Join the discussion.

Inklings News

Join the discussion.

Inklings News

Join the discussion.

Inklings News

Student designer stitches in time

Liana Sonenclar
Rachel doran’15 works on sewing a pair of her Rachel’s Rags pajama pants, sold in Sweet Rexie’s and Dress code, and online on Etsy

Pajama day may only come once a year for most Staples students. But for Rachel Doran ’15, it is a constant celebration; she gets paid for it, too.

At 16-years-old, Doran makes her living by running a pajama company called “Rachel’s Rags.” However, they’re not really rags, but intricately designed pants and shorts from cotton and fleece material that friend, Harley Kowalsky ’15, described as “so comfy.”

Doran was first taught at the age of five to sew by her grandmother. She tooksewing classes in 2007, which would make it a much greater element in her life. These lessons are also where she made her very first pair of pajamas.

A pair that she was very proud of.

She then created another set for her sister’s birthday. Her friends liked what she produced, which is how she got the idea to start a business.

Doran’s design line started with her making pajamas for family and friends, and eventually for craft shows. “This is when I really started my company,” Doran said.

“Rachel’s Rags” has continued to grow through time, with her, on average, selling 100 pairs each year. Her most common way of commerce is through her account on Etsy, an online program where crafters can display and sell their products.

Doran’s typical selling prices are $30 for kids and $35 for adults. In addition to her self-selling, stores like Sweet Rexie’s and Dress Code have featured her designs.

“It’s fun to see people wearing something that you’ve made,” she said.

Mary Perkins, the owner of Dress Code, attests to the strength of Doran’s business.

“I think Rachel is a true entrepreneur,” Perkins said in an email interview.

Yet being an entrepreneur brings a lot of responsibility. But because Doran has many years of work experience, she manages her job effectively and efficiently.

That’s why all the measuring, cutting and stitching for one pair now takes her a mere 20 minutes to complete. She has no set schedule in the overall amount of time she spends working. The general trend is that winter and the period before a craft show are the busiest. “Some weeks there will be nothing to do, and some weeks I’ll work for five hours,” Doran said.

Doran’s strength behind the sewing machine was the catalyst for another activity that she’s passionate about: Staples Players’ costume design. Being a crewmember since her freshman year, she’s currently one of the senior managers and has made many of the outfits appearing onstage.

For each show, she prepares almost as much as the actors by watching a movie of the play and studying the plot. Doran explained the show’s time period is the most important element in getting the clothing styles right.

Upon this initial planning, she extensively collaborates with the other designers on perfecting each costume.

“She’s such a hard worker,” Claire Smith ’15, a friend and member of Players said. Smith referred to the outfit Doran created for the character, Laurie, as being an asset in last year’s production of “Oklahoma!” It was a light blue, lacy skirt/jacket combo with pink buttons.

“I was so incredibly impressed,” Smith recollected.

Kowalsky agreed on Doran’s skills and success. “It’s awesome,” she said. “I wish I was able to make my own clothes.”

Despite her prolific background in design for her company and Players, Doran is undecided about what she’ll professionally pursue. “I don’t know if being a designer is what I’ll wind up wanting to do,” she said.

Smith knows one thing about Doran’s future. “One day, her name is going to be everywhere,” she said.

Leave a Comment
More to Discover
About the Contributors
Justine Seligson, Photo Coordinator
Being a self-described political junkie and a teen travel writer, Justine Seligson '15 is not only, without a doubt,  a well rounded student and basically a mother's dream, but also a very unique addition to the staff. Seligson is extremely modest about her accomplishments, but it is very clear that her extensive journalistic experience outside of Inklings has largely influenced her presence on the paper. "I have a column on teen travel on my parent's website, which is called Farewell Travels," Seligson said. "It's a very different type of writing [than Inklings] but it's definitely helped me to grow as a journalist overall." Seligson goes on to describe the plethora of exquisite articles she has written for her column over the years. Seligson further explained how her experiences in traveling have shaped her journalistic presence in a large way. She explains why she is nonchalant about the amazing experiences she has had traveling the globe, explaining that it has always been a way of life for her and her family. "My family travels all the time," she said. "It's just part of our business." However, Seligson says that "...[she] would a much different writer if [she] hadn't traveled so much." She casually mentions how much of an impact a pre-college Kenyan writing program had on her, as what an honor it was to be featured in the National Geographic Student Edition. "It made me realize that even though journalism may supposedly be a dying business, there may be some hope for me to pursue my dream career," she said. With her in-depth knowledge of travel and politics, Seligson is sure to be an interesting voice on the paper this year. She hopes to improve her writing and photography even more this year, as well as to help other staff members to increase the quality of their own photographs.
Liana Sonenclar, Photo Editor
For Liana Sonenclar ’14, a photograph isn’t just a distant picture taken carelessly with the fumbling push of a button. It’s not busywork; it’s not an afterthought. A photograph, to Sonenclar, is an experience, a careful experience, that captures not only an image, but also an emotion. “This year, I’m encouraging photographers to get close to their subjects,” Sonenclar said. “Be a part of the event.” Sonenclar, after taking photos for nearly every print edition of Inklings last year, is starting this year as the Photo Editor for the staff, a position that comes with its fair share of responsibility. In addition to taking as many photos as she did last year, Sonenclar is now in charge of making sure all the other photographers know what to capture. To make this easier, Sonenclar is starting a photographic recruitment process of sorts, hand-selecting artists and photographers that she knows are reliable and asking them to join her crew. “New people provide new talent, new variety,” Sonenclar said. “I want to change things up, to make every issue interesting.” And Sonenclar certainly has some experience in getting interesting photographs. While taking photos last year for Inklings, she also served as a Staff Photographer for the Westport Daily Voice as well as now starting this year as the official photographer for the Lockwood Mathews Mansion Museum in Norwalk. However, photography is just one of Sonenclar’s undertakings. She also plays piano for Wreckers In Tune, is actively working on a science research project, is one of the Executive Editors and Producers of QED and a member of the French Honor Society, all while balancing nine Advanced Placement courses over her high school tenure.

Comments (0)

All Inklings News Picks Reader Picks Sort: Newest

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *