Born in the US and raised in Saudi, Rae lived a life that was average and unique at the same time. While she had a typical upbringing of an average girl in Riyadh, Rae had unconventional interests and passions that set her apart from her peers; one of these was her admiration of vintage fashion.
“I had an urge to alter every clothing item I bought. I would glue embellishments on my shirts, use scissors to change the cut of my jackets and style myself in the most unconventional ways to look “different”. To be honest with you, some of my teenage pictures are embarrassing because I took it too far sometimes, but I am happy that I at least expressed myself and didn't hold back” - Rae Joseph
A LAWYER, WITH A SIDE OF FASHION
When she graduated high school, pursuing a creative profession was not really an option for Rae. As someone who is passionate about righting the wrong and speaking for the voiceless, Rae decided to go for the next best thing and majored in law. She went on to earn her Master’s degree in law from Columbia University in the City of New York and became a licensed lawyer in New York and Saudi. She practiced as a corporate and capital markets lawyer between both countries for 6 years.
Despite her professional career, Rae’s love for fashion was not something she could ignore. Throughout her years studying and practicing law, Rae took courses in fashion and arts at several academic institutions around the world such as the Academy of Arts University in San Francisco and FIT in New York. Her passion was forever present.
INTRODUCING VINTAGE FASHION
On an August day in New York City, 16-year-old Rae and her sisters were sitting at a cafe after enjoying some retail therapy on New York’s famous 5th Avenue. At the cafe, a well-dressed man introduced himself to them as Jack. After overhearing their conversation, Jack invited them to his private vintage showroom to which they gladly accepted.
Upon arriving at Jack's showroom, Rae and her sisters were completely taken by the beauty of the pieces around them. He had the most exquisite vintage collection; Dior, Valentino, Yves Saint Laurent, and the list goes on. That visit was the seed for Rae, the seed that planted her fascination with vintage fashion. Ever since that day, Rae began visiting Jack’s showroom at least twice a year and her love for vintage collecting sent her seeking the finest pieces from around the world.
THE BIRTH OF 1954 BY RAE JOSEPH
Then, one day, Rae had an epiphany as she was working on legal files of one of the biggest capital market deals at the time. She realized that as prestigious and seemingly rewarding it is to work on such high-power deals, her heart and soul were not in it. She had a passion that she had been neglecting for so many years, and now, it was time to pursue it.
Rae decided to bring her love of vintage fashion closer to home. She wanted the fashionable and fabulous ladies of Saudi Arabia and the Middle East to experience the beauty of vintage pieces. In 2018, 1954 by Rae Joseph was born.