Rachel Chae is a New York based designer originally hailing from Atlanta, Georgia. A recent graduate from the Parsons School of Design, she created a senior thesis collection based around the unexpected romance found in the curatorial nature of flea markets. Inspired by the incredible way that antique vendors instill value in their wares through sheer quantity, organization, and careful display, she spent the last two years visiting almost twenty different flea markets and amassing treasure hoards of her own. These collections of curios became integral additions to her garments – old hotel keys and glasses lenses became embellishments that contrast with Swarovski crystals, strands of vintage pearl necklaces were woven into the twisted cable ribs of a chunky knit sweater, and enamel pins were transformed into buttons that line the back of an organza top with voluminous sleeves.
Creating clothes for the modern romantic, Chae’s debut womenswear collection emphasizes the marriage of old and new, trash and treasure, creating a tangible reminder of purposeful togetherness and beauty in quantity unique to the world of the marché aux puces, something we saw so little of in a year of distance and separation.