Meet Rachel Roff: gardener, bike enthusiast and the founder and designer behind deLange designs (her maiden name). The Minneapolis-based designer shares her thoughts on how living in the Midwest and working in Minnesota has influenced her work:
From Rachel: The story of how the Midwest inspires me is not a romantic one, but very practical. Living in Minnesota influences my work because the lifestyle here allows me time and space to create. I live, design and sew comfortably from our home in North Minneapolis with my husband and ragdoll cats. I drive five miles to my day job, or bike when it’s nice out, and I’m usually home by 6 p.m.
Being a small Midwest-based designer is really appealing to me because it allows me to build up my brand (deLange designs) while doing other important things with my life too, attempting to grow up and live well. There isn’t that pressure to make it or break it artistically. I think that by leaving myself room for failure, I have bigger opportunities for creativity and growth. I’m really grateful that I can afford to explore the things I’m passionate about here.
Another invaluable part of being an artist in the Midwest is the abundance of creative people who are experimenting alongside each other. We all have a lot of passion, but it’s not cutthroat, so we can collaborate more freely.
I’m on the board of a non-profit that advocates for responsible fashion. I think the Midwest is emerging as a voice for eco-fashion, which is exciting. If I’m going to design clothes, I feel a responsibility to find ways I can do it well. Sol Inspirations has been a big encouragement to me on that front.