Designer Interview: What a Joy! I Met Rachel Roy at Nordstrom Michigan Avenue

August 8, 2008 • Fashion


Designer Rachel Roy was in in town yesterday at Nordstrom Michigan Avenue, to make an appearance and present her Fall/Winter 2008 Collection. Fans and fashionistas showed up excited to meet Rachel (who was so very cordial) and to get a close look at the clothing! There was plenty in stock to try on, to buy and to order. Well that was the start of the evening…


I love the hombre coat on the left, and the dress on the right is a already a hit in Chicago – a few women wore it to the event!



When I met Rachel Roy I was struck not only by her beauty, but how genuinely warm she is. I was ready to get down to business with my questions for her, and she said, "take as much time as you need." She was not phased by the cameras, the line up of customers and fans ready to come into the roped-off area. She is one of those people that through all of the chaos calms you down. I knew immediately that I could learn from her, in the least to just chill out and follow her example of cool!

SCS: Who is the Rachel Roy woman? Who wears your clothing?

Rachel Roy: Hmm well, okay – without sounding like a cliche, I design clothes for who she aspires to be…strong and independent, modern and smart, there is a little bit of humor, and humility. She is is a mother… I don’t mean that she has to have children, but she takes care of others, it may be her husband, it may be her gay husband…I actually have a few of those!

SCS: I think of your clothes as very New York. Aren’t you from California?

Rachel Roy: Yes, [I’m] from Monterey but I am now in New York and went to school in New York. I did not go to school for fashion. I was in Sociology and then English. I feel that if you work hard in a given area, and may have to start at the bottom (I started as an intern) that you can be successful, and it does not have to be monetarily, but you can find your place in something that you love.

SCS: I love your mix of fabrics, a wool with chiffon, patterns and metallic elements, and how your clothing can be appropriate for so many different occasions, day and evening.

Rachel Roy: Yes, I like that balance of personal with the professional. To mix high end with low end is a totally modern way to dress. A woman can wear something from Target and mix it with other pieces. I feel a woman can wear the sexiest dress but she has to have the confidence from within to wear it.

SCS: Well, some of your pieces are not exactly inexpensive.

Rachel Roy: Oh I know! I do think of them as investment pieces. Pieces that make you happy so you wear them over and over.

SCS: Yes, we’re big on the "cost per wear" at Second City Style.

Rachel Roy: I really agree with that concept. When I was in school, I would save up and maybe just buy one special thing every six months. I would be able to invest in Blahniks, but I would have the sales people contact me when they were on sale. I felt that that I was probably spending as much as I would if I just bought what I could more frequently, so instead I waited and spend more at one time on pieces that I knew I would love.

SCS: Can you give us a little hint at what we will see for Spring ’08?

Rachel Roy: Let’s see… that is less than a month away… what can I reveal?

SCS: Yes, yes, come on, we want to know…

Rachel Roy: Well for Spring ’09, it is not about the clothing as much as the woman. There is a quote from Ghandi that inspired me: "Be the change that you want to see in the world." I designed a scarf that has the words repeated in a pattern.

SCS: What was the best advice that anyone ever gave you?

Rachel Roy: Andre Leon Tally is a good a friend of mine, and he is always drops jewels of knowledge, but his advice that I have embraced is about happiness. Being Happy and having the pleasure to choose things that make you happy and walk away from the things that do not.

SCS:  Where do you see yourself in ten years?

Rachel Roy: In ten years I would like to have a secondary line, a huge staff so I don’t have to work until 9 pm every night! I’d like more time to spend with my daughter, and for myself, to travel. I want to strike that balance that we are all trying to reach.

Photos: Robert F. Carl

— Carol Calacci

Nordstrom Michigan Avenue, 55 East Grand Ave 3rd Floor, 312-464-1515

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