Creatives | Q&A with Rebel Redefined Founder Emily Costa

by Lauren Durden in ,

We Q&A'ed with clothing label founder Emily Costa, of Rebel Redefined, to talk about what it takes to start your own clothing line while juggling interning and school. She's under 30 and already a business owner (#hustle).  She's pretty much the modern day, millennial triple threat.

Read ahead to find out more about the line and check out our styling of her awesome shirts. 

What inspired you to launch Rebel Redefined?

Growing up it was my ultimate dream to have my own clothing line. I kept thinking one day it would be something I could do, but during my senior year of high school I decided there was nothing stopping me from starting now. Ever since launching a little over a year ago, the vision I had for the brand has come to an amazing reality.

What has been the hardest part of starting your own company?

The hardest part of starting my own company has been figuring out every aspect of owning and running a business as I go. I’m only a sophomore at the Fashion Institute of Technology, so I still have a ton to learn! But it’s a challenge I love taking on everyday.

Who is the RR girl?

The Rebel Redefined girl to me is someone who isn't afraid to be themselves - whoever that may be. They love dressing for themselves and don’t feel the need to prove anything to anyone.

Did you pursue funding to start your own brand?

When I started the brand I was only 17, so trying to pursue funding was a bit out of reach. I was lucky enough to have my extremely supportive parents trust my vision and helped me launch the company. As Rebel continues to grow, funding may be the next big step to take.

What has been your greatest success? How did it come about?

The greatest success so far would have to be participating in the Super Saturday event benefiting the Ovarian Cancer Research Fund in the Hamptons and LA this past summer. We almost sold out our entire booth, which felt surreal since our neighbors included Rachel Zoe and Kate Spade. The best part was knowing we were able to support such an important cause.

What has been your greatest setback? How did you deal with that?

The biggest setback so far has been trying to grow the company while being a full time student and also interning.  I've learned to balance all of my responsibilities and still leave plenty of time to focus on Rebel Redefined.

The shirts feature really smart and sassy sayings.  Who comes up with them?

I've actually come up with all of them! I have a note in my phone with a ton of sassy (and usually ridiculous) sayings I come up with during the day. When it comes to making a new line, I usually start by going through all of them and selecting the ones I can really envision on a tee. I believe Rebel Redefined apparel is all about saying what you want through what you wear.

Where do you find your inspiration in the everyday?

I find inspiration in everything around me! I’m lucky enough to live in New York City, so it is easy to be inspired simply walking around and exploring. I also love looking on Instagram and fashion blogs to spark some creativity.

Whose career has inspired you?

Sophia Amoruso has to be my ultimate inspiration. Her book #GIRLBOSS has become the Rebel Redefined bible. It’s so inspiring to see how a company like Nasty Gal started as a small eBay operation in Sophia’s bedroom but is now a multimillion-dollar empire. It reminds me that if I stay positive and work hard, I can create something bigger than I have ever imagined.

You are very busy juggling several projects at once, how do you stay organized and on top of everything?

It takes a lot of time and organization to stay on top of everything between Rebel, school and interning! What keeps me on track is REALLY loving what I do. When it doesn’t feel like work, it keeps me motivated and excited.

How much of a role does the internet and social media play in your branding and distribution of your product?

The internet and social media plays a huge role in branding and distributing our merchandise. Rebel Redefined is solely e-commerce right now, so our presence and operation is entirely online. Our website and social media accounts are the first and only impression a potential customer has of seeing what Rebel Redefined is about. We also have a blog that features posts on fashion, outfit inspiration and life in general by a team of 6 girls including myself. Along with that, Instagram, Twitter and Tumblr play a huge role in branding.

What are your favorite trends or staples for Fall?

My staples for this fall include my favorite Rebel tee, a leather jacket, a pair of my favorite Jeffery Campbell booties and my Proenza Schouler PS1.  

What’s one way you can repurpose or remix pieces you already have to achieve one of those trends for Fall?

    Fall is always my favorite season because it’s the best time to wear things you already have in new ways. I usually take some of my favorite summer dresses or tees and throw on my leather jacket and booties. It is always the easiest way to look chic and polished while transitioning into the cooler weather.

What advice do you have for young entrepreneurs?

Whatever idea you have - go for it, you don't have anything to lose! If you believe in what you’re doing and are passionate, everything will slowly fall into place. Working hard always pays off.

Check out the Rebel Redefined line and learn more about the company here

Credits: Photos by Lauren, edited by Gloira. Rebel Redefined Same Old Chic shirt modeled by Gloria, styled by Gloria and Lauren. 

Outfit details: Necklace: Kenneth Jay Lane via (similar here), Pants: Zara (similar here), Boots: Aldo, Lip: MAC Rebel


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