Scratch-n-sniff: Rachel Comey

As a so-called lover of fashion, I don’t always know as much as I’d like about the designers who started and/or are changing the game. One reason being I could never afford any of it – but that doesn’t really hold up in a court of law (what law? MY LAW). Fashion is an art form worth appreciating from afar. Not to mention the work these people are doing is influencing my tastes and the brands I can afford every single day. Am I not the fashion equivalent of a baseball enthusiast who only knows the names of the most famous players? (Just met my sports analogy quota for the year.)

In an attempt to better educate myself vis a vis the fashion industry, I will be conducting semi-regular internet scratch-n-sniffs on various ones I’m curious about. While I’d prefer the fruits of my research to be shared in the form of a diarama, I’ll settle for this blog, lack of 3rd dimension notwithstanding.

I’d like to start with a designer who, if not necessarily a household name, is definitely Someone. Perhaps she’s a loft name.

Enter: Rachel Comey. Dressing hip librarians since 2001.

Girl’s workin an angle I couldn’t dream of

As an owner of a Rachel Comey-less wardrobe, I’m not sure it makes sense to say she’s my favorite designer, but seeing as I can barely lift my jaw off the floor when I look at her recent stuff, it’s safe to say she’s up there. Shk-shk-shk. Those were grains of salt lest you forget my above comment about being an amateur. That said, look at this stuff and tell me her clothes don’t speak a thousand glorious words.

Comey started the company on credit cards and unemployment checks after being fired from her job at Theory in 2001, when I was concurrently thinking a lot about liquid black eyeliner and large hoop earrings. Her reason for termination? Having her own line of men’s shirts on the side that she didn’t tell her boss about, merely because she didn’t think he’d care. Let this stand as a reminder to tell your boss about your menswear lines ASAP. Or don’t. You could be the next Rachel Comey.

Salary be damned, she decided to go full-throttle with her line. Thus, her brand began, albeit one focused solely on menswear. Tear.

AND THEN: shit went next level. David Bowie wore one of her shirts on Letterman and everyone was like OMG WHO MADE THAT!? Rightly so, I’m sure, but in a turn of utter misfortune I cannot find a picture. My googling skills have failed me. Anyway, nothing like a little David Bowie to make you realize your aesthetic might also work for the chic and modern woman, right? Almost! Kind of.

She was making undoubtedly dapper menswear and stuff when word got out that women were buying her clothing in small sizes from Barney’s. Women? Yep! Because of David Bowie? Maybe, probably not. I don’t know! Comey then realized she might benefit from broadening her focus. Apparently women wanted cool, easy, structured silhouettes too! And still do.

~Moment of gratitude for those chill females stirring shit up at Barney’s, without whom I wouldn’t be writing this today.~

Cool on a man, so much cooler on a woman

Cool on a man, so much cooler on a woman

What I love and admire about Rachel Comey is her ability to make a woman feel so boyishly cool, without compromising her comfort or femininity. My favorite thing in the world aside from cookie dough is when she swaddles women in the most luxe fabrics and fresh silhouettes and sends them off looking like relaxed and benevolent queens. Is that not the ultimate compliment to women?

In addition to dressing the smart and cool downtown girl’s body, she’s become famous for the craftsmanship with which she approaches her footwear (for both sexes). Specifically, the clog. Comey brought the clog back and I’m not complaining. I personally don’t own a clog but not for lack of looking!

Dear estranged rich distant relative I’m unaware exists, call me about that trust fund. I need some Rachel Comey clogs.

Who couldn’t get behind this downtown housecat vibe? We have the rest of our lives to show skin! Like in the shower and any time we have to take off all the layers. But only then.

Oh – what was that? You were just wondering what Rashida Jones thinks of all this? Well you’re in luck! Jones described Comey’s clothes as “feminine without being overt. They are simple and structural and incredibly wearable but not at all boring. The common thread is that anytime I wear something designed by Rachel, someone asks me about it.”

Very well said, Rashida, I couldn’t agree more. That is, if I owned any of her stuff.

And finally, a word from the woman of the hour:

“I don’t love the concepts of brands, I really like for the staff, myself, the customers, and every woman to really find items that they like and fit into their wardrobe in a unique way and that works for them. I don’t want to dictate anything to anybody, I want it to be a bit more of a discovery. There can be dialogue, but a bit more of an experience to find something fresh and fun. Whatever it is that makes you feel good.”

You make me feel good, Rachel Comey.

sources/read more:

NYTimes: Rachel Comey Aims for a Bigger Slice of Fashion’s Pie

The Insider: Rachel Comey

Refinery29: Rachel Comey Talks Resort & Working Retail

TheCut: Rachel Comey

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