Emi(ly) Peli - A Finnish noun for the word ‘play’
Hi, my name is Emily Rastas. I’m a designer, artist and creative, dedicated to bringing colour and happiness to the world. If you’re curious about my past and how Emipeli was created read more below.
I was born and raised in an old 70’s house in Geelong, Australia. I always had a passion for art and design and was so incredibly lucky to have a family that supported it. When I was 12 years old I asked my Mum to teach me how to sew after watching her make clothes and costumes for me all my life. I fell in love and pursued textiles to no end, through out high school I made it my goal to get into fashion at RMIT University in Melbourne - which I did! But only studied for one semester there until moving to Europe.
In my semester break of my first year uni, my parents took me to Europe to visit family. I met up with them in Vienna and almost instantly fell in love with the city, I was 18 years old and full of enthusiasm. It took a bit of convincing my parents, but in the end we cancelled my flight home and I moved to Austria with one suitcase.
I travelled, a lot. I half learned German, I immersed myself in the culture and art, I worked as an English teacher to kids, an Artist in Residence at a local high school, did many many freelance design jobs and spent the two years on personal projects to build my portfolio as a costume designer.
While living in Vienna I applied and was accepted to the London College of Fashion, however fees were too high for me at the time so I deferred. I desperately wanted to study and something about makeup and prosthetics appealed to me - it would align perfectly with costume and give me another skill. I enrolled at a course in Dublin, Ireland, found a house and met the housemates via Skype and flew over, now with 10 boxes instead of the one suitcase I’d arrived in Vienna with.
After I completed my studies I decided to move to a bigger city and pursue my freelance design career. I lived and worked in London for 12 months, I worked part time in a Jazz bar and worked on numerous projects throughout the year.
Having had four years away I realised I wanted to spend time with family and decided to move in with my sister in Brisbane for one year, it was here that Emipeli began. I lived right next to a park with a weekly market every Saturday, I was inspired by the makers stalls and began creating purses, scrunchies and wearable products out of PVC - an idea I had three years after making a PVC confetti skirt (see first picture below for reference)
My best friend, who I met in Vienna came up with the name Emipeli - I wanted something that reflected my Finnish roots, something playful and memorable. Emi(ly) Peli - A Finnish noun for the word ‘play’
In December 2018 I badly injured my lower back and developed chronic pain, I spent six months unable to move or work and my creativity suffered. All of 2019 was spent working on myself - mentally, physically and creatively. Throughout my journey I created the soothing tactile and sensory clothing range using my skills, knowledge and life experience.
Since Emipeli started I have explored multiple mediums of clothing, accessories and art. Colour is the defining characteristic in my work, bright, bold and clashing colours bring me joy and I’m driven by bringing it to others.