You know how they say two is better than one? Or how good things come in pairs? How about two = double the trouble, double the fun? Okay, perhaps that last one was a bit of stretch, but nonetheless, Rachel and Nicole Effendy have managed to convince me that having a sidekick is the algorithm for success.
Amongst an infinite number of fashion blogs floating around in an (inherently) over-saturated WWW, Rachel and Nicole literally sparkle, shine, and glimmer like diamonds – as their namesake blog, Rachel et Nicole, houses some of the most creative, well-thought-out content in the fashion blogosphere. From styling to creative direction to photography and design, these Brooklyn-based sisters work around the clock to do…pretty much everything (while STILL managing to find the time to sleep, watch Netflix, and look generally fabulous).
It’s one thing to do art for arts sake – but when it comes to brand work, there’s a fine line between feeling like you’re “selling out” and maintaining artistic integrity and doing work you actually believe in. That said, one of the most validating moment of a creative’s career is to be hired by a brand who completely trusts your creative vision. And when you’ve got to that point, you know that you’re doing something right.
To these gals, keeping it “organic and real without the noise of commercialism clouding our final product” is one of the most valuable things about having complete control over a project. And with a pair of keen, affluent eyes, the aforementioned isn’t a difficult fete.
From humble beginnings to even humbler successes, it’s time for you to acquainted with this creative powerhouse. FORA readers, meet Rachel and Nicole!
Who are you and what do you do?
We’re two sisters who consider ourselves artists with fashion as our chosen medium. We mainly love to create, which is why we produce editorials on our site as our main content.
You started your blog after you moved to New York so you could show your mom what you were wearing every day. What was the “aha!” moment when you realized sharing your personal style could translate into a business?
We were checking our site traffic and the numbers didn’t align with the number of viewers we had (AKA just our mom). That was when we decided to pursue this more seriously.
You’ve worked with huge names – from Tumblr to Nordstrom. How does it feel to know that something that started as self-documentation has opened the doors to this kind of opportunity?
To be honest, we still haven’t fully realize what we’ve done. We’ve been blessed with many amazing opportunities, and have met a lot of helpful people along the way who truly boosted our career. We’re just in this ride, and taking it one project at a time.
When you’re working with other brands, how do you stay true to your creative vision – from inception to execution?
We’ve been fortunate enough to work with brands who trust our creative vision. We always make sure that our style and voice can be seen and heard in everything that we do, because that’s why these brands want to work with us in the first place.
“Renditorials” are fashion editorials that are shot, modeled, and styled by both of you. Can you explain the collaborative process? Or is it organic?
The collaborative process between the two of us involves a lot of yelling and arguing – and whoever is louder would win.
We’re kidding! But we do get into some intense arguments sometimes because we have fundamentally different styles and artistic visions. We usually explore both ideas and then fuse the two as much as possible.
What’s the most valuable/rewarding thing about having complete control over a project?
We’re able to keep it organic and real, the way art should be – without the noise of commercialism clouding our final product.
What has been your favourite project that you’ve worked on to date?
A mini-campaign for Botkier. We got to test our creative skills and ended up producing witty and simple imageries that would create a lasting impression.
This sounds cheesy, but the most exciting part is actually meeting new people. People who are in a way, artists in their own right, and have strong opinions and views about their work and what they believe in.
What is the most frustrating/challenging part about working so closely with your sister? How do you overcome this?
Sometimes things get a little chaotic between the two of us because we tend to get a little too lenient with one another (in terms of deadlines or meetings and stuff like that). So we’ve set a system in place and agreed to treat each other as true career pals so that we can maintain a good level of professionalism between the two of us.
How has the hustle-and-bustle culture of New York influenced your style? Better yet, how do you manage to stand out in a sea of people who often make it a mission to be noticed?
New York has definitely taken us out of our shells. We’ve come to learn that it doesn’t matter how crazy we think we look, there’s always someone crazier in New York – so we take comfort in that.
After a while, we learn that the best way to stand out, is to be yourself. Many people in New York want to get noticed – but they follow trends, thinking it’ll keep them ahead of the curve. But to be honest, the best way to stand out is to be you, and hone your own craft.
How do you keep yourself motivated amongst other fashion bloggers? Do you ever feel competitive?
We don’t really get competitive because we feel that everyone is an artist in their own right and are trying to say something through what they wear. We are much more for the love and support of fellow bloggers because together we can make much bigger waves!
Where do you get your inspiration?
We get most of our inspiration from art. We love going to the Met and art galleries around Chelsea. We are huge on art festivals like Basel, Frieze and the Armory Shows, but are also great supporters of smaller open studios that we often frequent in Brooklyn or Upstate New York — it’s always fun to discover new artists and see new points of view. Sometimes mainstream bodies of art can get too saturated, and everyone seems to be saying the same thing.
What does the Internet mean to you? How has the virility/sharability of content affected where you are today?
To us, the internet is our art gallery. People from all over the world can come to our “gallery” to communicate with us, propose collaborations with us or simply view our work. It is clearly powerful because of how ubiquitous it can make our work seem, and that has definitely played apart in helping Rachel et Nicole be where we are today.
Outside REN activities, what do you guys do/what do you like doing?
In all honesty, SLEEPING and NETFLIX.
If you could build a cool girl army, who would be in it?
Us and Rebel Wilson.
What’s a song that always gets you in the mood to work?
All images courtesy of Rachel et Nicole.