Stories have a way of capturing the imagination, painting an ideal world for readers to visit. Weddings are days that take something already beautiful and make it unforgettable. Combine the two and you get Rachel Peugh, owner of Rachel Elizabeth Designs, LLC. She “lives in a leather-bound fairy tale book” and creates custom and designer pieces to make every bride feel as if she were the star of her own love story.
Her brand-new studio opens to the public on April 25, 2015 and I recently had the opportunity to go and visit the studio and chat with the designer.
If you received a million dollars, no strings attached, what would change in regards to your business?
If I got a million dollars… I would debut my first full collection. I’d also move headquarters to LA or NYC. The plan is to do both of those things down the line however the company just doesn’t have the money yet. I’d also have, and would want to, hire a bunch of employees.
Tell me about your creative space, what are some parts of it that are absolutely necessary and what makes it you?
I can pretty much design anywhere as long as I am in the right headspace with the right music. However, where I work the best is always somewhere that is visually stimulating and somewhere I have an emotional connection to. When I was living in London I loved to go and sit in front of the parliament building, London Bridge and of course Buckingham palace to sketch. All of these places have incredible amount of detail and things to look at but they also have personal meaning to me. I have always loved the parliament building; I used to have a poster of it in my room. These places also hold personal meanings to me, which I use in my designing.
What is your favorite part of the creative process?
My favorite part is for sure the sketching. After I’ve reached a concept and have my mood boards and a playlist of music, I sit down with my sketchbook and I just go. It is almost liberating to just sketch, to get it out. I love to see the way the collection develops and grows during this period. It’s all very ruff and probably wouldn’t make a lot of sense to other people when they are just looking at it but it becomes something beautiful, when it’s been polished a little.
When you hit a wall, what do you do to get out of it?
If I’m stuck it’s probably because I just can’t get my head into it, because I am so emotionally driven with my designs and ideas I really have to be in the right head space. If I just can’t get there I take a break, go out, hang with friends, do my best to get away from it and not think about it until I feel better and can get into that headspace. If I’m stuck and I just can’t do it, it’s usually because I’m stressed, or there is drama with something/someone else and I am focusing on that.
What does your average day look like?
The great thing I don’t have an average day. One day I’ll be sketching and the next I’ll be sewing and making patterns. It just depends on what has to get done for a certain bride. I also unfortunately have to do things like pay bills and keep the business running smoothly. Which isn’t nearly as fun as sketching or patternmaking but it has to be done to keep the business going.
What are a few things that inspire you?
Loads of things inspire me but the biggest thing is emotion. I use photos, art, music, etc to create emotion and that’s where I truly draw my inspiration. When it comes to which type of each medium I choose it just depends on preference I guess. I love to use instrumental songs; I listen to a lot of Piano Guys. Art it could be anything from Europe mainly in the Renaissance, gothic or roman eras. And with photography, it usually is something romantic and whimsical. I love the fairytale thing so a lot of times it has to do with that.
Depending on what project you’re working on, how does your creative process change?
Well the process changes mainly when I switch between a custom gown vs. a collection. The collection I start with my theme and mood boards, then I’ll move on to rough sketching just trying to get the ideas out on paper. After that you refine them and organize groups. Finally, you make flat sketches on the computer and do all of the necessary paperwork that just specifies fabrics and trim details so there is no confusion when it’s being made. With the custom stuff I start by talking to my bride, I have to know what she wants and likes. I always ask her to bring me pintrest photos of what she wants. From there I make 3-4 sketches of different gowns, incorporating her ideas and mine. From there she can tell me what she likes and doesn’t like and we combine bottoms, tops and sleeves until we get the perfect gown for her. After that I make a fit sample to make sure it fits her perfectly before I cut out the real fabrics. This part of the process is the same, as when I make a collection I would just fit it to a mannequin as opposed to a person. From there I can make necessary changes to the pattern and begin to construct the final gown.
Looking to the future, do you see anything changing with how you create or is there anything you want to change with your designs.
As a designer I am always growing and I want my designs to grow with me. Change is important to keep people interested. I don’t intend for my process to change because that’s what works for me but who knows it may change and become completely different.
Visit Rachel’s website to learn more about this fantastic designer and to see photos from her new collection, Remembrance. You can also visit and like her Facebook page to stay updated on her latest designs.
A charity that is close to Rachel’s heart is the Susan G. Komen organization, a non-profit that seeks to save lives and end breast cancer. 15% of the whole sale price of each dress will be donated to this remarkable organization.