Q&A with Raquel Allegra
V&V is thrilled to host our first event in over two years with Los Angeles-based designer, Raquel Allegra. Known for her hand tie dyed creations, Raquel will be in-store sharing her latest collection, inspirations, and unique perspective on success. We caught up with the tie dye queen herself and dug into her creative process, advice for her former self, and her latest venture—an Airbnb!
Join us Friday, March 25 at 5:30pm for An Evening With Raquel Allegra! For the comfort of our special guest, masks will be required for this event. Space is very limited, so reserve your tickets now.
Q&A with Raquel Allegra
You originally moved to LA to pursue a music career, right? Do you still make music?
I DID move to LA to pursue music. And I did write and record music for years. But making clothing and expressing my creative will through that medium came even more naturally to me. I just could not deny it. I do still enjoy singing. Maybe I'll get back to it for real one of these days.
Share with us a day in the life—your rituals, your go-to snacks, your favorite afternoon pick me up, etc.
Most mornings find me in the garden with my pup, Chico and a cup of PG Tips tea… almond milk and honey preferred. We might snack on sweet pea greens or fresh mint pinched from the garden. Perfume of French lavender, honeysuckle, and jasmine in the air. And my roses will be in bloom soon.
The birds are so lively in the mornings! Hummingbirds, robins, doves, cooper hawks, owls, ravens…
Pilates has given me strength that I was in much need of this year. Both mental and physical.
Saturday mornings at the Calabasas Farmers’ Market is a highlight of my week. Eating fresh, organic, and local brings me a deep feeling of wellbeing. The little things really ARE the big things.
When craving inspiration, I can easily spend the good part of any Sunday mining the racks in Hidden Treasures, the vintage shop in Topanga, where I live. Vintage is my favorite muse… so many of those sunday treasures have inspired pieces in my collection.
I also love working with clay on the potter’s wheel. The world melts away and I’m completely in the moment. Listening to the clay with my fingertips and watching the forms emerge.
Is there a standout piece from your archive? One that has a great story behind it or that you keep gravitating towards after all these years.
In case you’re unfamiliar with my brand ‘origin story’, I’ll share!
When I moved to LA almost 20 years ago I quickly found my way to the Barneys New York (Beverly Hills) sales floor as a sales associate. I’d been customizing vintage clothing and vintage tees for myself for years and regularly wore my creations to work. I literally began to sell the shirts off my back.
As demand began to grow for my one-of-a-kind tee shirts, I was inspired to find a resource for recycled white tees to work with. I was beginning to have ideas for dyes and tie dyes and wanted a blank canvas to work on. The magical moment that gave my creative spirit what it was looking for came from the last place I ever imagined. The Southern California prison system. The standard white tee issued to each inmate, worn, and then discarded, became my dream canvas. The cotton was incredibly soft and worn to ‘sheer’ perfection. It’s those tees that come to mind when answering this question. That time in my life with those tees was so incredibly meaningful to me.
As I sorted through thousands and thousands of tees in a dark and dirty corner of a giant industrial building in downtown Los Angeles, I began to think of the people that each tee represented. Who in some ways had also been tucked away in a dark and dirty place, away from the world so that ‘we’ wouldn’t have to deal with them. EVEN THOUGH, I believe, it is our sick society that failed them in the first place. So I made it my MISSION to do right by these tees by creating the most beautiful pieces I could with each one. And it was these pieces that caught the attention of the couple who would eventually become my business partners.
What is the energy like in the studio when you’re tie dying? Do you have go-to music playing or a certain time of day that you like to work?
Pure creative time always has an element of ‘play’. It is my happy place! I dive into it every chance I get.
I believe that pure creativity comes through our hearts. It’s also why I believe in the importance of teaching creative art to children. And why I’m so grateful to my parents for fostering my creative spirit. When you have encouragement as a young person to freely make art of any kind it is an opportunity to foster a relationship with your HEART. It is your HEART that feeds your creativity. Growing up with access to your heart and therefore your feelings and knowing that listening to your heart is how we know what is TRUE and unique for each one of us IS HOW we can learn unconditional love for ourselves and others.
What is something you wish you could go back and tell yourself when you were first starting out?
It’s ok to ask for help. Don’t expect yourself to do it all, because you can’t.
Tell us about Many Feathers, your AirBnB! What drew you to the property? Why turn it into an AirBnB?
The first time I walked into Many Feathers Ranch I began to cry. It felt too good to be true. But the house and property are GIANT! Far too big and magical to keep all to myself. It’s as if the property has its own desire to bring calm and Peace to its visitors. One of my favorite things about the house is its inside garden. Even during a blizzard with a landscape completely covered in snow, inside is always full of thriving green life.
There is a river running along the south edge of the property and a giant pond in the middle which is my favorite spot to watch the sun go down. The open fields between the ranch and the mountains to the west are held in a land trust which protects it from being sold or developed. I hope to always keep the property a bit wild, as it is now. Something about it reminds me of my own wildness.
RAQUEL ALLEGRA BIO
Born to artisan parents in Berkeley, California, Raquel Allegra has been surrounded by the creative spirit her whole life. Touting mother nature as her forever muse, every tie dyed garment is hand dyed individually, making each piece unique. The majority of Raquel Allegra's collection is designed, dyed and manufactured in Los Angeles.
We hope you’ll join us on Friday, March 25 for An Evening With Raquel Allegra. Space is limited, so reserve your tickets now.