In early June, my good friend Chelsea Rose launched her own Canadian lifestyle brand, Rawrose Boutique. With effortless chic style and a true talent for predicting trends, Chelsea is a rising clothing designer you do not want to miss. Her first collection was created with flexible elements to allow for movement. For Chelsea, it is all about wearing ease and comfort. Rawrose encourages women to take risks and love every inch of yourself while doing it.
Recently, my dream of of working with Chelsea became a reality when she asked me to photograph the line. I was honored, and took that opportunity to ask her some questions about her inspiration. When fellow creatives unite, special things happen. Keep reading for a full-on interview with my girl, and give Rawrose some love!
Chelsea, first things first – tell us about yourself!
Chelsea: I’m a 27 year-old teacher, part-time fashion designer, and creator. A lover of design who doubles as a globe-trotter, I’ve had the incredible opportunity of living in Canada, the United States and the United Kingdom. Every day I try to challenge myself, learn something new, practice healthy-living, and have fun. For years I have been practicing ways to alter my clothes to add more detail. This is where the clothing endeavour began for me. I love creating, styling, and hosting get-togethers. You’ll be seeing a lot of clothing shoots featuring dinner parties with my girlfriends.
How did you get involved with making and designing clothing?
C: A few years ago, I showed up on my grandmas door step. She rushed to say how much she loved my top. I began talking to her about how I wish I could find a similar top, but with a different sleeve and more gathering at the top. A lightbulb went off in her head, which she may regret now. She told me, “I could make you that.” I couldn’t believe that my grandma offered to make me a design that I had envisioned! A week later, I made my way over to her place, and that’s where it all began. I spent the entire summer learning how to sew with my grandma. Patterns would come from anything I could find, including cooking aprons, and that’s how I learned to create my own tops. I still find the entire process exciting: designing, pattern-making, fabric shopping, sewing. Watching a piece of fabric turn into a garment, and then eventually seeing it on happy customers.
You’ve travelled a lot! What have you learned from your travels? How has it contributed to your design process and creations?
C: Last year was an exciting and adventurous time. I left my hometown of Peterborough, Ontario, packing my bags for a year of teaching abroad. During my ‘down-time’ I was able to travel through Utah, Belgium, the Netherlands, Scotland, and England. I also took a tour along the southern coast of Spain in a rental car. Unplanned travelling gave me inspiration; encounters with local entrepreneurs, observing the beauty in architectural structures, and stumbling upon unique boutiques. My experiences have led me to incredible people who inspire me through words of wisdom and their own adventures. I truly believe that “distance and difference are the secret tonic to creativity,” as Jonah Leher once said. Hopefully I can continue using future travel as an inspiration.
What made you choose Juniper James Photography to photograph your line?
C: I was lucky enough to work with Juniper James Photography this past fall for a styled shoot. Every little, incredible detail was brought to life and captured by Alekz: from the dress, to the location, and the food on the table. She is not only an incredibly talented photographer, she is a total go-getter; one of the most creative and fun-loving people I’ve had the pleasure of working with. I trust her so much, I chose her to shoot and style my entire collection. I spent time reviewing multiple websites of other photographers. After doing some solid research, I knew that her ‘fairy-tale like,’ natural light photography style was exactly what I wanted for my brand. I am looking forward to having her as my primary photographer for upcoming shoots.
What would you like women to take away from your brand?
C: Last summer, women would message me telling me how confident and beautiful they felt in my clothing. I realize that this is where part of my purpose lies – inspiring self-love, building girls “badassery,” and taking the time to spread kindness. Women should be encouraged to embody confidence, take risks, and embrace their uniqueness. When females support each other, incredible things can happen. I also hope to inspire women to continue pursuit of what brings them happiness.
What inspired the name Rawrose?
C: When I thought of this brand, I knew I wanted to be as authentic, upfront, and genuine as possible. Early on in the process I found myself making mistakes while sewing and correcting them. I knew that raw had to be a part of the name, especially considering our clothing is handmade. I needed something else – a word that could be added seamlessly to the word “raw,” something I would never get sick of. That’s when it hit me. My partner’s mom, whom I loved and idolized so much, passed away from cancer. She was a successful entrepreneur, owner of a clothing business in downtown Peterborough, Ontario. One time, I went to a business meeting with her and fell in love. Everything about her was an inspiration, but especially her values, drive, and outlook. A year after she passed, I just felt this push to do something creative. I truly feel that she was that “push” and that’s part of the reason that I’m doing this today. We share a middle name, Rose. I never second-guessed the company name, I just knew…Rawrose.
Where do you think you’ll be in five years?
C: I hope that I’m still learning in some way and being challenged while doing it. I’ll be in an inspiring space surrounded by people that I love, avidly travelling and taking risks. Lastly, I hope that I’m continuing to pursue creativity through fashion entrepreneurship.
What is your mantra?
C: Health and happiness have been two priorities for me this year. After feeling overwhelmed and emotionally exhausted at my last job, I knew that I had to make some sort of a change. I wasn’t my best self. The feelings I had when I was in my best state of mind, refreshed, inspired and clear, we’re gone. I wanted those feelings back. From then on, I started journalling what brought me happiness and documenting the feelings I had when I felt good. I started habit-tracking, to create healthy habits like waking up by 7:15am or making your bed every morning. Those good feelings started coming back. Taking the time to listen to my body and find out what brings me joy made me really put time into taking care of myself. It’s so important that we listen to our bodies and take care of ourselves. From here, I fell in love with the saying, “In the midst of movement and chaos, keep stillness inside of you,” by Deepak Chopra. It reminds me to take time out of my busy day to be still, even if momentarily.
What advice do you have for others on opening a small business?
C: Do what you love, period. If you dedicate yourself to your passion and are excited about what you are doing, it will reflect in your work and personal life. Surround yourself with encouragers, supporters, and mentors. Don’t get discouraged by comments and negative energy. If you are excited about what you’re doing, that’s all that matters. Make sure you take time to plan, but don’t keep halting until you’re ready, because let’s face it … when are you ever going to be 100% ready? Be kind to yourself because when you’re feeling like your best self, amazing things can happen.
Follow along for more life abroad, work, style, and, of course, lots of fun. #juniperjamesphotography