Style File: Interview with Fashion Designer Rachel Roy

Rachel Roy at Nordstrom Downtown Photo credit: Vivian Hsu/ Team Photogenic

Celebrated designer, writer, stylist and philanthropist, Rachel Roy, recently revealed her new shoe collection at the Nordstrom flagship, and we got a few moments to ask all about her new work, styling for Michelle Obama, and more.

Rachel Roy at Nordstrom Downtown. Photo credit: Vivian Hsu/ Team Photogenic

Seattleite: Can you tell us about the inspiration for your upcoming shoe collection? How was the transition from designing and producing clothing and accessories to footwear?

RR: The transition into footwear came quite naturally for me. When I am designing, and thinking about the Rachel Roy woman, I’m always thinking about the total look; the mood and story that an outfit can create. Shoes and other accessories have become such a large part of how a woman expresses herself and it’s great to have something to offer from head to toe.

Seattleite:  You’ve implemented philanthropy, social justice and activism to play a big role in your fashion design business. Tell us about why this is important to you and (if any) words of encouragement to our readers about the importance of business professionals (and artists) giving back.

RR: Giving back has always been important to me, and I’m so lucky to have the opportunity to support some incredible causes. When I collaborate with any non-profit or charity organization it’s important for the pieces to be a chance for the Rachel Roy woman to get involved also. I always look for causes where together we’re able to make a real difference in someone’s life. One of the unique aspects of fashion is that it’s a great conversation starter! My hope is that beyond giving back, the pieces that I create are able to start a conversation that helps get others involved..

Seattleite: You started out in 2005 and in just a matter of a few years have grown to be a forerunner in American fashion. Tell us about your growth and journey. How has your styling background impacted your perspective and strategy as a designer?

RR: One of the greatest things you can learn as a stylist is how to work hand in hand with someone else to bring their vision of themselves to life. When styling another person, and certainly when designing for other women, it’s important to project yourself beyond your own experiences and imagine how fashion is able to make others feel. Though styling I was able to see how hugely transformative fashion can be and designing allowed me to take that to the next level. The most enjoyable part of the design process for me is creating clothes that empower women to be their most confident, fearless selves.

Seattleite: Who was your favorite fashion designer on Project Runway?

RR: Don’t make me choose a favorite! The designers were all so different and talented in so many ways- Impossible to choose!

Seattleite: You’ve styled for some pretty big names. Can you tell us about what it was like to work with the First Lady?

The honor was so much more than having the First Lady wear my clothes. Mrs. Obama is a woman we can all look to as an example of incredible achievement, generosity and leadership. The joy for me is being able to make that woman feel beautiful.