L.A. fashion dreams come true for alumna



Jacqueline Rezak, a 2010 fashion journalism alumna and founder of online boutique Rad+Refined, is launching  an extension of the brand called Rad Basics, which she is collaborating with Brandi Cryus to create.

By Assistant Campus Editor

Jacqueline Rezak, a 2010 fashion journalism interdisciplinary alumna and Highland Park, Ill. native, is now a celebrity stylist and founder of online boutique Rad+Refined. After moving to Los Angeles in September 2010, the 24-year-old found her place in the fashion world and is now launching an extension of her line Rad Basics and is collaborating on three exclusive pieces with Brandi Cyrus. Yes, Miley’s older sister.

After being one of the first students at Columbia to pursue an interdisciplinary major in journalism and fashion studies, Rezak is using her degree to her advantage. She completed numerous internships during her college career, including stints at Prada, Chicago magazine and MTV. She has styled several celebrities including reality show personality Kristen Cavallari for editorials and television appearances. But her true passion lies in styling musicians; Rezak has styled artists such as Tegan and Sara, Aly and AJ Michalka and Billy Ray Cyrus.

Before opening a clothing boutique, Rezak managed a blog where she posted her fashion inspirations, but she now runs a thriving, star-studded enterprise. Her upcoming spring collection consists of everyday tees, dresses and jackets that all cost less than $100. Rezak said she wants her line to be accessible to the masses while meeting high standards of quality.

The Chronicle spoke with Rezak about her passion for fashion, collaborating with Brandi Cryus and glass blowing.

THE CHRONICLE: Why did you decide to major in journalism and fashion business?

JACQUELINE REZAK: I worked with one of the head people in the Fashion Department to create my own major between fashion and journalism with a focus in magazine writing. We basically merged both requirements for the majors. I had to create a fashion journalism because that’s what I really wanted to do. I was one of the first students to [do it]. They were trying it out with me and a couple other people and it was awesome. Columbia really helped me refine a lot of my writing skills and things I’ve used a lot in my career so far.

CC: How did you get so many internships during college?

JR: I did an internship every semester. I didn’t go through the internship department like I was supposed to. I was so eager and couldn’t wait to do it. I just emailed people on my own and got those internships and got in there and did them.

CC: Which internship helped you develop the skills you use today?

JR: I had an advertising and sales internship at MTV. I was so freaked out going to it [and] going into an office like that where I was a fashion person, but the skills I learned there are so valuable to me now it’s unbelievable. I was like, “what am I ever going to need advertising and sales skills for?” and I need them for everything now.

CC: Do you still do a lot of writing?

JR: No. I’ve phased more into styling musicians; that’s my forte. But I did get to interview Kelly Osbourne for Mint Magazine, which was really cool and made me want to do more journalism, but I just haven’t had a second to [pursue it].

CC: How did you create Rad+Refined?

JR: It started out as a blog that I started in Chicago. I posted fashion and stuff that [inspired] me. I would write little posts here and there. I got my voice out as a writer and my opinions and visions and the whole idea that you can mix really cool, edgy things with basics and come up with a cool outfit. I turned it into an online store when I got to L.A. I was sending out press releases, I was buying for the store [and] I was styling each product. I really like every aspect of that business and I met a lot of people in fashion that way and [expanded] my network really well.

CC: How would you characterize the style of Rad+Refined?

JR: I designed [Rad+Refined] based on my own style. You don’t have to be dressed head-to-toe in plain clothes, but you also don’t have to be like a showstopper in a standout, crazy outfit. There are ways to tone it down and still be cool, on-point and trending. That’s the idea behind everything. I’ve always loved putting outfits together.

CC: How did you end up collaborating with Brandi Cyrus?

JR: I’ve been working with her for a while. I’ve styled her for a lot of different things and we decided that since we have a similar style, we are into the same kind of music [and] we have similar vibes, that we would collaborate on three exclusive pieces. We have sunglasses out right now and we’ve had a couple of pieces come out here and there, but the three that are going to be in stores will be out in the fall.

CC: Describe some of the pieces you and Cyrus are designing.

JR: One is [titled] the Sunday T-shirt because it’s comfortable. It’s a thermal material, so it’s soft. Another one is going to be a crop top and the back is sheer. That’s totally Brandi’s style. It’s like ‘90s and rock ’n’ roll, but you can pair it with heels and skinny jeans and also have a fancy outfit. Lastly, we did a mini dress. It’s tight and fitting to the body and it’s long-sleeved. These are pieces that she and I kind of decided are essential to people’s wardrobes that not everyone might have yet.

CC: Why do all of your items cost $100 or less?

JR: I’m not sure what’s going to happen in the future, but for now the basics that we’re making—I just really wanted them to be affordable. They are higher-end than your Target T-shirt. It’s luxury but still affordable.

CC: What were some of the obstacles to becoming a well-known stylist?

JR: Public speaking. I never thought I could do it in a million years because I used to be terrified of everyone in all my classes. Now I’m speaking on the news and am really confident about the subjects I’m talking about. There is a lot of truth that things get easier as you get more comfortable.

CC: What is your advice for aspiring fashion designers and stylists?

JR: Find your niche and be unique. You can’t let anyone stop you, scare you or make you feel like you aren’t going to be successful. You’re the only person who can make that true or not. It’s really just working hard. I hope one day I can come speak to students at Columbia.

CC: What is something most people do not know about you?

JR: A lot of people don’t know that I am a pro at glass blowing. All of high school I would make cups, jars, bowls and vases. I used to be really into that. I thought I would be a professional glass blower, but I veered [away] from that.

CC: How do you feel about your accomplishments so far?

JR: I feel really lucky that everything worked this way. I had a tough time, like everyone else does, figuring out where I belong and what I want to do. I never thought in my wildest dreams I could ever be a stylist because that’s what everyone wanted to do. It’s not all easy, but when you know what you want to do, no one can stop you. Always be nice to people and keep your eye on the goal.

CC: Where do you hope your career takes you?

JR: I really don’t know at this point; Anything could happen. I definitely love Chicago, so I may be back one day when I’m older, but for now I’m loving California.