Meet Raey’s Creative Director
Meet Raey’s Creative Director

Meet Raey’s Creative Director

We can’t remember a time when Raey’s covetable pieces didn’t feature at the top of our new season wish lists. The brains behind the brand is creative director and head designer Rachael Proud – and we jumped at the chance to talk to her about sustainable fashion, what makes a brand current and why industry insiders can’t get enough of her aesthetic.
By Emma Bigger

All products on this page have been selected by our editorial team, however we may make commission on some products.

I started my career at Topshop in the 90s as an admin assistant. It was a time when Topshop was shaking up the high street and everyone was ready for something new and exciting. It was a fantastic time to work there, and I learnt so much. I worked a lot with the British Fashion Council and next-generation designers, and started designing my own pieces. I eventually moved on to become the design director for Christopher Kane before joining online retailer

When I first joined MATCHES, I had no confidence in my own designs. The owners, Ruth and Tom Chapman, had brought me in to rename their private label and shake up the brand. It was only when I started to see the response to my personal designs and the product we were putting out that I started to understand the Raey customer. We gained a lot of customer trust and support, and it’s gone from strength to strength ever since.

The Raey aesthetic is very masculine. We always use the word ‘menswear-y’ in the studio. We’re very garment focused – each piece has to earn its place in the collection. I find some areas of womenswear patronising – so often, designers feel they have to add a puff sleeve to an amazing jumper to make it more appealing. Raey takes the opposite approach.

Each piece has to EARN ITS PLACE in the collection.

Raey is minimalist but that doesn’t mean I am! If you came over, you’d see my home is really cosy and very lived in. I never really intended for Raey to have minimalist aesthetic – I’m just not a fussy dresser. I like to think about fabrics, silhouettes and fit. Full stop.

We make clothes that modern women want to wear. We’re not influenced by trends and we don’t have a single, overarching inspiration. However, we do think practically – pockets in everything and shapes you can run for a bus in, so you feel comfortable and like the best version of yourself. 

A real highlight was seeing Hailey Bieber in our sheepskin coat. She wore it with white men’s pants and a pair of UGGs – pretty cool! I love seeing someone wearing Raey in real life – that joy never goes away. I passed a girl in the street last weekend wearing one of our new coats and every time I get to say, “That’s a Raey coat,” I feel proud of how hard the team has worked and that someone has spent their money on it. It’s a great feeling.

Everyone from teenagers to 80-year-olds buy our ‘Fold’ jeans. They’re a pair of 50-inch jeans folded down at the waist; the legs are exaggerated but the waist is fitted. They’re a bestseller for a reason – everyone loves them.

Life is tough enough without BEING SUPER SERIOUS ABOUT CLOTHES.

My personal style is very low key. I love wearing a grey tracksuit with trainers or vintage Levi’s, a simple white t-shirt and heels. An exaggerated Raey tux jacket with leggings is another go-to look. I tend to wear the same pieces on repeat, but I am excited to have our new varsity jacket in my wardrobe – it launches this spring and comes in black and navy. It’s probably my favourite piece in the new collection. Of course, my wardrobe is full of Raey but I also love brands that complement it like old Celine and Proenza Schouler

My workspace is full of magazine tears and vintage clothes. The studio is a great airy space in east London next to the canal – it’s a very creative place to work. I am very organised in my own way, and I have an old-fashioned diary to hand, although it’s definitely more of a scrap book of ideas and things to Google. 

We’ve made the conscious decision to focus on responsible sourcing. Our cashmere and denim is all recycled or organic – certification is everything in the responsibility journey, so it’s a lot of work behind the scenes. The good news is we want to make those tough decisions so the customer can trust we’re giving them responsible options. Some areas are harder to improve than others, but we’re working all the time to step away from virgin fibres which are not organic.

We also celebrate diversity through our campaigns. We don’t re-touch – which is so crucial to the perception of the brand and what we stand for. We like the models to come to the shoot with their hair how they like it. We give them a face massage and some moisturiser and a dab of mascara and that’s it. We spend the day trying to make them laugh and we have fun – life is tough enough without being super serious about clothes.

Follow @RaeyOfficial on Instagram.


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