A Moroccan market place bustles with afternoon activity. The sun illuminates a bright display of intricately designed fabrics and warms the hand picked fruits piled on stands. Saffron, nutmeg, cinnamon, and other spices are poured into silver pails ready to be measured out to customers. Glass lanterns, leather goods, and silk shoes are neatly presented on wooden shelving. The sights and sounds flood the senses. It is here on a family trip to Morocco where Rachel Gorenstein’s foray into fashion begins.
Sitting in her home studio in Portland, Oregon, Gorenstein is nostalgic of the trip. “I was working in advertising as an art director and my mom was spending a lot of time in Morocco. She invited me to come on a trip with her when she was working on a clothing line. It was a vacation slash inspiration trip. I went and I started working on the collection there with her.”
Born in Winnipeg, Manitoba Gorenstein grew up in a tight knit family. “We were 5 kids growing up all born within 7 years of each other. We grew up hanging out and having good times. Living together, you quickly learn how to survive and carve out your own identity and territory.” Her mother, Beverly started the first Moulé store on Academy Road in Winnipeg. The store first carried clothing and décor imported from Morocco. Eventually they started carrying a wider variety of different clothing lines and giftware. When Michael, Gorensteins’ brother moved out to Vancouver, the family decided to expand their stores and open locations in West Vancouver and then in Kitsilano. The stores seem to follow wherever the family goes. When Gorenstein eventually settled in Portland, Oregon a final Moulé location was opened in Portland’s Pearl District.
The Rachel Mara fashion label has gone through many evolutions since it was first created after that faithful trip to Morocco. It was first carried in-store exclusively at Moulé as the house brand. Eventually as the popularity of the brand grew, department stores such as Barney’s and Saks Fifth Avenue picked up the brand as well. Today Gorenstein is content on where her clothing line is. “Years ago it was really important to be thinking, I want to be here in 5 years! I want to there in 10 years! I find that thinking like that sets you up to not living in the moment and enjoying where you are… I’m not thinking about five years from now, just today.”
Visit rachelmara.com to find out more about Rachel’s story.