From one of the fashion capitals of the world comes Suzanne Rae Pelaez, a Brooklyn-based fashion designer who gorgeously blends minimalistic with chic styles.
New York Fashion Week is no stranger to the five-year-old Suzanne Rae women’s clothing line, and Haute Living notes her as “the next designer to watch.” Her line represents women who work hard and make a graceful statement through their appearance.
Pelaez welcomed YHM into her Brooklyn studio to chat about her work and motivations.
After studying Economics and Art History at Bryn Mawr College in Pennsylvania, Pelaez’s artistic eyes led her to the Big Apple where she soon broke into the art gallery industry. Surrounding herself with art opened her mind to the sophistication of the New York scene and motivated her to make a change.
“I wanted to be more hands on with the art. I chose fashion because I was always interested in it, mentions Pelaez.”
Later attending Parsons, The New School for Design in New York City, she knew right away that she wanted to start her own line. Embracing the phrase of “being a starving artist,” Pelaez began a journey not just to design, but also to create a legacy.
“I have my own thoughts and philosophy on fashion and giving fashion a purpose – a deeper meaning than what a lot of people think,” states Pelaez.
Her team comprises of a few interns and Lotte, the Fashion Director. They focus and craft three collections at a time, taking on different ideas to continue to develop their own aesthetic.
“It’s always wearable and plays with different concepts of classic and modern versus what’s feminine,” mentions Pelaez.
Finding inspiration in everything, there are key factors her team keeps in mind when working on a new line. A woman’s day-to-day activities and views help create a path for their design process.
“What does the modern woman need? What we need and want is based on our everyday lives and how we choose to change. Clothing is really a big part of that,” states Pelaez.
The Suzanne Rae clothing line is at an exciting point. Showcasing at New York Fashion Week and having pieces being sold at select stores such as Henrik Vibskov Boutique are just a few headlines for the brand.
“I chose to name my line Suzanne Rae because I know that as I change and grow so would my collection. Every season is like a new exploration,” states Pelaez.
Although she is heavily influenced by her surroundings, Pelaez strives to keep her line from being too “New York Centric.” In the next five years she hopes for her brand to be more of a household name.
“A part of our philosophy is trying to be egalitarian in a way. I would love to be able to reach out to a lot more people with the clothing and share that philosophy,” states Pelaez.
Her line attracts a wide range of artistic and intellectual women.
“It’s a lifestyle because of its wearability, mentions Pelaez. “We take body types into consideration.”
Although she could not dive into all the details of her Spring/Summer 2014 collection, we were able to get a sneak peek of one of the fabrics she uses! She is going for a High-Tec, environmentally friendly approach.
“I think it’s important for [fabric companies] to work on environmentally friendly and sustainable concepts of Mom and Pop’s businesses. That is important to sustain American fashion,” states Pelaez.
“A children’s line would be awesome.
Thinking further into the future, Pelaez hopes to create a second line to expand her creativity.
“I would do a second line whether it’s children, men or a lower-priced line. A children’s line would be awesome. Kids can wear anything!” dishes Pelaez.
With a background in fashion and economics, Pelaez is more than the next fashion designer to watch. She is a motivational woman and mother to adorable daughter Ella.
Like Pelaez, we hope our readers break away from the norm and be modern in their work and creations. Don’t forget to shop the Suzanne Rae classic and timeless collection.
By Yegide Matthews
Photographs by Allan E. Schoening – Fall/Winter 2013 Look Book