In today's Designer Spotlight, meet Dear Stella Designer Rae Ritchie!
About Rae Ritchie
In 2006, Rae Ritchie started out in the fashion industry, designing women’s and kids’ fashion accessories for major retailers. “It was creative,” she said, “but I most felt alive while creating prints and graphics for those products.” She was always drawing and painting on the side, so Rae decided to focus on fabric design and illustration for greeting cards, stationary, gifts and apparel.
Rae lives with her husband and her cat Nomi in Minneapolis, MN. “My watercolor and gouache paintings are created in a sunny little room in my home,” she said. Rae confesses that she’s greatly inspired by the lushness of nature, classic children's books and old photographs.
When did you realize you had a passion for art and design?
Being the daughter of a photographer/art teacher and a musician, I’ve experimented with many art forms from an early age. As a younger child, mom always kept us busy with various projects, from Sculpey clay jewelry and tie-dye to drawing and oil painting. As a young teenager I was obsessed with writing and performing songs, playing guitar, painting and sewing my own clothes. I feel like there was no other option from me than to pursue a career in a creative field!
Describe your aesthetic in 3 words.
Magical, antique, lush
What was the inspiration behind your latest fabric release?
My favorite of the releases is “Natural History” which has an interesting inspiration story! In January of this year, I was fortunate enough to travel to Frankfurt, Germany for work! Since I was going over to Europe anyway, I decided to make a 3 day stop in London and museum, HARD! My favorite museum was of course, the Natural History Museum. Everything about it; the building, the specimens, the feeling; I just fell in love. I took many reference photos of the animals, and many were used as inspiration for this very collection.
You teamed up with Dear Stella to create your line of textiles. What about Dear Stella made them the perfect partner for you?
I really enjoy working with Dear Stella. They really took a chance on me, and I couldn’t be more grateful. What I really love is the freedom they’ve given me to explore my ideas and also their high level of enthusiasm for the quilting industry!
If you had to choose one favorite fabric from your entire line, what would it be and why?
The fungi print from “Natural History” It reminds me of an old botanical print, invoking moods of victorian apothecaries and William Morris wallpaper.
What are your current favorite trends in sewing?
Shirt dresses with pockets! I don’t do a lot of sewing anymore, but love some of the styles collettepatterns.com offers! Modern with a vintage flair is always up my ally.
What do you love most about creating a DIY project with your fabric (or seeing customers creating DIY projects with your fabric)?
It’s just amazing what the sewing community can come up with! I’ve seen amazing sturdy handbags, overalls, pajamas, pencil cases, and even a pin cushion, all made with my fabric! Several that have really caught my eye are those using embroidery to artfully add their own illustrative elements to my prints! It’s an amazing way to collaborate.
What projects are on your “must make” list right now?
I would really like to make a flowy sack dress! I have one that I purchased when American Apparel was closing their stores. Myself and two of my friends all bought the "one size” frock, endearingly referring to it as “The Dress.” It works for all occasions and I would love to make more!
I also always have a good knitting project in the works! Right now I’m making some warm thigh high heather gray wool socks (I do live in Minnesota after all!). Next, I’d like to make a cocoon sweater.
What other blogs/brands/designers inspire you most?
I love spooky beauty brands! Packaging in general is always very inspirational to me, but my favorite beauty brand is Black Phoenix Apothocary. They make an amazing Alice and Wonderland perfume oil line, as well as a huge Neil Gaiman perfume collaboration, which makes me VERY happy! I also follow a lot of amazing tattoo artists in the etching type of style, like Rachel Hauer and the Lacemakers’ Sweatshop @thelacemakerssweatshop.
What’s coming up for you in 2019? What’s next?
I’d really like to continue doing what I’m doing, but hopefully add in more editorial/book work. I’ve illustrated for other authors books, but not yet a story of my own. We’ll see!
What do you love to do when you aren’t designing and creating?
One of my favorite pastimes is physical activity! I ran my first (and probably last) marathon in 2017 (Twin Cities Marathon). It was by far the most difficult thing I’ve ever done! I’m also an avid cycler, and my favorite new activity in that realm is bike packing/camping. It makes for some great adventures! I’ve also been having fun doing a little climbing at an indoor bouldering gym here in Minneapolis!
I’m also getting back into knitting recently, which was an activity that dominated my life about 5 years ago. I used to be a cold weather head and hand designer, and also knitted and crocheted sweaters and other items on the side! Now I usually just hand knit socks because they’re small and useful!
Tell us one thing people might not know about you.
My favorite food is seaweed!