I wish that Stephanie Ray was around back when I worked in the corporate world. As I was leaving my office job behind in June of 2016, Stephanie had just launched Grayes one month before, her brand of women’s workwear consisting of a collection of edited basics that have serious style. Her pieces are a chic take on traditional office attire, with unique cuts and stylish silhouettes that are office-appropriate, and that also blend seamlessly with the weekend wardrobe. The clothing is made from quality fabrics that offer comfort and longevity. I recently had the opportunity to sit down with Stephanie to talk about her label and it’s a pleasure to introduce you to her!
The idea for Grayes started percolating in Stephanie’s mind while she was attending law school and needed professional clothing (for interviews, presentations, internships, etc.) but couldn’t find anything that she loved or that gave her confidence in feeling like herself. She wasn’t alone in feeling this, as her peers had this same struggle, and since the idea of creating a label to fill this void never left her through all her studies, she decided to turn her concept into reality immediately after graduating from law school. Creating a collection wasn’t easy since she didn’t have a technical or design background, but she had determination and passion (and a business law background); she met with anyone and everyone in the industry who would speak with her, as well as everyone who they put her in touch with (eventually leading her to the amazing team she has today) and she pushed herself to learn as much as she could about the industry to start her business and bring her concept for Grayes to life. With all manufacturing done in Toronto, Stephanie overseas all aspects of her business, from concept to design to production, allowing her to be hands-on in all facets of the business.
My favourite Grayes piece is the blazer dress (Stephanie’s bestselling item, obviously). It can be buttoned securely and worn as a dress, or unbuttoned and worn as a jacket. I’m a minimalist as far as my wardrobe is concerned so I especially love it when items perform double-duty. And though I don’t work in a corporate setting anymore, I still attend the occasional executive meeting and need to maintain a small “9-5” wardrobe, so I’m building my Grayes wish list because there are so many pieces I love! And best of all, they’ll mix and match well with existing pieces in my closet. Stephanie’s design goal was to create a collection that allows a lot of versatility, so that you don’t need to have two separate wardrobes for work and play, and she certainly achieved this.
Grayes is currently available for purchase online directly from their website, but Stephanie is showing select pieces during Toronto Fashion Week in Yorkville Village at the RESET Designer Showroom. Come out and meet Stephanie (she's just the sweetest person!), try on some clothes, and get to know what I hope will be your new favourite fashion brand!
Want more? Here’s what #WeWantToKnow about Stephanie:
I can't start my morning without...my Starbucks coffee!
I have a weakness for...Candy!
Most people don't know that I...was in law school when I came up with the idea for Grayes.
Currently reading... The Creator's Code! I love reading entrepreneurial books.
I want...to continue to grow Grayes!
Thank you Stephanie, for particiatping in #WeWantToKnow! I'm looking forward to adding some Grayes pieces to my wardrobe!