As the world prepares to return to the future moment of reestablishing post-pandemic international connections, fashion is beginning to reassess the industry atlas. Did Paris and New York resist the coronavirus to maintain their superpower rivalry? One of the places that should emerge triumphant in the New Normal-style landscape is Israel. From Tel Aviv’s greater prominence in the Fashion Week calendar to the surge in retailer interest, local designers have warmed up in the global spotlight in recent years. In the wake of the historic Arab-Israeli moment of cross-branding unity in fashion diplomacy, the nation is once again making headlines around the world fastest vaccine deployment. This helps to strengthen Israel’s appeal as the top fashion destination of the year. Seeking to get to know some of her best talents better, I was drawn to the work of Maya Reik. Its label March 1998 made a first impression a few years ago. Vogue himself stated that this teenager (at the time) was doing beautifully adult clothing. If such praise is your starting point, where do you go from there?
At the moment, the brand is experiencing a new wave of influencer frenzy around the Verbena Faux Shearling coat deemed essential. reemergence room for its mix of business casual style with very comfortable textures. Much like Wonder Woman, Reik seems determined to make lightning strikes again and again.
What’s in the name – Marei 1998?
It’s a simple play on my identity: Ma de Maya, Rei de Reik and 1998 is the year of my birth.
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With so many milestones at such a young age, what is your definition of success?
Success is about overcoming challenges to do what you are passionate about. The more I set goals and achieve them, the more I am fulfilled and successful feel. Letting go of challenges is never an option; I try to put myself in situations that are outside of my comfort zone. It leads to personal growth.
When did you know you wanted to be a fashion designer?
Ever since I was little, I was obsessed with creativity in general. I was making collages, painting and drawing all the time. However, in high school, I realized that traditional academic trajectories were not for me. I stopped and went to learn differently: from artisans, art historians, in workshops, in apprenticeship. My attention was absorbed into fashion and I started to rotate my experiences to create my own brand and aesthetic.
What does the term “Israeli style” mean to you?
The fashion industry in Israel has grown at lightning speed over the years. The country is home to a multitude of talented and motivated artists who use new technologies and materials to improve their crafts. Israel is also an eclectic country and in Tel Aviv in particular everyone is open-minded. There is a progressive energy of creativity flowing freely here. Additionally, due to our location on the Mediterranean and the Middle East, so many cultures have been exchanging best ideas and practices here for millennia. It kind of seeps into my design process and the aesthetic language I speak today.
As a member of the post-globalization generation, what is your definition of the house?
I have made many trips to Japan, Italy, England and the United States, but Israel will always be my home to me. And home is family and friends. They have inspired me over the years, shaped my work ethic and exposed me to different worlds and ways of thinking. The house is a beautiful melting pot.
Who is a modern person for your contemporaries?
Someone who says what he thinks, fights for what is important to him, is in tune with the world, and is careful and protective of the environment and the needs of others.
What was a major influence in your switch from real fur to artificial fur?
The first time I touched faux fur, I just knew. It was during a research trip to Paris a few years ago. From that moment everything changed in terms of awareness and attention to sustainability. I am committed to creating 100% cruelty-free and environmentally friendly pieces. Then traveling to production plants in Europe and Asia, I discovered that the same level of high quality design can be achieved with materials that serve a purpose beyond excess and consumerism.
How has the COVID-19 pandemic affected your creativity?
Spending so much time at home and leaving the city to live more in tune with nature has inspired new ideas that I wouldn’t have had the chance to discover. I have also given birth to my first child in the past year or so, which has opened up a creative well for me that I have never had before. On the other hand, not being able to travel, meet new people, and attend art and fashion events caused frustration. I try to channel these emotions to develop my creative prowess for the benefit of my business, my friends and family, and of course myself as an artist.
What is essential to start working on a collection?
We’ve gone from launching seasonal collections to focusing on faux fur and vegan leather staples, which sort of creates a ‘family’ of their own. Our collections are always green. They can stay in wardrobes for generations, and even be passed down as an heirloom. To truly consider the fabric and achieve the highest quality of textiles is the foundation of what we do. Inspiration for each new piece can come from different sources: art, love, music, design, nature, cinema or even social media. The most important thing is that the designs must be true to our identity as a conscious fashion house for the future.
Is there a brand you want to collaborate with?
Oh, so. It would be interesting to collaborate with a brand that exists outside the fashion space. With a sustainable future in mind, the Six Senses hotel group and visionary Tesla are two companies that inspire me the most. I would love to collaborate with them someday. Soon!
What’s your favorite bad habit?
I tend to always fill my time with projects even when I know I need a rest. Meeting friends and new people is what inspires me the most. However, now I need to relax and sleep more as an ambitious young mother and artist.
What’s the most important question right now that is keeping you awake at night?
What will the world be like after the pandemic ends and when exactly will it happen ?!
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