This East Coast designer knows how West Coasters should dress for rain

An exclusive VM interview with Rachel Comey.

October 23, 2015

By Ashley Sparrow

Known for artful custom textiles, graceful modern silhouettes, and covetable footwear, New York-based designer Rachel Comey has reinvented the “cool girl” uniform. Those who subscribe to the cult of Comey include Cindy Sherman, Parker Posey, Michelle Williams and Maggie Gyllenhaal to name a few. Last night (Oct. 22), One of a Few hosted a trunk show featuring Comey’s designs, giving Vancouverites the first peek at the fall collection. We caught up with the designer herself, who gave us insight into her design inspiration and philosophy—as well as some much-needed fashion tips for rainy weather attires.

What were your earliest style influences growing up in Hartford, Connecticut? The teenage kids next door were an interesting fashion influence. It was the late ’70s and the older boys would all go shirtless with only their Levis with the frayed hems, a neck chain, and clogs. The girls would part their hair in the centre with large hoop earrings and string bikinis. They had a pool and a firebird car that they washed alot. I watched them from my big wheel amazed at their confidence and freedom.

Can you name one event that has had a lasting impact on your design career? It is important to have a few failures and then overcome them. It makes you fearless.

Your fashion shows often deviate from the typical runway format (ie. dinner-party shows with yoga teachers and dancers as models) Why? Doing things that feel relevant and interesting rather than what is expected or considered normal or ‘industry standard’.

Your online presence emerged after you were already an established designer. What prompted this? Everything comes in due time. Fashion is a complicated business, constantly evolving and changing. I think it was just a moment in my business when we were ready to look at it online.

Your designs clearly revolve around core elements: modern, sophisticated, playful, useful, functional. Do you think these will remain? We aren’t married to any one product or category. We are a company of designers and producers with a mission to create provocative and interesting collections, but with all the core elements you mentioned.

What is your daily routine, your creative process? I like to take walks around Manhattan, ride the subway, travel… it always spurs ideas for me. I don’t have a specific routine. I like to mix it up.

Do you have a go-to outfit? No, I don’t. I like to change, experiment, try new things.

What are some fashion pieces that can keep Vancouverites dry and stylish this autumn?
I often wear clogs in the rain in NYC. It keeps me up off the puddles. We have many to choose from. Fun outerwear seems like a great option for Vancouverites. They should put our pretty pink Trail Coat over their yoga pants to mix it up. Or our Lilt coat with hands on the pockets for some added whimsy!


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