Rachel Roy is known not just as a fashion designer but as one of the most talked about designers in the business. If her latest spring looks at New York Fashion Week weren’t enough to catch peoples attention then regularly rubbing shoulders with Kim Kardashian, publicly battling a lawsuit with her ex husband and famously dressing Michelle Obama may have just done the trick.
Rachel Roy knows better than anyone that the world of fashion is never as glamorous as it may seem. Roy quite literally worked her way up from the very bottom, she was raised in a working class town in California, poverty was her reality. At the age of 14 her father dropped her off at the mall and told her she couldn’t come home until she found herself a job, she was living in America, the land of dreams, she knew she had to find her opportunity.
Thankfully she did find a job that day, one that soon after saw her become manager.
After graduating from Washington Adventist University Roy moved to New York City where she worked for free as a stylist for three years whilst working in retail jobs as and when she could, hardly the perfect start to her glamorous new life in the city. Her brilliant work ethic and determination is what got her noticed and all those years of working for free paid off as she was snapped up by Rocawear and soon became creative director.
Keen to design and get her work noticed she pitched her ideas to the company and got herself a business partner who happened to be Damon Dash, the man who later became her husband and the father of her two children. Her fashion label Rachel Roy was born and her dreams ultimately had all come true, she had made it.
It’s not always an easy ride…
However in 2009 behind the catwalk her fashion empire was crumbling around her, her marriage falling apart and her business crashing down. She divorced Raymond, was forced to sell her label and had to endure a bitter custody battle. She may have taken a hit but she is not afraid to stand tall and fight for her place in the industry once more.
She was recently asked to speak at the White House’s National Small Business Week where she spoke of her battle to succeed and shared her journey from the very bottom. Her words and her story are an inspiration for all those people who strive to be successful, who want to have their own business one day. She is a living example of how things can go very very wrong but through some hard work and determination they can also go very very right.
“You don’t lose that perspective when things are going well, when you have nicer things around you, immediately you have gratitude and pride.”