Rebecca Taylor: On Finding Magic

Paradigm Shifters is a series of interviews with a select group of women from eclectic walks of life. It will highlight real life insight on how women have been able to turn weakness into strength. Each interview is the naked truth about breakdowns that inspired breakthroughs. These women have experienced internal changes, which make them quintessential Paradigm Shifters.

Everything I have ever done has been focused on this underlying theme of shifting the paradigm because "what we think determines what we feel and what we feel determines what we do." Hence why Seven Bar Foundation and Empowered by You takes lingerie, which has traditionally been seen merely as a tool of seduction, and makes it a tool of empowerment.

I hope after reading these stories you will look at your own situations, struggles and accomplishments through a different lens and, at the very least, be better equipped to change your own paradigm. At the end of the day, we are our own alchemists turning the silver we were born with into the gold we are destined to become.

Rebecca Taylor - New Zealand-born, New York City based Fashion Designer

People fall in love with what you do and want to be able to express themselves in different ways through your clothing.
Rebecca Taylor has turned into something like a way of life. I have a very strong vision of who my girl is and what she's doing. For us, it very much is a way of life. It's about an attitude. It's about loving yourself. You're here for a good time, not a long time. One of my favorite quotes is by Roald Dahl: "Those who don't believe in magic never find it". I'm always looking for the magic in everything, like the beauty in snow falling or the way tarmac glitters on the pavement. There's magic and sparkle everywhere you look, you just have to look for it. When people wear my clothes and feel happy, that is the biggest compliment. All I want is for people to feel transported, happy, and comfortable.

Who is your audience?
She's not unlike myself. It's so varying and wide-reaching who wears our clothes. Some of my doctors wear Rebecca Taylor under their lab coat when working, but underneath you feel really pretty. There are a lot of moms at school who wear it. When I was younger, people would tell me a lot of moms wear Rebecca Taylor and I'd say, "Oh no, that sounds so dorky." But the term mom isn't what it used to be. You don't give up the sense of self because you've become a mother. You maintain a lot of who you were and the children just come on board to that.

Has there been a transformative experience in your life that has changed you into the person you are today?
I'm 45 years old. At this stage you have many transformative experiences, if you're lucky. I'm from New Zealand, and when I was 8 years old, my dad came home from work one day and asked if we wanted to move to England. We rented out a house, packed everything up, and we all moved to England. That was phenomenally brave of him. We didn't know anybody there, and it very much was an eye opening experience. We traveled Europe in a caravan for a few months. We had no money. We'd eat canned meat pies and spaghetti everyday. Looking back, I think of how hard my mother must have worked. She hand washed all our clothes because there was no washing machine in a caravan. That was a really bonding experience for my family and it really opened my eyes to what the world has to offer. Growing up in New Zealand can be very small. That changed all of our lives. My kiwi background, or my family background is probably why I moved to New York at 22 with literally $600. Why not? When people here say it can't be done, I don't even know what they're talking about. Anything can be done.

Talk to me about the feeling of being an underdog and how that's helped you as leverage.
I don't think I was ever aware that I was an underdog. When I meet a lot of the American interns and things, they assume I came from money and had some sort of leg up and I'm like no! I came here literally with nothing. I lived in a hostel. I worked. I waited tables. I was a busboy. Coat check. There's no miracle answer. It's just hard work and doing it little bit by little bit.

What's a breakdown to breakthrough moment you've had?
I can think of multiple times where I've had a breakdown. When I first moved here, I got an internship at Elle Magazine. I wanted to be a stylist. I didn't even know what one was, and I was really excited. I had a lovely interview and they gave me an internship. I was so excited! Then they called back a couple of days later and said we can't actually do this anymore because of my paperwork and visa. I was devastated. I called my mom crying makes me cry now. But, if I hadn't had those knock backs then I wouldn't be where I am now.

What advice would you give to your younger self?
I had such dissatisfaction with my body. Looking back at pictures, I was pretty adorable, but I didn't feel it at the time. I'm trying to realize now to not be down on the way I look. I know 10 years from now I'm going to be like, "I was actually cute at 45". Enjoy the skin you're in. This is such a fashion industry thing, and such a woman thing. We criticize each other and that's something I'm trying to teach my daughter. Girls have to love each other.

What do you wish to be your legacy?
I'd like to be remembered as a kind person that could laugh at themself, and others. I think that does dovetail with the company. The legacy of Rebecca Taylor is we bring something feminine and special to our girl that makes her feel good. We want women to feel good. Respect yourself. Look after yourself. We try to be kind to our girls.

Rebecca proves that with hard work and a positive outlook on life, we can all find magic. She continues to care for herself, her work, and bring sparkle to the world around her. Her kindness shines through. I have been shifted!