20 Sense

20 SENSE: Rachel Antonoff, Fashion Designer

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Fashion designer Rachel Antonoff‘s career is a testament to the power of keeping your friends and family close by at all times–especially when that crowd is equally as creative (she’s been known to bounce ideas back and forth with brother Jack Antonoff, of the bands Fun. and Bleachers, and his girlfriend Lena Dunham is a close pal who she’s collaborated with on her fashion films; lookbook models have included actress Aubrey Plaza and singer Tennessee Thomas). Not to mention the fact that she occasionally sources directly from her family’s history bank for design inspiration, as when she used a quirky wallpaper print found on her Grandmother’s bathroom walls. Antonoff’s designs represent fashion at its most fun–they are clothes that don’t take themselves too seriously, always treading in a world bent on whimsy and play. Her films–whether they’re depicting the pursuit of a crush (based on her parents, no less), or turning a nature documentary-style lens on a pair of best friends–amplify this lighthearted quality. While much of the fashion realm can be considered exclusive or harsh, Antonoff’s work reminds me why I got involved in it all in the first place, bringing me back to the suburban New Jersey bedroom where Vogue spreads moonlighted as the perfect escape. Below, I happily pick her brain on work, friendship, and love.
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1. How old are you? 32
2. Describe your trajectory since turning 20 up until now. Well, I started designing when I was about 24. At the time, it was something I fell into and then it surprisingly turned into a real job. Before that, I was freelance writing.
3. What has surprised you most about your twenties? What has gone exactly as expected? I never really had expectations as things typically don’t go as expected. Becoming a designer was never something I had planned and that development made my twenties feel really exciting and full of possibility!
4. Do you feel like you’ve found your niche or are you still searching? Both! I am comfortable and happy with what I do, but I think it’s important to always be searching.
5. What did your twenties teach you about romantic love? Friendship? That if love and friendship truly co-exist, friendship can continue to exist once romantic love has ended.
6. What motivates you? Coffee.
7. Where do you get the most inspiration? How do you snap out of a creative rut? Everywhere! And when I find out, I’ll let you know.
8. Biggest pet peeve about the fashion world? Favorite aspect of it? The misinterpretation that it’s fluffy. The wonderful, weird, smart people who work in it.
9. If you had to create a twenties survival kit what would it include? Oh man, so hard to say! I think probably just friends.
10. You’ve been known to create videos or throw fun parties to debut new collections in lieu of a show. Why do you prefer these different formats? We did presentations for years and they were great. Videos are really just an easier to distribute and cost-effective way to show the ideas behind a season.
11. Designers often talk about the girl or guy they make clothes for. If you had to describe your “muse” strictly by personality traits, what would they be? She would be smart. Confident. Silly. Not too caught up in what other people think. Dresses for herself.
12. You seem to keep your family and friends very close, how does that inform your collections and your overall business? My friends and family are a constant source of inspiration, opinions, amusement, etc. What I do has never felt separate from my life and these people are really the largest component of my life so one thing very much blends into another.
13. What is the best advice you could give someone just starting out who wants to follow a similar career path? Don’t think, just do.
14. And last but not least, what would we be most surprised to find you google deep-diving? Rape in the animal kingdom.
To read more interviews like this, clicky click.
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Image c/o Hello Giggles

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