Brooklyn based fashion designer, Suzzane Rae Pelaez, prides herself on creating clothes that are ready-to-wear and functional for the progressive woman. Pelaez knows that the days where all women are housewives are far behind us with over 66 million women in the american work force. As a result she has developed a line that is, according to her website, “minimalist in aesthetic and relevant in functionality”.
Pelaez was born in the Philippines but grew up in Cherry Hill, New Jersey. When Pelaez was a child she wanted to be a professional ballet dancer but her parents pushed her to attend college instead so she never pursued it. She graduated from Parsons School of Design as well as Bryn Mawr College with a major in economics. She has cited her mother, a physician, as one of her major sources of inspiration and her role model.
Pelaez uses both feminism and feminine ideals in order to create a line filled with edgy cocktail dresses and Victorian gowns. Pelaez debuted her first line at New York Fashion Week in 2011. When Pelaez first started using the word “feminism” in relation to her work many people warned her against it but she ignored them and her success is a great example of what happens when you stand up for what you believe in.
Sustainability and social awareness are part of her company’s foundation and most of the garments from her line are produced in New York City’s Garment District. Pelaez prefers to have her garments made here because it allows her to uphold her code of honor that includes proper wages, working hours and a safe work environment. Pelaez has also developed her use of organic materials and wearability throughout her career.
Pelaez is also involved with various women’s groups around New York including Girls Inc and WIN. Her brand is also involved with the Endangered Species Coalition, an organization that works to protect’s endangered animals and their homes.
Although Pelaez’s designs are considered “minimalist” she does utilize colors, textures and details unlike other minimalist designers. The shoes that she has launched have done particularly well because she believes that they serve as a nice “welcome” to her brand. Since she launched her shoe line she has been getting a lot more attention from press including “W Magazine” and “Vogue”. She equates the recent growth in sales this past year to the shoes. The shoes from her line are not as high priced as other high-end shoe lines and usually fall between the $350-$450 price range. She also found that the public responded well to her feminism print and feminist symbol crest.
In her fall 2017 line, she experimented with a new material from Italy that is made out of recycled bottles. Pelaez also expanded a lot on her accessories output and was met with rave reviews. For her most recent spring line, Pelaez created pieces that could be either seductive or demure depending on the wearer. With items like skirts that hinted at transparency and red sheaths in clingy material she kept the audience guessing as to her motivations behind each piece. She also included shoe clips that added a fun quality to her show.