Rachel Roy Talks About Designing a Plus-Size Line, Writing First Book

Rachel Roy Dinner - H 2016
Courtesy of HL Group

And why she finds Sports Illustrated's 2016 rookie Ashley Graham inspiring.

Ready-to-wear designer Rachel Roy’s loyal following just keeps growing and growing. In addition to the likes of Michelle Obama, Iman and Tyra Banks, who have all been spotted in her namesake line, Roy’s newest and most avid fans of late are the plus-size women she's winning over with her new line RACHEL Rachel Roy Curvy. Pieces from Roy’s namesake line — think flared jeans, fitted blazers and graphic tanks — are now available in sizes 14-24 in Roy's brand extension, which, most notably, places an emphasis on fit for its fuller-figured customers. In addition to being sold at Macy's, the line will also available on Roy's website, RachelRoy.com, starting next month.

But that’s not the only exciting new launch that’s keeping Roy busy as of late; in March, the designer’s first tome, Design Your Life: Creating Success Through Personal Style ($26.99; Dey Street Books), hits shelves. During an intimate dinner in Los Angeles to celebrate the launch of Curvy, Roy dished on her current creative endeavors and why she’s in awe of plus-size model Ashley Graham.

Pret-a-Reporter: What was your motivation to write a book?

Rachel Roy: I started the book less than a year ago while I was going through a lawsuit to win my name and company back [Roy sued her parent company, The Jones Group, for the rights to her brand, and won]. I thought, it’s a good time to do a coffee-table book. I talked to my literary agent, and she said, "I think you need to tell your story." In my mind, my story wasn’t done or near completion, so I thought, "How can we compromise?" The title was always going to be Design Your Life, but the compromise was sketches from different seasons while talking about tips and tools that, even if you’re not in fashion, you can hopefully come away with how you can live the life that you hope to be living.

What did you learn about yourself during the process of writing it?

I learned that I am proud of myself, and sometimes when you’re living life and going through whatever it is that you need to go through daily, you show up, and you do it — as women, that’s how we are. Until you have something to reflect on, something that’s different and out of the norm, that’s the time you can appreciate and give yourself accolades that perhaps you never would. Though it is still hard for me to say 'bravo.' We are so blessed and so lucky. I am half Indian, so I am going to forever be mindful and blessed that I had an opportunity in America that perhaps some of my family members didn’t.


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And why were you ready to launch a plus-size line now?

I would do personal appearances, and what I got asked for the most out of any brand extension — whether it be home, jewelry, swim — was plus size. And that has been consistent since 2006, when I started my own line. I do want to do home and swim, but I really want to give my customers what they asked for first. Anytime you start a brand extension, you have to have the business plan and partners in place. It took me a while to find partners with the same vision but when I did I was thankful. But the final missing key was a fit model who wasn’t just a model but who also spoke up and helped me and my staff in shaping [the line]. I want my models to be vocal and to participate, and I need to trust them, and I found that person.

You must be happy to see plus-size model Ashley Graham gracing the cover of the new Sports Illustrated swimsuit edition.

I am so proud of her. Not just for her cover, but also her TED talk. I would be mortified and so nervous to do a TED talk. She is eloquent, she is bold. She inspired me. I would love to work with her.