Rachel O’Mahony is a young British fashion designer best known for her classic and refined aesthetic and her delicate hand made textile garments that have been featured in British Vogue, Glamour and Wonderland magazine. Rachel graduated from London College of Fashion in 2014 with a BA (Hons) Degree in Fashion Design Womenswear and has since gone on to win serval awards for her work, such as the LCF Peoples Choice Award and the Cass Art Student Spotlight Competition.
During her studies, Rachel completed work experience at Celine, Alexander McQueen, Burberry and British Vogue. It was whilst interning at McQueen she was inspired to concentrate on couture gowns that defined the female forms and to also develop her passion for illustration by creating original print designs for clothing and embroidery.
After university Rachel created her own brand with her friend Emily Hill which she met at university. The brand focused on luxury ready to wear clothing with feminine and professional silhouettes; they also did a made to order couture line which was worn by many celebrities to red carpet events. The duo met at London College of Fashion and with Rachel’s design and illustration expertise paired with Emily’s business and industry knowledge, it resulted in a business partnership and the establishment of Aloura London in 2014.
Recently, Rachel and Emily decided to take their passions further and therefore separate so they can work on their own collection lines. Rachel will be launching her own Brand Rachel Mahony in 2023. It will be a more refined version of Aloura and feature more developed embroideries and a range of womens clothings from tailored blazers to long evening gowns.
The collection demonstrates contoured eveningwear dresses that feature a variety of exclusive stretch satin and soft neoprene fabric with elements of delicate sequin hand-embellishments. The concept of structured figure defining garments flows throughout the collection with considerations of carefully placed cut-outs making them inclusive for every occasion. Dropped shoulders, cross-over elements and high-neck sophistication creates an emphasis on the confident and empowering fitted designs that have been constructed to make every woman look and feel extraordinary.
Where did the idea for [Insert Company Name] come from?
I always had a passion for art and design at school, which included illustrations and painting. I turned my love for art into fashion design and began to create intricate fabrics and embroidery for clothing. At the University of the Arts in London we were always encouraged to be independent and creative, I always had a niche and after completing many internships within the industry I really desired to express my ideas with my own collection and by establishing a brand that really reflects me as a person.
What does your typical day look like and how do you make it productive?
As I do what I love, I am always excited to start a new day. A typical day for me begins with an espresso and morning pilates, I then go to the studio to sketch embroidery ideas, design research or fabric hunting around London.
How do you bring ideas to life?
I have brought together a great team to assist me with making my ideas a reality. At university we were taught the whole design process including pattern making and stitching, although now my speciality is silhouette design and embroidery design. The professional team at the sample studio create toils of my ideas, we then do fittings with models to ensure everything is perfect. I then work with a factory in Mumbai who take my sketches and turn it into an embellished version using beads and sequins.
Sometimes I do struggle with bringing my ideas to life, as its my idea and I have to really present this to the other professionals I work with. As I do more collections it is becoming easier to do this.
What’s one trend that excites you?
As I have got older I have realised that I do not follow trends. I have my own design aethetic which I believe is evident in my collections. I am excited about fashion that lasts and designing high quality staple pieces that will not date and be sustainable. I treat my collection as pieces of art works as one gown can take weeks to make and feature up to 100k beads.
What is one habit of yours that makes you more productive as an entrepreneur?
In my notes I make lists for everything – mainly ‘to do lists’. I get satisfaction of ticking them off.
What advice would you give your younger self?
Life is short so do what you love and don’t worry too much about what people think of you.
Tell us something that’s true that almost nobody agrees with you on.
I believe a vegetarian diet is more healthy and needs to be implemented more within society. Also there is no need to produce so much animal based products in fashion. Most fashion brands use animal leathers in bags, shoes and garments – when I really think about it it disgusts me and makes me upset that the majority of people think this is normal when really there is no need for us to be wearing dead animal skins for fashion or accessories. I don’t agree with farming animals just for them to be killed for their skin to make fashion pieces, but society has accepted this and thinks it’s normal. I hope this will change in the future. My brand Rachel Mahony will not use leather.
As an entrepreneur, what is the one thing you do over and over and recommend everyone else do?
Over the years, something I realised I do often without even noticing at first is that if I want something I really manifest it by always thinking about it. It will always be on my mind and therefore I discuss the topic with people often and it will always be subconsciously in my mind. From doing this over and over I will always get what I am after in the end. They say you attract what you want, and its true.
What is one strategy that has helped you grow your business?
I always go to social events to meet new people, I find that when you have a good network you can really grow your business faster and it will bring new opportunities and ideas.
What is one failure you had as an entrepreneur, and how did you overcome it?
I have worked with factories for months producing collections only to be disappointed with the quality at the end. So now I always monitor quality throughout the process and ensure I send accurate references so they understand my vision completely.
What is one business idea that you’re willing to give away to our readers?
I feel like technology and applications are the future. There are so many endless possibilities with potential apps but the best ones are normally the most simple. For example an app where you can post simple job requests in your area – something so simple as posting a job asking for someone to take a photo of a house for you, or do a house viewing for you. And you offer a price and the first person to accept it and complete the job gets the money sent to them and you take a 20% commission from each job completed.
What is the best $100 you recently spent? What and why?
Friends, family and health are all very important to me. I went for a lunch with my family and paid the bill of around $100 and we went for a long walk with our dogs along the Irish coastline (which was free). It was a beautiful day out, and I feel grateful that I have such a caring family and I will always make time to travel to see them and take them out.
What is one piece of software or a web service that helps you be productive?
I use Adobe Illustrator and Photoshop so I can turn my pencil sketches into technical drawings to send to factories. I really recommend that any aspiring fashion designer learn this skill as its important to send accurate information to sample makers or factories so no mistakes are made.
What is the one book that you recommend our community should read and why?
Robert Greene – 48 Laws of Power. Great for entrepreneurs and understanding psychology.
What is your favorite quote?
Good things take time
Take the risk, or lose the chance
Become who you are by learning who you are
- Go to social events to meet new people
- Good things take time
- Life is short so do what you love and don’t worry too much about what people think of you.
Steve (Stefan) Junge hails from Germany and helps with the day-to-day publishing of interviews on IdeaMensch. While he and Mario don’t share a favorite soccer club, their enthusiasm to help entrepreneurs is a shared passion.