We had the good fortune of connecting with Rayna Parks and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Rayna, what led you to pursuing a creative path professionally?
What’s so funny about my current job is that I was never the super artsy kid growing up. Everyone I went to high school with is shocked that I have my own clothing business. I grew up in the STEM club, winning science fairs, and being at the top of my science classes. I have always been a science-minded person, and still am. A lot of the “logical” aspects of scientific thinking makes its way into my current job. But while those were usually my strong suits, I have always loved expressing myself. When I was a kid, I would make picture books and force my grandma to buy them for $5. I would put on plays in the living room. I would always try to dress in a way that made me stand out. I have always had a deep love and connection for the arts, I just never realized it was something I could actually pursue as a career. So when I stumbled into reworking jackets for side money and it took off, I couldn’t wait to really focus on it.
Can you open up a bit about your work and career? We’re big fans and we’d love for our community to learn more about your work.
Art is typically seen as something to be revered and hung up high in a museum, untouchable but admired. I make art you can wear. It’s a way for you to express yourself. On the surface, I just rework jackets. And that’s what I thought I did at first. But I’ve come to realize they’re more than that. These pieces are special to the people who wear them. I have seen so many messages from people who tell me that looking forward to their jacket got them through hard times or they bought themselves a jacket as a reward for a really big life accomplishment or wearing one of my jackets was a really big step for them. And I don’t mention those things to toot my own horn because I don’t think it’s about me. I think these jackets are eclectic and unique enough to connect and resonate with individuals. And what is art if not a way for a person to be seen?
If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?
I’m located in Atlanta so I would recommend Going to Ponce City Market! You can eat, you can shop, and then you can hop on the Beltline. The Beltline connects Atlanta’s top spots through an urban walkway running through the city. There’s always something going on and it’s a great way to see the city and learn its people!
Shoutout is all about shouting out others who you feel deserve additional recognition and exposure. Who would you like to shoutout?
My Instagram followers, for sure! I have a group of like 10 people who are always so consistent with supporting and uplifting my work. Some of them have been there from the early days while some of them are new on the block. But they’re always commenting on my posts and making purchases and sharing with their friends!