Rachael Levine, owner, founder, and designer of ARAE, received her BFA in Fashion Design from Columbia College Chicago. During her studies, her interest in textile design grew and she attended a session at Haystack Mountain School of Craft during summer ’13. It was there where she learned and became fascinated with the shibori tie dye technique and the beautiful surroundings of Deer Isle, Maine, and used the inspiration as the base of her brand ARAE.
The following year she spent creating a clothing collection with additional accessories featuring shibori on boiled wool. She is inspired by nature and interprets the patterns and textures she sees onto thicker fabrics, which create a feeling of luxury. Including natural ombre’s of color achieved through the dye process, the final result is very raw and organic looking. Rachael uses her fabric in accessories and clothing, designing with functionality and details in mind. She is inspired by men’s and sportswear, and enjoys putting an edge on femininity.
House of Coco spent some time with Rachael to find out more…
What has been your biggest success since launching the business?
My business is still in it’s infant stage so I cannot pin point one stand out successful achievement. Everything has culminated to this moment, after doing my first tradeshow in Chicago and second New York in the first two months of launching, so far ARAE will be in 16 stores this fall/winter in the United States and online as well, which is a huge success in my eyes.
Is there anything you would do differently?
There are always things to improve on. I have learned a lot since launching my company in August and something I am going to do differently in the future includes having more product at shows and improving displays. You only have a couple seconds to impress people and I’ve learned from trial and error, and advice from industry people that it’s absolutely true.
How do you feel you brand differs from others on the market?
What makes ARAE unique is the handcrafted textiles. The tie dye technique is so powerful and I’ve really been able to master these patterns to get a strong image every single time, while still embracing the variation of color you cant help but get in the process. Every piece is special because no two can ever be the same. On top of that, ARAE stands out even more when the fabric is brought to life using it for accessories and clothing.
What is your most popular item that you sell?
The most popular item sold are the gloves. People have seen all types of winter gloves and are captured by the look and feel of my textiles. They’re also impressed how they are actually practical for the season too. They say they’ve never seen anything like it.
What can we expect to see from you in the rest of 2014?
In the rest of 2014 I will be experimenting with different colors in my dye techniques as well as creating new patterns. Digital prints are in the works, and so are combination fabrics.
What advice would you offer to other people thinking about launching their own business?
Think about what the one thing is you can do better than everyone else, take it, run with it, and share it with as many people as you can. It is important to be passionate about what you’re doing because not only will it give you endless motivation, but others will also see that and you are bound to be successful.
Where can people find out more?
Access to my brand ARAE is available at www.araearae.com