When it comes to fashion, we trust Rebecca Tay’s eye.
Tay is the Editorial Director at THEOUTNET.COM, Net-A-Porter’s fashion outlet sister, and has conducted interviews with the likes of Victoria Beckham, photographer Garance Doré and blogger Leandra Medine. Before moving to London and taking up her current post, the Calgary-native cut her teeth in the Canadian fashion industry working as the western editor for FASHION magazine and later, the managing editor of Canadian fashion boutique Aritzia. Tay has also written for the likes of The Wall Street Journal, NUVO, ELLE Canada, the Business of Fashion and FLARE as a freelance fashion and lifestyle writer.
While her CV may be fashion-heavy, Tay is a classically trained musician with an eclectic taste in music. The fashion editor shared with The Rhapsody a peek at how she developed her interesting musical palette.
TR: Can you tell us a bit about yourself?
RT: I’m Editorial Director at THE OUTNET.COM, which is the most fashionable fashion outlet. I’ve been here three years (almost to the day) and moved to London from Canada a year prior to joining The NET-A-PORTER Group. Back in Canada, I grew up in Calgary, Alberta, which is basically the Texas of Canada, then went to school in Ontario and eventually settled in Vancouver. I started my career in fashion as an editorial intern at FASHION Magazine, and six years later, was Western Editor at the title, which is the most-read fashion and beauty glossy in the country. It was definitely where I cut my teeth in the industry! I then spent a year as Managing Editor at Aritzia, which is a women’s retailer that has one of the most loyal customer bases I have ever seen. My job there was to help get us ready, content-wise, for our e-commerce launch.
TR: How did you first encounter music?
RT: I’m actually a classically trained musician – I definitely didn’t grow up with pop music in my childhood, except for what I was exposed to at school and through my friends! I remember my friends’ parents taking them to a New Kids on The Block concert… definitely not me. We listened to mostly classical music and some oldies – my parents loved The Beatles, The Carpenters, The Bee Gees, ABBA, and Dusty Springfield, but that definitely wasn’t what most of my friends were listening to! That all changed once I hit my teens and was able to buy my own cassette tapes and, eventually, CDs.
TR: Who gave you your first album?
RT: After I realized I could decide what I wanted to listen to on my own, I asked my older sister to make me a mix tape! She was going through a bit of a country music phase – not surprising in Calgary, Alberta – so the tape had a lot of Garth Brooks, Reba McEntire, and Vince Gill. The first cassette tape I actually bought on my own was Ace of Base’s ‘The Sign’ – I can’t actually remember how I came to choose it, but it was obviously a popular album at the time! The first CD I bought was Alanis Morrissette’s ‘Jagged Little Pill’.
TR: How does music tie in to your career, friendships, etc, and vice versa?
RT: I would say that music has played different roles during different times in my life. When I was 16 and had my own little zippy sporty car (a Mazda MX3), I used to drive my friends to and from school and we used to blare Dr. Dre’s ‘2001’ album. It’s a bit embarrassing now! My music tastes then were super eclectic, so I’d listen to rap and hip hop (Warren G, Dr. Dre, Wu-Tang Clan) with my friends and then No Doubt, Portishead and Bjork when I was on my own. These days, music is still very much a part of my social life – my boyfriend worked for Ibiza Rocks for 20 years, so when we first met six years ago, I went to a LOT of live gigs in Ibiza and Mallorca – I saw everyone from Florence & the Machine, the Chemical Brothers, MGMT, Vampire Weekend and Rudimental. I also went to the odd sound check, which was cool.
TR: What’s your karaoke jam?
RT: Ooooh, tough question. Probably something by The Carpenters… and probably their sad version of ‘Ticket to Ride’!
TR: How do you discover new or old music?
RT: I drive to work, so I actually listen to the radio a lot, which leads to a lot of Shazam-ing, which in turn leads to a lot of Spotify-ing, which is a rabbit hole in itself! I love a tune that makes you bop your head – and I’m definitely a song obsessive. I really like Kindness (‘House’ and ‘Swingin’ Party’ are good songs), Broken Bells, Lykke Li, Tame Impala, and of course, you never get tired of Kate Bush.
TR: What are your go-to tunes for:
– Getting out of bed and seizing the day?
RT: It’s a bit old now, but ‘If I Ever Feel Better’ by Phoenix is still a good one to get the day going – it’s so catchy that I can’t help but get out of bed!
– Hitting the gym/spin class/going for a run?
RT: ‘Imagination’ by Gorgon City is a good motivation song – it gets me up and moving, which is the first step to getting out the door.
– Hyping up as you get ready for a night out?
RT: Old-school Hip Hop is always a good way to hyped and ready for a big night out!
Rebecca Tay was photographed in London by Cindy Parthonnaud.