Randi Rahm is an American designer based in NYC. Her designs comprises of Couture, Bridal and Ready-to-Wear and have been seen and worn on the Bachelorette. During this past New York Fashion Week, I had the lovely pleasure of interviewing designer Randi Rahm, debuting her SS23 collection, Sweet in her Atelier showroom in NYC.
Jamila: Tell me a little about your background and what sparked your interest in fashion.
Randi Rahm: “It’s a long story. I am a trained classical musician and I am an artist in general. So a lot life gets in the way of a living, and I had to learn how to make a living. And I found a way through fashion when I made a quilt for my first born son and walked into a store and they said, Where did you ever get that? I said, I need it for my son. What will you make for us? And that’s how I started in fashion. I always was very fashion conscious of my family. We loved fashion but never thinking that I would ever grow up and be a designer. That was never a part of my life or even a thought in my mind. But one thing led to another and I always tell people to listen to their sixth sense. A moment happens and it went, oh, now that’s where I should follow that path. And that’s how I really got into fashion, is to making a quilt and making a little girl dress. and then one thing, I dress in another. And the power of the press, which is now media or social media. The New York Times wrote an article about me and it just pushed me into a whole another outlet.”
Jamila: Art and fashion are always corresponding. Always relates to each other in some form or fashion. You can always bounce back
Randi Rahm: “When people ask me, what do you do? I said, Well, I’m an artist. They go, oh, what do you paint? Because there’s so many mediums of art they always say, well, are you asking me what I’m doing for because I’m a multimedia; I am really comfortable with a lot of mediums, but I earn my living by the art of fashion and what I do here is truly art. Each piece is one of a kind. We create them here. We really don’t do multiples of anything unless they’re ordered. Everything is called couture, which is the actual definition of what couture is.”
Jamila: What was the main inspiration behind the latest collection?
Randi Rahm: “It’s just happy and pretty pieces and colorful and happy. Bubbly bubbly. And then it just evolved because I wanted to have a theme for games. and instead of doing it in a big place, I decided to do it smaller in my studio, which then only came down to the Candy Land. If I had to pick one game, that personified what I was feeling right now, and it was candy lamb and all the grass. And be happy. Eat candy. And what’s happier than candy lamb? Game.”
Jamila: How do you want women to feel when wearing your clothes?
Randi Rahm: “Good about themselves. I’ve always been very authentic in the sense that it’s all about the woman, not the design. The design is designed for the woman. If you’re not comfortable in what you’re wearing, then it shouldn’t be worn. I always can tell when a woman feels good about themselves when they try something on, just because if it came to that dress with so and so wore it, may not be the dress for you, because what looks well on you and makes you feel good? When you look in the mirror and stand up straight, you know they’re saying, oh, I look damn good. That’s the dress. You have to feel from the inside. And each individual has a different feeling on how they want to look and feel. So to me, that’s the most important part.”
Jamila: List some of your design influences, both past and present.
Randi Rahm: “I’m really influenced by my client and the women that I meet throughout now more than anything. Back in the day, I had a grandma who was an unbelievable fashionista and had her own head couture clothes. So I was very influenced in fashion in that manner that I was always exposed to the real deal. But for what I do now, I get mostly influenced by the people who come in. They’re my blank canvas, and I’m able to create my next painting. Your masterpiece.”
Jamila: I love how you described that. How you would describe your brand aesthetics?
Randi Rahm: “I’m a brand who loves fashion and loves the person. It’s about love. You have to feel good and love. That’s what my brand is all about. I think I make people say old things look new and new things look engaged, because it’s just part of the whole process for me. I’m very influenced by class and classiness. Classiness and old Hollywood and old grammar and new glamour.”
Jamila: Are you into Burlesque?
Randi Rahm: “I love everything dramatic. I’m a very dramatic drama. I love drama. I love theater. If anything, if I could have been I’d probably have been really great on Broadway. I mean, I still dance. I am a musician, so I loved Broadway. But it was my family that I was raised into. We don’t perform. We painted in the arts. We don’t perform in the arts. So it was a very struggle; my whole sensibility of feeling strong about that what I do is a purposeful and good.”
Jamila: What are you fascinated by at the moment and how does it feed into your work?
“I’m very fascinated in the verbiage that people are using now that have been part of my brand from the beginning. Women empowerment, authentic, sustainability. I just had a wedding. That the woman I’ve been doing clothes for years, and I know her family and his kids. And now the third child is getting married. She wore a dress I made her as mother of the bride and Kawala Ford by many more. But she loved her dress so much that I made it 20 years ago. She wore the dress, fit into it, and people flipped over the dress as if it was made today. Because when you wear the correct designs and fashion, that is who you are. You can pick it out today, ten years from now, it should always be longevity, and that’s the sustainability about it, and that’s the authenticity to the person that you’re making it to. I’ve always been gender fluid and inclusive. Always. It’s still very hard for me because I don’t want to say the improper pronouns. I’ve always had a fluidity of people here because it’s about who the person is in my blank canvas. I don’t care. It doesn’t matter. I want to create. What’s right for you, however you’re feeling and what’s at your core.”
Jamila: What will be the must-buy fashion item for next Summer?
Randi Rahm: Oh, it will be a Randi Rahm. (Laughs)
Jamila: That’d be great!
Randi Rahm: “I would love that. That would be sensational. It’s a hard question to ask me because I don’t see the cross section as much as I would like to because I’m in a higher end. But if I was to pick something, it wouldn’t be an item as much as happy. So happy to me, is color. So I think color will be an important piece of fashion.”
Jamila: Even on the luxury end?
Randi Rahm: “Yes, I think even more so luxury. And I think people have been tired of not doing anything for so many years that were let out of the cage, as they say. Yeah, party. Sparkle pretty. I think it’s sparkle and color and happy. So that’s what I associate the word happy with. Something somber and whatever to me. No, I don’t think so. I’m hoping that it continues on this path. Everyone’s getting happy that we’re out and about everything.”
Jamila: There’s so much pressure for designers to come out with their greatest collection season after season. What advice would you give to young designers just starting out and hoping to make it in the industry?
Randi Rahm: “Well, I think to listen to your own inner person and not worry about what others think, because the people who are going to be right for you are going to find your designs and come and wear your designs. Not everybody might not resonate or feel right, but to be true to yourself and not conform to be what others think you should be or want you to be. Because then everyone looks the same. And that’s what happens a lot in the fashion industry. You just have to be true to yourself and know, well, this is what I present. This is who I am. And you might not like me, but you love me, and that’s what it’s about. You just have to be true to yourself and know, well, this is what I present. This is who I am. And you might not like me, but you love me, and that’s what it’s about. And there are people that they wait to say that they’re good or okay. They look for validation. And I find that that not everything should be validated. And sometimes things are validated by the wrong people, no less people who it doesn’t even matter. That’s followers. That’s what all the social media at times. The word follower sometimes is not such a good thing. Somebody who is true to themselves and could look and learn from all of it is something. But to come away and feel strong about yourself, know who you are and what’s right for you is much better than following what somebody else did. It was right for them, or they said it was okay when you know in your heart, I don’t really like that, but I better like it because so and so likes it.”
Jamila: Thank you!
Randi Rahm: “Thank you so much. It was my pleasure. That was a fun interview. I liked it. It wasn’t the typical question. That was great”
Courtesy of Michelle Behre Photography*