Your background is in industrial design, but you went into apparel and landed in illustration. What shaped your career path?
I was always interested in fashion and the illustration portion of it. After I went to Carnegie Mellon for undergrad, I landed a job working as an apparel designer [at Reebok], and it definitely opened up my eyes to construction and process. It’s not seen in my work all the time, but it’s definitely something that has influenced me and my style.
People are always surprised when they meet me because I dress pretty simple — in subdued, neutral colors — and they expect me to be as colorful as my work is. Day to day, I like to stick with simple, beautiful basics, but will pop the look with an accessory that’s neon.
How did you pick the medium you work in?
My aunt is an artist and introduced me to watercolors when I was in first grade. Then in college, I was designing for a student fashion show, and I knew my pieces should have a bit of sparkle to represent sequins, so I added glitter and it just stuck. Neon, I thought it would add something different since watercolors can be such a soft medium. It provides a big contrast. — Rachel RaczkaInterview has been condensed and edited. E-mail comments to firstname.lastname@example.org.