In Conversation With The Fashionable and Fascinating Rachel Antonoff
Here at Brand Assembly our mission is to assemble a community of some of the most promising emerging contemporary talent in fashion. Throughout this process we’ve also been lucky enough to have the opportunity to further get to know our community and what makes each designer tick. Enter Rachel Antonoff, whose wit, quirky design and clear ambition are indicative of what makes an inspiring leader in both fashion and life. We’re thrilled to continue our ongoing series with The Style Line by sharing our recent chat with Rachel, who invited us to her awe-inducing new design studio where she chatted with us about her thoughts on contemporary fashion and her recent Lord & Taylor partnership. Discover the experience below and head to The Style Line to read a second part of the interview with Rachel.
Please introduce yourself!
I’m Rachel Antonoff! I think a lot of things have changed... we’ve expanded as a team, started doing transitional seasons including Pre-Fall and Holiday - they’re fun and great for sales! We’ve also moved into a bigger space which is really exciting.
Talk to us about your new partnership with Lord & Taylor - how do you think this will add to the Rachel Antonoff community?
It’s really exciting for us in general to be in such an iconic department store. I grew up in New Jersey where mall culture rules, so Lord & Taylor is awesome. What Brand Assembly has created is so cool because I think normally in retail there’s a pretty thick line between department store/big-time business and specialty stores. I can’t really think of an example where those have intersected before. This is such a cool opportunity because of that! To be able to be in a department store like that, and have that exposure but have it feel like we’re in a perfectly curated small boutique is a dream.
How would you describe the contemporary fashion design community in New York and what have you learned from the market?
I think the community here in general is lovely and much nicer than most people think when you imagine fashion here in New York City. Most of the designers I know are just really nice people and really down-to-earth with varied interests. They aren’t characters out of The Devil Wears Prada or Clueless, which is unfortunately how I think the fashion industry is so often viewed. There’s also a real camaraderie with the designers in this neighborhood. It’s amazing how small this area is, just even in the Garment District. Everybody I know anyway, are all so nice about sharing contacts and it feels very team-oriented. It’s so nice to commiserate with people.
What do you assemble daily?
Definitely in the vague, everything. I’m constantly trying to examine things and figure out how we can do things better and more efficiently. We roughly have weekly team meetings and in the beginning it was like, what’s the point? We’re just reviewing stuff we all know. But every week I find that there is something new and something that wasn’t being examined closely enough. I am trying to constantly be aware of everything that’s happening and making sure it’s all going as it should. More specifically, I’d say our website is a constant daily building process. Like a plant that needs so much water!
What are you looking forward to the most when it comes to holiday-inspired style and what three essentials from your recent collection serve as a great starting point for a festive look and why?
I’m really looking forward to a little bit of shimmer. I’m not always a shine person but lately I’ve just been looking forward to it! It’s just fun! Even though you don’t need an excuse to wear anything, the holidays are a great time to whip that stuff out. I think a really great classic party dress is the thing to have in your arsenal. Our Shira jumpsuit is something I’m also particularly excited about - for a few reasons. We’ve got some real metallic going on, so you kind of look like the Tin Man! The bow aspect - I love it’s literal take on the holidays, you yourself are the gift.
I also just like the idea of anything that’s modernized. So wearing fancy pants to a party as opposed to a gown. Suits are so easy - I’m not so into the “borrowed from the boys” because it’s like, well why? It’s easy. For me, I wear our suits with a button-down shirt and flats, but I can see the girl whose going to be wearing it with no shirt underneath and heels and it’s like really sexy!