AN INTERVIEW WITH RACHEL ROY

KCFW season S/S ‘19 is proud to present Rachel Roy and her ready-to-wear designs on our runway Saturday, September 29th. Roy recently has received a two-year position as UN Ambassador. Her platform is to empower women. Celebrity clients that Rachel Roy has dressed throughout her career are: Michelle Obama, Diane Sawyer, Kim Kardashian, Kate Hudson, Jennifer Garner, Tyra Banks, Wendy Williams, and Penélope Cruz.

KCFW Fashion Editor, Rebecca Mardikes, interviewed Rachel Roy on her label’s belief and how it translates into her fashion designs.

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KCFW: “Kansas City Fashion Week loves your brand’s mission and message. What initially motivated you to create your label’s belief as, ‘our mission is to empower women and cultivate change in the world through a language of style. That helps women develop their own voice, take risks, and design the life they wish to live.’ Explain what your journey like of identifying this important message? When did you first decide to merge a mission statement with style?”

RR: “When I launched the brand almost 15 years ago, it was very clear to me that the ethos of the brand would be to support women, no matter what stage of life they were in, to design a life that they wanted. I believe that style, individual and unique personal style, can help women on their journey through defining what it is that makes them happy, what it is that makes them stand up a bit taller, and feel the most like themselves. My design approach ebbs and flows with what women want and what adds joy to their lives but the one thing that never changes is my commitment to growing as women and how we create a better world for the next generation.”

KCFW: “Our team is excited to have you on board with KCFW this upcoming season. We have started to notice a trend of designers selecting shows outside of events like New York Fashion Week. Can you describe to us how you first recognized KCFW and what motivated you to contact and participate in our show?”

RR: “Though we have offices in both California and New York City, we have always made it a point to travel the entire country (and the world) to meet women, find out what is important to them and what they need in their lives to help make getting dressed effortless and fun. It’s an important driving force in how we design and how we fit our clothes. Kansas City is a vibrant community that loves fashion and we were so impressed with what the KCFW organization has built!”

KCFW: “Congratulations on becoming a UN Ambassador! What an incredible accomplishment. What do you believe were the steps and tasks that ultimately put you on track to being tapped for this two-year position? What is your full set of responsibilities and how will you use this position to propel the mission of your brand to the media and public?”

RR: “It’s a great honor to work with the UN – a dream come true! For the next two years, I will partner with the UN to help advance opportunities for girls and women in technology and entrepreneurship. One of the programs I’m creating for them is a workshop for International Women’s Day in March that brings together real and actionable information for women, just starting out or established, that are looking to start or grow their business. Philanthropy and entrepreneurship has been a part of my life since a very early age when my parents took us to India and Africa and I saw women and children in great need. I built my business on a founding principle of creating jobs for women in vulnerable areas so they could work and in turn create a better life for themselves and their children.”

KCFW: “What inspires your designs daily? What can we look forward to seeing on the runway this upcoming season? What are your current favorite trends and how will those be represented on the runway?”

RR: “Life and life experiences inspire me. Traveling greatly inspires me! Distilling those experiences and then creating something that women feel wonderful in and that helps them create a personal style is what we strive for everyday. We love prints, colors, and the unexpected. We mix leopard and stripes and florals with gingham – we look for mixes that look unique and less about following a trend. We believe that trends are a step away from being out of fashion, we are more interested in making a woman feel fresh and modern with her clothing choices with items that will last in her wardrobe for many years.”

KCFW: “What are some ways that your design team resembles your brand’s message in the clothing designs? What does this process of design and production look like for you and your team?”

RR: “Design is an on-going and organic process. We start a season with what’s been inspiring us – whether it’s a place we’ve traveled, an art exhibition, fabrics, even a color or print. Then we start to put the pieces together – sketching what we would want to wear in those specifics colors and prints and what our customers are asking for. The collection grows from there and we edit and refine it, adding prints, color, texture and detail, until we feel like we’ve created this living and breathing entity that stands for something. There’s nothing like the design process to inspire and challenge you to grow.”

Rachel Roy continues to inspire us all in the fashion industry to dedicate our lives to our craft and make an even greater personal impact in our community. We are honored the have Rachel Roy as a featured designer at Kansas City Fashion Week.

-Rebecca Mardikes
KCFW Fashion Editor