Rachael Reichert tends to see things in black and white — literally.
Her last couple of glamorous, alt-fashion collections were filled with duotone dresses, corsets and accessories that had a costumey feel thanks to all those vertical stripes. On some pieces, a diagonal slash of scarlet ruffle peeks out from under the main garment, creating a distinctive circus-like look that is Rachael’s signature. (Fittingly, her 2011 collection was called Living Doll House.)
Now, the designer from upstate New York is getting ready to turn her black-and-white vision into a full collection of corsets, lingerie, loungewear and accessories.
And, like many young designers today, she’s determined to create only environmentally friendly garments. Her first line will be a collection of eco-friendly corsets which, she says, is a difficult undertaking.
“Because of the nature of how tight corsets have to be, the fabrics need to be chosen very carefully for their structure or else they will stretch out when worn,” Rachael said. “There are very few eco fabrics that meet those standards.”
Rachael, who has been making corsets for 6 years and studied at the prestigious Central Saint Martins design college in London, uses organic cotton, peace silk and handmade thread lace (above) in her creations. And the new collection will also have a local component: bobbin lace that comes from the small community of lacemakers in New York’s Finger Lakes district.
“I am trying to make clothes with a clean conscience,” she says.
The corset collection will be available for sale on Rachael’s Etsy shop, and will be showcased in a fashion show in Ithaca later this spring.
Meantime, Rachael has set up a Kickstarter campaign to help finance her 2012 production plans. Check it out here. If you share Rachael’s laudable goal — “empowering women to dress ethically and glamorously” — you’ll want to help out this emerging talent.
To get a sense of what to expect from Rachael Reichert’s upcoming designs, here are a few pieces from Black and White (2010) and Living Doll House (2011).