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MEET THE OT TEAM: DESIGNER RACHAEL D'ALESSANDRO

OneTeaspoon's Head Of Design, Rachael D'Alessandro, is creatively unique and headstrong. Let's just say she knows how to get what she wants and can bring an idea to life. It's very exciting for a brand to have a designer like Rachael delivering a strong creative with clear vision each collection.

Rachael has an interesting story, so we wanted to share some of her personal insights with you. We sat down with Rachael for a 5 minute chat, talking about her recent design inspiration trip to NYC. We particularly love her quotes to live by and 2020 mantra. Check it out below...

Hi Rachael what is your role at OneTeaspoon?
Head of Design

Where are you from and where do you live now?
I’m from England – I’ve lived in a few places, but mainly London. I now live in Sydney, Balgowlah.

When and how did you come to join the OneTeaspoon family?
I joined the madhouse nearly 4 years ago!! I came across OneTeaspoon very randomly. I’d heard of the brand years back when my friend in London went travelling over here and by chance worked in store and told me to check this crazy, cool brand out. At that point we weren’t stocked in the UK, so I checked them out and thought they were cool, but totally forgot about them until I moved over here. We came over for my husband's job. I’d never even been to Australia before. We turned up that day with all our belongings! So when I got here, I had to totally learn the retail landscape all over again. The brands here are very different, and to be frank, I was struggling to find brands I actually wanted to work for! I was talking to a friend / recruiter and she asked where I'd like to work and I mentioned OneTeaspoon, so she personally reached out to Jamie. The following day I had an email from her. I had my interview in Avalon. Jamie rode her bike to the interview and she told me to meet her in a bar. She ordered a glass of wine and looked at me rather oddly because I ordered a diet coke. It was the most bizarre interview experience I've ever had. Haha - the rest you could say is history!


Tom, Rachael and Venice Simpson Dalessandro
How did you become a fashion designer? 
I think a fashion designer became me, rather than me becoming one. I never really set out to be one. I studied fine art and installation at university. I then went on to be a private label buyer and worked at Topshop in the UK for years, working on the designer collab and boutique runway range. My trade essentially is a buyer! But more so over in the UK, when you are private label buyer you develop all the product yourself, so essentially you are part in part a designer. That role over here is quite rare, but set me up to become a designer / buyer for OneTeaspoon rather well. So I kinda just fell into it! 

Describe your personal style?
Grungy = edgy but casual + 50% goth at all times. 

Who is your style icon?
I don't have one. Sure there're people out there which I admire for their style, but everyone wears things totally different depending on their own vibe and body shape. I decide what style suits me best and go with it. I’ve never really looked to anyone else to decide that for me. 
Rachael and her beloved Malibu

Where is your favourite place to travel and why?
London, because I now realise it's the best city in the world! I definitely took it for granted when I lived there. Plus all my friends are there, so for lots of reasons it’s my favourite place now. However, a close second would be California. 

Quote to live by?
“Three simple rules in life:-
1. If you do not go after what you want, you’ll never get it.
2. If you do not ask, the answer will always be no.
3. If you do not step forward, you will always be in the same place.”

Book you're reading?
I read magazines more than I read books. I’m currently reading ‘PAPER’. But the last book I started reading was the Art of Happiness by the Dalai Lama, although I’m still yet to get halfway, perhaps that means I'm already happy?

Your husband Tom also has a career in fashion at The Iconic – how does that help you in your role at OneTeaspoon?
I don't think it necessarily helps me with my role, but it helps me in life as we share the same interests and we can talk about work at the end of the day and we both get it. I value his opinion which is important.  

What or who gets you inspired to design a collection? Is it music, while you're cooking, dancing or playing with your dog?
Yeah I reckon my dog is the catalyst for all our inspiration when designing new collections... JOKING! 

For sure music plays a part, as we always have that on when we are designing to get us in the right head space. Plus I listen to that whilst sketching. But more so, it's digging through images. We Pinterest the hell out of inspirational images, whether it's fashion, travel, certain colour palettes. We dig through fabrics, visit cities and troll through vintage shops. 

We have muses which we create nonfictional stories for. For instance, one of our latest ranges is about Stevie Nicks travelling through Morocco! Plus, the runway offers a lot of inspiration, whether it's current or from years ago. By the end of it, we have a vision of how we want the collection to look. Not one collection is inspired by the same thing though. It changes every time really.

The Broke and Famous Collection Pinterest board
How many collections do you design per year? 
We have four major collections per year. But aside from that, I design exclusive ranges for OneTeaspoon which are only available online and in store, and also work with our biggest clients such as Freepeople / Revolve to give them exclusive product, which happens throughout the year. 

How many pieces are in a collection and what is the time frame from start of design to delivering the actual collection of fashion?
Roughly around 180 pieces. From sketching a design, to fitting it, to approving fabrics / prints, to a correct sample we shoot with, it's around a 5 month process. That doesn't include selling the collection and producing it though.

What are some of the typical obstacles when designing and bringing the collection to life?
Erm I’d say having a deadline to consider. Trying to ‘turn on’ being inspired is a pretty big obstacle because you are either in the right frame of mind or you’re not. You can’t just decide to be inspired that day because the critical path decides that's the date you need to start. After that it would be getting the shapes / fits right. Some prototype samples come in completely different to how you envisioned, so that takes a lot of work and time to get them right. 
Rachael Dalessandro in Oneteaspoon over NYC
How do you consider the environment when designing OneTeaspoon?
Being aware of the garment’s fabric is a pretty conscious thought process. We are constantly looking into recycled fabrics and working with a few different companies on dead stock fabrics to help with effects of certain environmental issues. Outside of that, designing a range which is transitional and timeless helps with the longevity of a garment, because nothing is designed to be seasonal per say. Everything should be built to last. To stand the test of time. We are not a fast fashion company. I don't want to be part of that. 
What is the most rewarding part of the design process?
Seeing people on the streets wearing something I designed. That's pretty cool!

What do you love about designing the new Broke & Famous Collection?
That collection was designed around different cities, and the energy from those particular cities, so that was cool and different from how we’d done it before. It was also the first collection to mark the 20 year anniversary, so that played a key role when shaping the range. 

What is unique in the new Broke & Famous collection?
It’s all unique :)

What are your favourite pieces in the Broke & Famous collection?
The Black Skull T-Shirt. The Animal Longline Trucker Shorts. The Nashville Cream Utility Suit
The Skull Tee from the One teaspoon Broke and Famous collection
You recently travelled to New York City. What did you see that was interesting or got you excited and gave you fresh ideas for the next collection?
I think the energy the city gives you a fresh perspective. It's so different to Sydney and Australia in general, so it's good to soak that up. It also has incredible vintage stores and incredible designers which just aren’t accessible over here. I definitely got some fresh ideas which I'll be keeping to myself for the next collection, so you’ll have to wait and see for that!

What is your stand out memory of OneTeaspoon when you think about OneTeaspoon being 20 in 2020?
I think the new Erin Wasson campaign is a pretty stand out memory for the history of the brand, bearing in mind the first shoot we did really benchmarked that point in time for us. And to revisit that years later was really cool, because both campaigns are so vastly different, but yet are still in keeping with the brand. So you can really see the growth in the brand by those two campaigns. I think that's pretty special. 

Any tips for aspiring fashion designers?
Be individual and work hard. 

Your 2020 mantra is...
‘Travel, your money will return. Your time won’t’ 

Rachael has put together a playlist of her favourite tunes (and what gets her inspired when designing collections).

And we have more OneTeaspoon interviews to come!

So stay tuned!

OneTeaspoon 

xx

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