Stephanie Rad focuses on designing elemental wardrobe staples that stand the test of time – and, stand out for the right reasons.
Stephanie, tell me about launching your brand. how did you know you were ready?
Having studied at Parsons, I always knew that having my own line was the end goal. The last ten years were spent working in various parts of the industry (and as an entrepreneur in other ways) to hone my skills, both in business and creatively. There was no grand moment for me, I just had a gut feeling that it was time!
Stephanie Rad is defined by exquisite fabrics, strong shapes, and a sense of timeless investment pieces designed for the modern woman. what are some of your favorite pieces from your line?
My favorite pieces are the easiest to wear and the best staples for your closet. The Ivory Rad blazer and the black split hem trouser make such a chic look together but are easily worn as separates.
You were inspired by the women in your family, and their experience with the Italian tailors who created their wardrobes. Can you share an early childhood memory of their style?
My grandmother always believed that women should dress for travel. I vividly remember this one Roberta di Camerino dress that hit just below the knee, had a faint print and was extremely flattering to the figure. Its ease of use and versatility has formed the foundation for my collection.
Before launching your label, what was your professional background?
I took my 20s to learn sales and merchandising at Michael Kors…to learn creative strategy with Stephanie Winston Wolkoff…to learn macro and micro economics from a practical standpoint within my own company. These experiences molded my ability and prepared me to launch my eponymous label.
Who have you learned the most from in your career thus far? Any mentors?
I had the opportunity to work with Stephanie Winston Wolkoff when she launched her creative agency, SWW Creative. She continues to be a sounding board for me to this day.
Tell me a bit about your experience with fashion press.
It’s an education for me because I listen not only to feedback on my collection from customers but also from the media. Overall, the editors I have had the opportunity to meet with have been quite supportive of me as an emerging designer and I’ve been grateful for the interaction to continue learning and growing.
What was your first wholesale season like?
You produce the line in the United States. Tell me about that experience, and why it is important to you.
I am a native New Yorker and I think the garment district is one of the most unbelievable and historic parts of the city. For me, it was never a question of producing here but rather trying to make the numbers work and thankfully I did.
What’s been the most rewarding part of your business?
Building a team that I find quite exceptional and I trust. It makes being creative possible as I am supported in every way.
What are some challenges that you face in your business? Have those challenges changed since the first days of your business?
The challenge for me is not compromising…on quality, construction, fit or price. I want to give women great things for a great value.
What motivates you as a designer?
Making women feel confident, sexy, strong and comfortable…giving a customer that feeling in my clothes motivates me to continue designing each day. And to be honest, making a girl’s ass look good.
What's next for Stephanie Rad?
We are throwing a little cocktail into the mix.