Raquel Allegra has been making waves in the fashion industry since launching her eponymous brand in 2008. With her unique style that combines elements of bohemian, grunge, and high fashion, she has gained a loyal following and her designs have been seen on spotted on countless celebrities and graced the pages of the top fashion magazines.
Born in Berkeley, Raquel Allegra is a Cali girl through and through. Raised by artisan parents, at a young age she was encouraged to embrace her curiosity and creativity. In her early 20s, she packed up and moved to Los Angeles to pursue her passions. By 2010, Raquel had introduced the first line of her signature style, quintessential California characterized by a sense of freedom in self expression and a relaxed feel -- a vibe that embodies her brand and her personal life. By 2016 she had opened her first boutique in Hollywood.
Although she originally moved to Los Angeles to pursue music, fashion had always been one of her muses. Similar to many young, broke 20 year-olds, Raquel couldn't afford the clothing that she sold at her retail job at Barneys, and thus began her quest creating by upcycling. Combing through second-hand and thrift stores, she would repurpose pieces to create new and eclectic outfits. Her handmade tops, created by reworking vintage tees, caught the eye of Barneys shoppers. Demand began to bloom, and soon Raquel was on the hunt for large quantities of the softest vintage shirts she could find. At a downtown LA thrift store she happened upon a motherload of whisper-thin garments once worn by inmates of the Los Angeles County Jail system, and her fashion mission crystalized.
From county jail to runway
At first, Raquel was unsure if she could use the worn down shirts to achieve the look she was going for. Who would buy a new shirt made from an old shirt belonging to former inmates? But the more she thought about it, and the more she felt the softness of the t-shirts' fabric, the more committed she became to using them. So she followed her instinct by transforming those discarded shirts and making something beautiful. To Raquel, the discarded shirts represented the way society often treats their former occupants, and the message she could convey by their transformation spoke to her, deep in her soul. Despite her initial fears that her her inspiration would be misunderstood, Raquel's karmic business model only led to higher demand.
Shredding and bright tie dye but make it fashion
Nowadays, her namesake label is most known for her signature hand-dyed, shredded pieces. But this technique didn't just evolve overnight. Raquel was having trouble finding clothing with tears in it that she liked, so she began tearing them herself, starting with small details and then growing the shed increasingly bigger. When a few influential designers and women in her life started commenting on how much they liked the shredding technique she used, Raquel ran with it.
After the clothes have been shredded, they are individually hand tied and expertly tie dyed. This shredding technique has elevated a tradition that is often tied with rock-n-roll and hippies to a whole new level -- eclectic fashion. Working with local fabricators and dye experts, Raquel Allegra's tie dye pieces take months of painstaking effort to create. And since they are no longer limited to just t-shirts. Raquel, along with her designers, experiment with different fabrics, dyes, and colors to create beautiful, unique collections of dresses, pants, and tops.
Raquel remains dedicated to sustainability
The main thing that sets Raquel Allegra apart from other designers is her commitment to sustainability and upcycling. Focused on using organic and recycled materials in her designs, Raquel also remains dedicated to the tradition of artistry and craftsmanship in the industry. With the exception of some knitwear items, she manufactures and dyes everything in Los Angeles, working with local artisans to create her pieces. She also donates a portion of her profits to environmental causes, most notably the CanopyStyle campaign, which is an organization that protects ancient and endangered forests.
At her core, Raquel Allegra is a true artisan. Craftsmanship has always been at the forefront of her designs, and an integral part of her creative process. Her namesake label embodies the values and traditions that she was raised with, and the world loves it. Staying true to herself and her ideals, Raquel has shown that fashion can be sustainable, comfortable, and stylish all at once. Known for her signature California-inspired look, her bright tie dye and shredded clothing, and her commitment to using eco-friendly materials, Raquel Allegra is a designer to watch in the fashion industry.
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