The most interesting part about interviewing R’ay was learning about how he forged his own fashion identity. R’ay grew up in a progressive, observant religious Jewish community in Washington, DC, and according to him: “Those Jews had style. I remember buying my first pair of skinny jeans after seeing some Yeshiva kids just absolutely rocking them. No one does black and white quite like them.”
R’ay’s diverse background made it hard for him to associate with one specific community that inspired his personal fashion identity. Instead, R’ay felt as though his sense of style accrued in phases over the years.
R’ay started caring about clothes in an act of teenage rebellion against his mother’s refined, minimalist style. Unfortunately, his choices were informed more by angst than by fashion.
This is how R’ay answered my questions about his unique style:
In terms of couture, R’ay thinks Dior Homme knows what’s up. Lagerfeld is his fashion icon, although he would not dress like him because he “can’t pull it off” (To be honest, I think he could).
Fittingly, his statement piece in his closet is his 80’s-style jacket.
R’ay’s favourite place in Montreal is…drumroll please: McLennan Library because, “Nothing like some ugly brutalism to make you appreciate the finer things in design”.
His favourite movie? Spirited Away. “[It] delves into the concept of identity in such richness and vibrance, and it really makes you reflect on the things that define you, whether it’s the company you keep, the clothes you wear, or even your name”.
I think that R’ay summed up his style better than anyone could: “eclectic, driven and audacious.”
It has been interesting to observe how fashion has become a way for R’ay express himself. The biggest take-away from R’ay’s interview is that fashion is a medium that allows self-expression regardless of your background or inspiration.