ONE TO WATCH: DESIGNER RACHEL DAFFORN

Rachel Dafforn / photo by Dolly Avenue

Rachel Dafforn / photo by Dolly Avenue

—story by Bianca Betancourt

The original plan, when I decided to meet up with Rachel Dafforn, was to grab a cup of coffee and talk about her thesis collection she completed last month as part of her completion of undergrad at Columbia College Chicago. We did that, but not until discussing for a good two hours beforehand, the frustration of being a creative mind in the Midwest, the stagnant imagination of the fashion industry today and if Soho House memberships are really worth it. 

It was one of the most stimulating and interesting impromptu conversations I had partaken in, in probably a year, and I didn't record any of it.

Our generation gets so wrapped up in keeping up appearances on social media that we often forget the subtle joys of talk and truth—and realizing one's own truth is part of what inspired Dafforn's incredibly unique premiere collection. 

A look from Dafforn's collection | model: Natalie Aleman, photo: Dolly Avenue

A look from Dafforn's collection | model: Natalie Aleman, photo: Dolly Avenue

"The overall concept of the collection was me coming to terms of me being a woman in society and dealing with shit that gets thrown at you—of what you have to be, what you can be, you need to wear this but you can’t look like that—all the contradictions that you get in life," said Dafforn. "I wanted to make a collection that was really muddled and confused but also light—you can tell through what our whole conversation has been that basically is what my entire thesis was." 

A look from Dafforn's collection | model: Natalie Aleman, photo: Dolly Avenue

A look from Dafforn's collection | model: Natalie Aleman, photo: Dolly Avenue

The debut of Dafforn's collection intersected with her doubts over continuing with a career in fashion—Chicago, where she currently resides, lacks a proper fashion scene and parts of her wanted to venture into more creative focused ventures such as art direction. 

"In the end it came down to me being confused about my disillusion of fashion," said Dafforn. "I wanted to burn what i made. You spend so much time with it and you’re just done with it—I can see every flaw. Of course I’m proud of what I did with the runway and the launch—like I made this six garment look collection! That’s crazy and I’m happy people think it’s great, but I want to kill it." 

A look from Dafforn's collection | model: Natalie Aleman, photo: Dolly Avenue

A look from Dafforn's collection | model: Natalie Aleman, photo: Dolly Avenue

Dafforn isn't abandoning fashion altogether quite yet—a potential line of shirts is on it's way as well as maybe an official non-collegiate created collection. But until then, Dafforn is going to continue to find her artistic voice and solidify her vision while her current collection will continue to mirror every woman's true aesthetic: a mad, messy but beautiful imperfection. 

Keep up with Rachel by following her on Instagram at @rachel.dafforn. All photos by Dolly Avenue

 

 

 

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