Three Looks with Rachael Wang
5 years ago by
Rachael Wang is a woman who knows exactly who she is. This sense of self is even more evident in her sartorial choices. They are purposeful, practical, and even vegan. This California native now runs Rachael Wang Studio, a creative consulting agency in New York. Read on to find out how her style has morphed over the years and her adherence to a vegan lifestyle.
Describe your style in 3 words.
A little silly
What is your ideal outfit or uniform to wear every day?
Vintage jeans, men’s banker stripe shirt, sneakers
Who are your style icons?
Whitney Houston, Georgia O’Keefe, Carolyn Bessette-Kennedy, George Harrison, Miles Davis, anyone in a uniform…
In what ways has your style changed over the years? Are there pieces you loved then that you wouldn’t wear now, and why?
Growing up, my favorite form of creative expression was getting dressed. I loved the fantasy and transformative power of fashion. Now that I have a creative career though, I spend my time and creativity on the work that I do, and I spend a lot less time and energy on myself. I still love to wear fashion but now I gravitate towards more durable, practical hard working pieces and less fantasy. I think it’s great when fashion is fun and not taken too seriously and I’m lucky that my mom created a really safe and nonjudgemental environment for me to take risks and rebel starting at a very very young age.
Vegans aren’t hard to come by these days, but you are not an average vegan. Can you tell us about your journey to a vegan closet?
I’ve been eating a plant-based diet for about 5 years now and last year I was just fed up with being a hypocrite. I went to really great lengths to avoid meat and dairy products but I wore mass produced leather goods and it just didn’t feel right.
I was excited to have a more simplistic and practical wardrobe and for it to better reflect my values and priorities, like decreasing my consumption of leather, an industry that has a devastating impact on the environment. These are complicated issues though because one of my favorite brands ever, Brother Vellies, really prioritize sustainable practices, material sourcing, fair wages, skill training and empowerment through employment in developing countries. They mindfully use by-product leather in all their shoes and bags and I think that this is their best-case scenario. Making accessories out of synthetic materials that don’t break down in our landfills isn’t a sustainable solution.
There is so much work that needs to be done from research and development to design. But there are some really exciting companies out there like Modern Meadow, which is developing the technology to grow leather in a lab completely eliminating the cruelty and environmental repercussions of industrialized leather farming and Adidas’ Parley collaboration and Volcom’s use of Econyl which both upcycle plastic waste from our landfills and oceans into fiber to make sneakers and swimsuits.
What were the biggest challenges with this new approach to dressing?
The biggest challenge with aligning my values with my fashion consumption is obviously finding products that are made ethically and sustainably and have a high level of design. But I am really excited to dedicate myself to finding those companies and brands and supporting them as best I can. I’m not perfect and it’s a work in progress but it matters enough to me that I’m willing to put in the work and I would love for your readers to share their favorite sustainable and ethical brands and products with me!
Trench, Nanushka; Checkered Shirt, Calvin Klein; Sandals, Tibi; Bag, Mexico City market.
Blazer and Striped Shirt, Tibi; Jeans, Agolde; Tennis Shoes, Nike Air Max 93 Menthol.
Lovely, thoughtful approach to, as she mentions, a very complex issue. Wonderful that she is supporting brands that are taking meaningful steps towards sustainability — and so stylishly! Thanks for beautiful (inside and out) post!
Love this…hope the world evolves into this concept….ponyskin handbags, shoes…how hideous is that
Sorry to be this kind of person, but I see this all the time when women are describing their aesthetic and it really bothers me: the word “simplistic” is not equivalent to “simple” or “simplified”–“simplistic” means “treating complex issues and problems as if they were simpler than they are.” Its connotations are negative (synonyms are facile, oversimplified, superficial, or naive). If you use this word to describe a pared-down or unadorned look you are not saying what you mean and you’re doing yourself a disservice!
I’m hearing a voice that rings true ! Whenever I hear the statements :
I’m a vegetarian but I eat fish.
As far as I know fishes are not vegetable
I’m a vegan for ethical reasons.
I hear but then notice , lovely Italian loafers .
I try wear only ethical clothing .
From behind these Gucci glasses .
Three cheers for Rachel . A voice that respects the language. A voice that speaks the truth, something that is becoming scarce. A voice that says I work to align my values with my consumption .
We are losing the power of words , thanks Rachel .
Killed it !!! *_*
It is SO difficult to avoid clothing (including accessories), household goods, appliances, tech devices, etc. that will not languish forever in our ever-growing landfills. I try to make my own clothes and buy vintage/used items as much as possible. But that’s just scratching the surface. We’ve got a major problem, that’s going to get worse.
Thanks for this post. I need more of such voices. Badly. I am so lost when it comes to buying clothes, etc. I even made this news year’s resolution not to buy any clothes for a year and i’m sticking to it ( i only bought one bag by Chylak, which is a leather one but it’s a limited production ) . I wanted to give myself time to think of ways to be a planet- friendly consumer but i’m afraid i haven’ t come up with any ideas yet…
I would be greatful if Atelier D could explore the difficult and needed topic of responsible consumerism in its further posts.
C’est le plastique qui m’horripile !
J’evite les containers, les sacs, bouteilles et autres autant que possible et recycle l’inevitable.
Magnifique photos – merci merci pour vos reportages ….. la France est un peu oubliée !!! plus d’articles en français, bon je ne vous en veux pas c’est juste mon petit confort qui n’est pas nourri….. bises à Garance
I love her approach to style with a focus on sustainability. It’s refreshing.