We never turn down an opportunity to chat with official Styleite girl crush Rachel Roy, so we jumped at the chance to catch up with the designer at Bloomingdale’s while celebrating her fall collection. She chatted with us about giving back, empowering girls, and the scheduling drama that’s taking over the fashion world.
We love all of your charity initiatives. How important do you think it is for designers to give back?
Anything I do, whether it be a personal appearance or a party, if there can’t be a charity tie-in, then I don’t want to do it. It doesn’t even have to be mine — I would welcome it to be anything because there are so many causes. I just feel like it’s the least I can do. I’m in the business of making goods. Making a tote, it’s not something that’s hard to do — it’s something I’m good at. I feel like I’m not doing enough.
But you do so much! How do you balance your design work with philanthropy?
There was a time about eight years ago, when it was just overwhelming. I was in Africa at a charity that I still work with today. Just seeing what real life is like and knowing what I pay for things, I had a moment where I definitely broke down. I just had to work through it in my mind that until I have a big enough voice to really make a difference, I can’t do the women and the children the justice that I want. So instead of giving up and saying, “Okay, I’m not going to do this anymore. I’m just going to focus 100% on this orphanage.”, I wanted to do both. I realized that the harder that I work on this, the more beneficial it can be for that. There’s no reason it can’t go hand in hand.
Your charitable work focuses on women and children. What advice do you have about how can we empower girls?
The way I’m trying to empower by daughters is by example, and that’s by taking care of myself and choosing to work in a field that I truly love. One of the things I tell them when I leave for business trips is, “God forbid, if anything happens to me, mommy has given you the tools to take care of yourself. As long you’re a happy person, you’re a successful person.” In a crowd of people, the ones who stand out are the ones who are truly happy.
And we have to ask, what do you think about the Fashion Week schedule controversy?
So here’s the thing about the schedule for Fashion Week: I know for a fact that the people helping to decide the schedule are designers themselves. Not only do they thoroughly understand the hardships, and when you have to order your fabric, and when everything has to be in to make deadlines, they understand the sales aspect of it and market, and it is what it is. I personally don’t think anything can be done about it, and if it can, I would love to hear a reasonable idea that works for everybody. It’s being decided by people who actually really, really care, so what can you do?