TO ANYONE UNSURE WHERE TO START
To anyone unsure where to start,
Meet Rachelle Tacbi. When we came across Rachelle on Instagram, of course we quickly fell in love with her masculine and playful style. In looking further, we also became aware of her kindness and authenticity, often sharing how she came to be where she is and sharing with others how to take steps forward. When you’re accustomed to established people retaining a sense of mystery / unattainability, Rachelle’s warmth and openness to invite people in is refreshing.
Rachelle has a strong sense of personal style - the type where a quick look at her wardrobe will tell you exactly what she's inspired by. There is a consistency in the shapes, patterns, and silhouettes she chooses, something that feels harder and harder to find when trend cycles get shorter and shorter. Rachelle is not impressed by a fast-paced, high-climbing culture, but instead prides herself on living slow, appreciating the moment, and enjoying the process (like building out her 1980 Chevy G20). She is intentional and present, and it's undoubtedly reflected in her personal style.
During the course of our interview, we learned about the roadblocks Rachelle faced in pursuit of her career, some enormous life changes she encountered, and what it takes to help build a brand. After starting in customer service and working her way up to the lead of Brand Partnerships and Marketing of a popular clothing company, we learned about the importance of taking small steps and reserving any judgments of yourself along the way.
STREET GRANDMA: You describe your personal style as “a little street and a little country.” Elaborate on that. What kind of elements or patterns do you take from each?
Rachelle: I’ve always gravitated towards more masculine silhouettes that are considered staples in streetwear, like button-ups, flannels, hoodies, and wide pants. These pieces are the core of my personal style. The “country” part is inspired by the outdoors. I live in a small town outside of Boston, and my house is on a dirt road and surrounded by trees. I spend a lot of time camping and being outside in general so I gravitate towards pieces that are hard-wearing and functional, like double-knee jeans, hoodies, earth tones, and oh, I’m a sucker for real-tree camo. I have way too much real-tree for someone that doesn’t eat meat haha.
What sparked your interest in fashion?
Growing up my mom would dress me to the nines. Puffy dresses, headbands, curled hair, ruffled socks. I remember on picture day my classmates would ask, “Why are you so dressed up? It’s just picture day.” I’d lie and tell them oh, I have to go to a family party after school. That was the basis of how I started my love of fashion, but initially, I wasn’t sure if I wanted to pursue it.
Why not? What did you pursue instead?
I come from Filipino culture where the measure of success was if you become a nurse or something in the medical field. When I graduated I ended up going to school for nursing, but after 3 years I realized it wasn’t for me and I decided to take a leap of faith and drop out.
What advice would you have for twenty-somethings who are feeling stuck and unsure how to identify what career path they want to take?
Oh man, when I was in my twenties I was afraid to take that leap and dive into the fashion industry because I was afraid that I wouldn't make it. I wish someone would have told me to just go for it! We all start somewhere and not everyone's path is the same. I know it's hard to not compare yourself to your peers (I'm still guilty of doing it) but if you have the slightest knowledge of what you want to do, take any step you can towards that. Every step counts, big or small. You may fall on the way getting there but those aren't failures, only minor speed bumps. I started 6 years ago in customer service and now I oversee most of the marketing strategies at a clothing company, from promotional messaging to executing big campaigns and everything in between.
What are common mistakes you see independent clothing brands make when marketing their products?
The biggest mistake I see is when smaller independent brands try to market themselves like larger brands. People like to know that there are real people behind the scenes. When brands want to be perceived bigger than they are, they can forget to highlight the individuals behind the brand, the process, and the hardships - things that people can make a real connection to. My advice would be to build your community first, they are your tried and true fans. They will be the ones who advocate for your brand and spread the word about who you are and what you stand for. I always say community first then comes your brand.
What advice would you give people trying to develop their personal style?
It can be hard with the constant cycle of trends, it feels like a hamster wheel chasing the latest trend, but I think with slow and intentional buying, you can build a wardrobe you love. I would say find brands you love, people who inspire you, and identify the silhouettes you gravitate towards, and take elements from all of them. Even as you play around and try different combinations of pieces, there’s going to be a pattern in your combinations, so I say lean into that, that’s going to be the base of your personal style.
What are some of your favorite pieces right now?
My favorite pieces in rotation right now are simple staples. It’s still cold here on the East Coast so you’ll mostly catch me wearing my Lloyd Toque, some oversized sweater like my Tradlands cardigan (shameless plug), a North Face puffer, some type of relaxed denim or cargo pant, and for shoes my vintage Salomon Contragrip slip-ons (they’ve been the PERFECT winter sneaker).
Follow Rachelle's life in the slow lane on Instagram @goldrushrach!