Rae or “The Vintage Lady”, as she is fondly known in her circle, is a woman who does not hesitate to break boundaries and follow her dreams. Born in the United States to a family from Al-Qassim, Saudi Arabia, Rae definitely has not had a conventional life or career graph.
A few years after Rae was born her family moved back to Saudi Arabia where Rae spent the majority of her life. While growing up there, her exceptional academic record and her urge to always speak against injustice lead her to study law at Prince Sultan University in Riyadh. After working for a few years at magic circle law firms between Riyadh and Dubai, Rae decided to pack up and go to the U.S. to pursue a graduate degree in law. Rae proceeded to receive a master's degree in law with honors from the prestigious Columbia University in the City of New York. After getting licensed to practice law in both New York and Saudi Arabia, Rae led a successful career as a corporate and capital markets lawyer in both countries.
Despite her legal education and career path, Rae was a creative being from the very beginning and had an inborn eye for fashion. Even as a teenager, Rae took sewing lessons and personally modified store-bought outfits to cater to her unique style. She absolutely refused to be a face in the crowd and she did not hesitate to reflect this in her personal style. Speaking of her style as a teenager, Rae recalls:
"Oh I definitely stood out, and not always for the right reasons." said Rae as she laughs. "I experimented a lot as a teenager; with my outfits, hair, makeup, eyebrows, you name it, I've tried it. And while the result was absolutely fabulous at times, it was a distaster other times. But looking back, I appreciate the journey I went through in discovering my personal style. I am proud of young Rae for experimenting and subjecting herself to judgment at times just to stay true to herself. While it led to a few embarrassing moments and unfortunate looks, it taught me so much about myself and what looks good on me. It is instrumental in how I curate my style now."
Rae's passion for fashion constantly nudged her to learn more about the industry even while pursuing her law career. She took multiple courses in fashion, painting and even photography simultaneously with her law degree, and while preparing for her Master's at Columbia University, she studied the business of fashion and fashion history at the Academy of Arts University in San Francisco for six months.
In the beginning, Rae restricted her love for fashion to her personal styling for a few years. The risk of leaving a successful legal career to pursue the unorthodox and risky field of fashion played a big role in preventing her from pursuing her passion. The idea was always in the back of her mind, but she was hesitant to take such a risky leap of faith. However, on one fine day while drowned in the drudgery of a legal file, Rae had an 'aha moment' and realized that she is done oppressing her creative side and can no longer limit her passion to herself and her circle of friends and family. She wanted more!
Although she decided to pursue her passion, Rae was not sure which path to take that would open the doors of the industry to her. She had been an avid vintage collector since she was a teenager and her zealous quest to source vintage wear was much more than a regular hobby, it had become synonymous with her personal style. Deep within her, Rae yearned to bring vintage fashion to fashion lovers in her home country. Vintage fashion, though highly loved, was still relatively inaccessible to consumers in Saudi Arabia and the Gulf. With encouragement from her family and friends (for whom Rae sourced vintage pieces for years), Rae decided to fill that market gap and so 1954 Vintage was born.
An online platform offering luxury vintage pieces carefully curated by Rae herself, 1954 Vintage is a brand which caters to vintage lovers across the globe with focus on the Gulf region. The Riyadh-based brand created headlines from the very start and earned the laurel of being the first locally owned and run vintage fashion house in the Gulf. Rae’s personal involvement is clearly reflected in the brand as each piece has been thoroughly researched, verified and lovingly sourced to provide the ultimate vintage fashion experience to fashion lovers like herself.
The popularity of the brand can be estimated by the innumerous recognitions it has received from celebrated publications like Vogue, Harper’s Bazaar, Vogue Business, Marie Claire, Hia Magazine and Arab News, to name a few. With Rae's leadership, not only did 1954 Vintage offer vintage fashion on their own platform, the brand was instrumental in launching the vintage category for premier e-retailers such as Ounass.com and was the first vintage partner for Farfetch in the Middle East.
Rae’s multifaceted background is beautifully reflected in her personal dressing. Her style is a blend of vintage fashion, Western outlook and her Arabic lineage. The result? A truly global, original and classy style statement! By working in vintage fashion, Rae found herself morphing into an online vintage fashion guru who imparts knowledge of vintage fashion, fashion history, sustainability and its impact on the industry. Her Instagram account “@theraejoseph” has gained her much respect from industry professionals across the region and her popularity can be seen in the increasing list of like-minded followers. Her personal Instagram provides insight not just on her lifestyle, fashion and culture, but also on aspects of wellness and entrepreneurship - two fields which are also integral to Rae’s life.
Taking things a notch higher, Rae teamed up with Hia Magazine, one of the region’s most celebrated fashion & lifestyle magazines, and started a bilingual podcast "Jalsat Falsafa". The popularity and encouraging response to the podcast motivated Rae to work on a second season of the podcast with Hia Magazine as well as launch her solo podcast “Rae Thinks” which will discuss topics relating to fields Rae is fiercely passionate about – fashion, culture and wellness!
Despite her busy schedule, family is very important to Rae and she ensures she spends quality time with her close circle of family and friends on a regular basis. In her free time, Rae enjoys working out in the mornings (running or kickboxing) and cooking with her sister to cool off after a tiring day.
This powerhouse of a woman has proved that nothing is impossible when you set your heart to it. Truly an old soul with a modern mind - Rae is a dreamer who works hard to make her dreams come true!