Photography by Jordan Weiland

Rane Made’s feminine line of soft, drapey silhouettes comes as a refreshing take on style.

A fifth-generation Lakelander, or what she calls “100% Lakeland,” Raney Wade is an accomplished musician and recent graduate of Southeastern University’s marketing
program. Though Raney is young, she’s already experiencing great success. Her effortless and flattering silhouettes debuted as a pop-up shop at Concord Coffee’s Summer Nights this past season and have caught the eyes of many. Clearly, it hasn’t taken long for word to spread about Raney’s seamstress talents.

The Lakelander: What inspired you to start Rane Made?

Raney: I had been doing alterations in high school, and I had a small embroidery business, too. I started making clothing about a year and a half ago. I actually made my first piece two years ago. It was black-striped, sheer on the back, and a high crew neck with short sleeves, very flowy. One night, a friend was having trouble finding something to wear to an event. And I was like, “Here try this shirt on.” She did, and she loved it.

Seeing my friend wear the shirt, seeing it on someone else, was really exciting. I had never seen someone else wear my clothes before. After that, I made my own shirt — technically, my second piece. I wore it to a conference at Southeastern University and got a lot of compliments. People were like, “If you made them, I would buy them.” I started an Etsy shop for a while called Originally RAW (my initials are R.A.W.). So, I would sell a few pieces online, and that went OK. But Etsy isn’t super great for this. At least it wasn’t great for me. So I stopped it about the time I graduated.

Then I started getting people saying, “Hey, I saw one of your shirts!” Or, “I like this shirt on your Instagram,” so I started it back up again. That’s when I started doing pop-up shops at Concord Coffee’s Summer Night Events under the name Rane. I eventually started calling my business Rane Made, because my handle was @ranemade – just
really based on what was available.

Then, I had a new graphic made and launched the website October 31st. I have order forms online for certain items. And I do a little crochet wear as well, like beanies and scarves.

TL: What would you say is unique about Rane Made as opposed to other clothing stores?

Raney: Well, now everything I make is patterned, which is not something I used to do. And all my materials are hand cut from a bolt of fabric. My creations start as a piece of fabric and become something else entirely. I do everything in between. I cut it. I sew it. I tag it. I distribute it. Rane Made is kind of a one-man band. I guess the different appeal would be that Rane Made’s creations are handmade in the U.S. There’s no middle man; there’s no factory. Every piece is unique. Even if I pattern a piece, every little piece will have its own quirk, just based on sewing it, or if I like or don’t like something, or the fabric lays a different way than it laid before. I think that’s what makes Rane Made unique.

And often times it’s not even patterned. I’ll just lay my fabric out on the floor, and I’ll see a shape in my head, picture the shape of the body, and then I’ll cut it. And sometimes it works and sometimes it doesn’t. But when it works, it’s a very magical experience — to where it’s going from this shape on my floor, then I’ll try the piece on and be like “Ah! This is kinda cool!” or “This is very figure flattering.” Or “No! This is not figure flattering.” So it’s kind of fun.

TL: What’s the most exciting part about living in Lakeland?

Raney: Lakeland is like starting anew, with a kind of refreshed atmosphere, with just new things. If you go to somewhere like Nashville, this is not abnormal. Of if you go to somewhere like Tampa, it’s like semi-normal? You could at least find it. But for Lakeland, small businesses and a woodworking company or The Poor Porker, these are all very new, almost avant garde culture that they’re all creating. So I think being a part of the beginning of that is really exciting. Where could I go in Nashville or Atlanta and start this and easily jump onboard with a group of people that are doing similar things? But here — it’s so fresh, it’s so new. So it’s kind of fun to, as a Lakelander, have grown up here when this hadn’t existed when I was a kid. Now it’s so exciting to see how highly encouraged it is. If you’re a young entrepreneur and you’re trying something out, everybody is game and apt to promote you. Where other places you might just be “one of … ” here, you’re one of a whole team of people, like a Catapult.

It’s like this circle of promoting people. If you want to team up with somebody, you will find someone to team up with. Everyone is just very much a family of businesses who promote each other, because it’s Lakeland and everyone wants to see you succeed.


TL: What is your creative process, and how has it evolved since you started?

Raney: There are a couple of pieces online that I finally patterned, so those can all be order-based, which is kind of nice. I don’t have 30 pieces of inventory sitting around, made to be bought. I can just make them as they’re purchased. So patterning is kind of a new thing for me. I’ve never really done that before. Another thing is just experimenting with new shapes. At first I was afraid to trust myself, as an artist or whatever. But now I’m ready to try something new and put it out there. My creative process has become a little bit more secure, as in if I put something out there and it goes great, then great! And if it doesn’t, then I just keep moving on, and I’m not waiting for someone to determine what move I make next. It’s just a bit more matured, I guess, than it used to be.

Now I’m making more consistent amounts of certain pieces, like a series of pieces. There are certain shapes that work really well, and mostly, for me, that’s circles. I really don’t like pointy edges. So everything has very smooth lines. I do a lot of circles, a lot of round edges.

And then I have my experiment pieces. I had a scarf online that was all leftover yarn. So I put it together and made this chunky crocheted scarf. I really value having a few one-of-a-kind pieces like that. I think those are the really fun ones.

TL: Do you have a muse that inspires your work?

Raney: I follow several small clothing companies on Instagram and some designers as well. I can’t remember all their names, but there is a crochet girl who lives in Nashville; she does only scarves and I get a lot of inspiration from her. But I follow a lot of designers and a lot of fashion bloggers. And then I follow a lot of people who I would consider to be stylish — not trendy, but classic.

TL: What is your favorite place in Lakeland, or having grown up here, what do you love most about it?

Raney: Community in Lakeland is something that I love. It’s a great place to grow up! I’ll remember things that my friends don’t know about, like the AMC theater or when Palm Cinema used to really be the two dollar theater (and now it’s not two dollars). When downtown wasn’t really cool and we didn’t have farmers markets. Lakeland is a small town, but it’s a fun place to start a business.

Watching my dad be an entrepreneur and start another business, too, is very fun [Raney’s dad is third-generation owner of Day and Night Tire, and also owns J. Burns Pizza]. So I think once I made it through college and found some really good community, I made some really great friends. And I realized how encouraging Lakeland is of the entrepreneurial spirit. It just made it feel like home. So I didn’t really see anywhere else.

To order clothes from Rane Made, go to ranemade.com. Follow Raney’s
latest designs and apparel on Instagram at @ranemadepics.