friends in the area?
BR: Most girls’ nights start with a dinner out somewhere, and we’re always trying to keep it fresh, so we go anywhere and everywhere if it means there’s good vibes, food, and drinks! Overall, it really depends on the vibe of the night to see what we’re actually going to do. If we’re keeping it low-key we’ll usually stop by a town bar like Corks, Happy Hour, or Michael’s Roscommon. But if we’re going for a full-blown girls’ night, we usually make our way into Hoboken and let the night take its course.
MG: What is something you think needs to come to the area?
BR: I’m a big lover of guacamole, tacos, and margaritas. So if a solid Mexican restaurant decided to make its way into the area, you would definitely find me there.