Jay Rare is having a pretty stellar year, bookmarked by the recent (and extremely hyped) release of his Rare Runners. Although this isn’t his first dip into footwear—he dropped a reimagined Air Force 1 and capsule with Nike in March—the Rare Runners were conceptualized and executed completely from scratch. Rare himself, a designer and creative director of his own agency, specializes in investment-worthy pieces that manage to be both exclusive and accessible. Below, the 26-year old California native talks individuality, familial inspiration, and minimizing waste.
Where are you from, and where are you now?
I'm from the Bay Area of Northern California but I stay in LA, New York, and Las Vegas. I be everywhere, always on the go.
What is your first memory with streetwear?
My most vivid memory is walking home from school and watching someone get robbed for their Jordans. To physically see that made me realize how important Michael Jordan and his brand was.
If you had to compress your personal style into one outfit, what would it be?
I’m definitely different. I am all over the place. I really just piece together clothing from other upcoming brands. I try to stay more on the comfortable side—I love sweats, graphic tees, and hoodies.
When did you first feel inspired to create your own designs?
My grandpa bought me an art set when I was younger. My art went from paper to T-shirts, and I started selling stuff when I was still super young (like, in elementary school).
Describe your design aesthetic in one sentence, if you can.
I don’t have a design aesthetic. I make whatever I like at the time, but my designs are always Rare—never average.
Where do you feel the most inspired?
Anywhere with my son by my side. When I’m with my son, I get lost in a moment—a creative realm, if you will. All of my best ideas come from being with him. Traveling also inspires me, seeing different people with different styles.
Which living designer do you most admire?
Tom Bogo. He’s from the Bay Area, and super underrated. He has amazing attention to detail, and his designs are always next level. James Oro is another designer I admire, I do a lot of work with him. He really cares about glasses. The work ethic he has, to provide good quality products at affordable prices, taught me a lot about business.
What’s your biggest creative or career milestone so far?
Designing and creating my own shoe from scratch, independently.
How do you want people to feel when wearing your designs?
I want people to feel Rare (lol). My designs are from me to you. I make limited quantities—not for hype purposes, but to give people the feeling that they are unique and able to stand out. It’s not about the money, it’s more about making people feel good, that's what I'm about.
What would you most like to change about the current fashion industry?
The fashion industry should be more sustainable, and stop mass-producing products. I make all of my shit to order and keep it affordable for my people, so nothing goes to waste.