MEET THE DESIGNER - Emma Johns Founder of Rae26

Getting to know Emma!

Emma Johns is the Founder of Australian womenswear label Rae26. We had a little chat to Emma about Rae26 and her journey as a designer. 

Rae26 is quite new, when did you launch?
2019! It’s a baby

How did it all begin and what made you decide to launch a label? 
Rae26 is currently my "side hustle"—I work full-time as a senior print designer at a studio in Sydney where we collaborate with fashion brands (both domestically and internationally) to create the print artwork for their collections. I love working with my favourite brands, but creating my own collection of clothing with a print focus is a dream come true.

What made you want to create your label? 
I started the label to hopefully work towards combating the "sameness" in the fashion industry at the moment as I've experienced (too many times) the disappointment of buying a special piece from one of my favourite brands, only to find another friend of mine wearing it at the next event. Rae26 is a collection of 100% silk print dresses and print skirts- all prints illustrated and hand drawn by myself and the idea is that each piece is only created 26 times in each print so everything is extremely "limited edition". I hope this limited edition aspect sets me apart from the market and offers something different and exciting to customers like me who are looking for special pieces of clothing that tell a story, and aren’t found everywhere.

We love that! Our customers love hearing that there will only ever be 25 other garments out there in the whole world the same as theirs- chances of rocking up to the same event wearing the same dress or skirt... slim to none!

We know sustainability is one of your core values, can you elaborate on this..
Buy less, wear more. Rae26 pieces are designed to be staples in customer’s forever wardrobes and, one day, (hopefully) family heirlooms. If they do ever end up needing to be disposed of, silk is biodegradable and can be composted—so Rae26 pieces should never end up in landfill. The extremely limited production runs—26 of each piece—ensure that no excess is produced. Despite my best efforts there's still a lot more that we can do to minimise the brand’s environmental footprint and I’m constantly looking for better ways of doing things to ensure the impact of the brand on our planet is as minimal as possible.

What inspires your gorgeous hand painted prints and collections?
Mainly I create pieces that were missing in my wardrobe. This could be inspired by clothing I owned as a child, art movements or historical periods that resonate with me, or just something that I wished already existed in the world.

Where is your product made?
Rae26 is entirely produced from 100% silk Crêpe De Chine (French for: “crepe of China”), a beautiful, luxurious fabric that is pleasure to wear, easy to care for, and lasts a lifetime if cared for thoughtfully. The pieces are manufactured in China—the silk capital of the world—where I have been able to source the best quality raw materials and the most skilled factories. I’ve worked with the factory for almost 5 years (in previous jobs) and trust them completely to create the best quality product possible.

What is your favourite piece from your collection?
So hard to choose!! I love the Farrah dress as I feel like it’s such a statement piece, but I find myself more often reaching for the Eliza skirt as it’s so easy to wear on a day to day basis, across all seasons.

Agree! The Farrah is our best seller and Eliza skirt is my personal fave! Such an easy piece to dress up or wear casual!

Any words of wisdom for someone starting their own label?
Just go for it! I have learnt so much more in the first year of working on the label than I ever could have learnt from courses, or research, or planning. Just jump in and figure everything out as you go! It’s liberating once you realise that’s what everyone else is doing too.

What made you join Faid?
I absolutely love the concept of what you girls have created—I love the idea that small, emerging designers can come together to solve problems and learn from each-other. The women of Faid have been so lovely and encouraging to me as a new brand and their support means so much.

Thank you for chatting with us Emma! Check out the video below to hear more from Emma!