Rachel Ancliffe | Apparel Designer

Rachel is an apparel design specialist and pattern-loving shibori devotee with chops. Her design history includes co-founding the fashion brands Charles & Victoria and Institute of Dress after she honed in on her skills at such notables as Rugby Ralph Lauren, and Lip Service. Now she designs for Adidas Basketball by day, and her own Ancliffe Collection by night.

Your manifesto / rules to live by / motto:

I try to be sincere in everything I do. When it comes to designing I try and keep things simple and modern: don’t over design. And, a good friend once said to me: “This is just your point of view, so be honest with it.” I keep that in my mind when I get off track and it helps me know when things “feel” right.

How would you describe your work if you left out all the boring parts?

I get to experiment with fabric and clothing. The most fun I have had this year was getting to dive into Shibori dyeing with indigo and seeing what I could do with it.  It allowed me to get really messy and let go of my controlling voice. Some things had to be out of my control in the process. It was good for me.

Some of the boring parts are not so boring. I like managing the production and calendars. I think it’s the logic of all the parts coming together just right. Maybe that goes hand in hand with a garment pattern. All the parts have to line up for it to work.

Pen, pencil or stylus?

I use all three, but I always start with a pencil. I love how you see the artist’s hand and control by using pressure. If I have to make a presentation with full illustrations I use pens of all types for lining and coloring. When it comes to production documents and line sheets for the factory it is a stylus. Maybe in a way I am lucky to get to use all three. But the pencil is still my favorite and I don’t get to use it as much as I would like.

Be honest: how often do you clean your desk?

I clean it at the beginning of every season and at the beginning of a large project. It helps to have a clean slate. I even cleaned out my closet of all the things I found distracting and pulled me to another line or another time so it would not get in the way of my new designs. I think any time I have a big shift in my duties (design to production mode, production to marketing) I have to clean to make room for the proper tools. I can also use it as a way to procrastinate the beginning of work, but all the while my brain is working on what has to get done. I guess you could say I clean it a lot.



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