ABOUT

Allegra Raff in a handmade turqois smocked dress

I'm Allegra, the founder of Raff Co. Clothing.

My mom once said,  “When you start caring about your clothes, you won’t be able to do anything. You’ll be too worried about messing them up.”

 

That wasn’t what I wanted to hear. I want to look great, AND do everything I want to do. I’m as stubbornly committed to that ideal now as I was then, every single day.

Looking back, I think I see why she worried: Some style authorities preach that you only look “good” if you’re wearing some version of a pressed suit-dress and heels—a.k.a. clothing that functions best when holding still, and needs to be replaced as soon as it shows signs of wear. She hoped I wouldn’t make that sacrifice.

Not caring about my clothes was never an option for me. But neither was holding still… and I couldn’t care less about fashion “rules.”

Now I design and make clothing directly for each person who will wear it.

 

I started designing and sewing stuffed animals in elementary school. I used my great-grandmother’s vintage Singer sewing machine, and ran that thing until it gave up.

 

My first human-sized piece of clothing was a long black brocade gown that I made in college. I drafted my pattern on taped-together pages of the Village Voice, a free (but dimensionally small) newspaper. I had no idea what I was doing. 

I have a degree in graphic design (School of Visual Arts, 2002) but prefer to step away from the computer and make things with my hands. I've also been a registered dental hygienist (University of North Carolina, a decade later). Along the way, I met my husband had a family (two daughters), and tried to work for other people, doing whatever I was hired to do… before arriving back at the same life philosophy I had when I was ten: 

 

Make useful things, make them beautifully, and enjoy the process. 

 

Raff Co. Clothing is an intentionally small-scale, sustainability-oriented business. I work with clients of all genders, sizes, and identities.